D3 Athlete of the Month: John Eliot
D3: Where did you grow up?
John: I’d like to think that I haven’t grown up yet. However, as a military brat, I moved around a bunch when I was young – born in Delaware, lived in Arizona, Florida, New York, and Texas, before moving to Italy and then Belgium for 8th grade through high school graduation. I moved back to Texas for undergraduate, then Chicago for graduate school and finally Denver in 1988.
D3: Can you tell us a little bit about your sports background? Which sports did you do as a kid and as you got older?
John: I swam competitively for about ten years and was a decent Texas age grouper and European high school swimmer. I also played high school baseball and gave football a try my senior year. I turned to golf, skiing and a bit of weight training after high school. Aerobic exercise was generally an afterthought. I’d do the occasional 10K if challenged by friends.
D3: What was your motivation to get started in triathlon?
John: I was drawn to triathlon mostly through Kirk MacDonald’s passion for the sport. Kirk and I worked out at the same club. I did mostly strength workouts while he showed a great balance of strength and aerobic exercise. Kirk achieved an amazing physical transformation and had an infectious enthusiasm for triathlon. Kirk knew of my swimming background and encouraged me to do the Steamboat triathlon with him. We did it, had a ton of fun, and the hook was set.
D3: What is your current job and what do you do?
John: I am partner and founding member of Legend Retail Group. We are a commercial real estate company specializing in retail brokerage and development.
D3: Are you married and do you have any children? If so, how do you keep things balanced?
John: I’m married (25 years last month) with three children (ages 20, 17, and 15). Balance has been achieved through less sleep, a super organized wife, and an understanding family. We also have a mutual appreciation and acceptance that each family member has activities that are uniquely important to them.
D3:You recently raced in your first Ironman. How did the day go for you?
John: It was tremendous. Great pre-race camaraderie with Kirk MacDonald, Tom Gart, and Johannas Faessler followed by the unbelievable energy of the mass swim start, then a day of individual focus and effort. The swim was a piece of cake in the beautifully clear and temperate Lake Zurich. The bike was technical and challenging but picturesque like something out of a tourism brochure. The European cyclists were intimidating but I stuck to the plan Ricci and I developed and felt pretty good heading into the bike/run transition. The run was the great unknown. I’d never attempted a full marathon much less one after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles. The actual run was pretty comfortable except for my “dark zone” which occurred between miles 17 through 20. When I crossed the finish line under twelve hours, I felt good about my result and knew that my preparation had served me well. While I wasn’t ready to immediately go out and do another IM, I didn’t feel like I was hit by a truck, and I could enjoy the post race libation.
D3: What was the most important workout you did during your IM prep?
John: Without a doubt the most important workout(s) were a series of four swim (one hour), bike (six to seven hours), and run (one to two hours) days that Mike set up for me on consecutive weekends starting about two months before my IM event. I did most of these up in Steamboat Springs and got an altitude benefit as well.
D3: If you could spend day training with anyone, who would it be?
John: Anybody who likes to challenge themselves and keeps a positive attitude and outlook. No whining.
D3: What’s your favorite workout?
John: Long easy run when it’s in Steamboat Springs and I have good music. I look forward to Mike’s “enjoy the scenery” comment.
D3: What your least favorite workout?
John: Swimming T-pace test day – actually for that matter, any discipline where the workout has the word “test” in it.
D3: Have you considered the 2011 season yet and maybe another IM?
John: I’m close to finalizing the 2011 schedule. I look to do three 70.3s and marathon. I’m planning on another IM in 2012.
D3: Tell us something interesting about you!
John: I’ve danced with Janet Reno.