Q & A with ILoca’s Triathlete Justin Holmes
How did I get started in triathlon?
It wasn’t until 10-years ago, at age 36 that I took up triathlon. At that time my 3-boys were 8, 4, and 1-year old. As is the case with most parents of young kids, my life heavily revolved around them and left little time for personal endeavors. My eldest son was starting to get involved in competitive sports, and I was quickly reminded of how much I missed athletic competition. Additionally, I felt that it was important for me to be an active role-model for them, demonstrating a fitness-based lifestyle. And so I sought an activity that I could do individually, which could be fit into my schedule, that would be fun, challenging, competitive, and could be life-long (very important).
I had been introduced to triathlon a few years prior via a conversation with a work associate who was getting into it at the time. I recalled that conversation and started looking into triathlon for myself. As you know, the sport of triathlon consists of swimming, biking, and running. Unlike many triathletes, I had no competitive history with any of those individual sports. I had always been a team sports guy, playing basketball and baseball through my high school years. It was a little intimidating coming into a sport of which I knew little and had no real experience, but I threw myself into it and after 10-months of trial-and-error training, I raced in my first triathlon, a short, local race. I loved it and was hooked. Now, 10-years and many, many races later, I am training for my 3rd Ironman Triathlon.
What do I enjoy most about the sport?
I actually think of triathlon as a discipline rather than a sport. Proper training requires a lot of it – particularly at the Ironman level. For me, the greatest challenge isn’t the race itself, it is the year leading up to the race, juggling family, work, fun, and training. Getting to the start line having properly managed all of these is very, very hard, and for me, is the greater accomplishment to finishing the 140.6-mile race.
What is your most favorite race?
Probably my last Ironman, which was based in Louisville, Kentucky. The course was hard with lots of climbing on the 112-mile bike portion. The ride really took it out of me, and about 16-miles into the 26.2-mile run, I hit a wall that put me deep in the hurt locker. Those last 10-miles were spiritual. I won’t ever forget that.
Am I self-coached?
I will say yes, I am self-coached, but with the admission that I have learned a tremendous amount from many athletes over the years. I will also admit to keeping a daily workout journal – which sometimes feels like a coach. You don’t want to miss a workout and let the journal down 😉
What is my favorite workout?
That’s a tough one. If I must choose, I would have to say my “long run”. Generally, I try to run 4-days a week, with one of those being a “long run”. The distance of that run varies, depending on where I am in my training schedule and what event I am training for. Longs runs are executed at a low intensity with the goal of keeping one’s heart rate in Zone 2 (easy enough that one could run while holding a conversation). Because they are “easy”, they really don’t require the mental focus that more intense workouts do. I find that these workouts really give me the time and opportunity to think. Everyone needs some thinking time in their life, and that is mine.
Who or what in triathlon inspires me?
This one is easy. My boys. Ironically, I started triathlon hoping to inspire them. They are now 18, 14, and 11-years old and all are (or have been) elite level swimmers. I expect them to train hard, smart, and consistently. And they do. They always give their best effort and they always compete to win. I love to watch them train and race and it motivates me to do the same.
When and where is my next Ironman?
November 3, 2018 in Panama City Beach, Florida.
How does triathlon fit into my life?
It’s not easy! When I first made the move up from racing shorter triathlons to the Ironman distance, my wife and I made an agreement – I got to do this crazy sport so long as it didn’t take away from our family in any way. That had always been my goal (but sometimes I can get carried away). Ultimately, what that means is… very early morning rides on the trainer – 3:30 a.m. is not uncommon. Lunchtime runs. “Late night” swims. You get the idea.
Thank you, ILoca – my partner for the long haul!
We’ll be watching for Justin’s results in November!
Your Partner For The Long Haul®