Athlete of the Month, October 2008 – Bob Seemuth
Athlete of the Month
D3: Why did you become a Triathlete?
BS: I had to do something! When you are 53, porky and grouchy, a frustrated Type A, action steps must be taken. I remembered Julie Moss of 1982 Kona fame, had a neighbor involved with Ironman, and had an underused membership to an athletic club; this left me wondering – “Could I do IT?”
D3: Who is your D3 coach? Please tell us a little about your coaching relationship.
BS: An internet search in Oct 2001 led me to Mike Ricci. I quickly rejected 2 other internet coaches as inflexible. Now, I had no background in swim, bike or run and Mike thought I was nuts (but was polite about it) – I guess he needed some clients back then. The goal: Go in 13 months from absolutely nothing to a successful Ironman in Florida in Nov 2002. Mike was patient with me, guided me with small steps, organized weekly workouts and goals, kept steady encouragement, stayed flexible, and even was present at IM FL 2002. My 13:26:59 surprised us all. That time would never be seen by me again… But it was here I discovered the Janus Charity Challenge.
D3: You have raised a significant amount of money for charity through racing. Please explain the Janus Challenge program.
BS:The Janus Charity Challenge is so generous and easy to work with. Any athlete could pick any Charity; raise a small minimum amount and get awarded at least $750 to that Charity. Placing 1st thru 5 th in fundraising (not speed!!!) meant an award of $2k to $10K to the Charity. Amazing! Now with the JCC there was a deeper reason to do this crazy and fun thing called IM.
D3: I understand your generosity has long been your trademark, including some stints through your profession overseas? Where have you been and what did you take away from these experiences?
BS:I have shared my Dental skills in India, the Amazon basin, Haiti, and various Central American countries. The common linkage to IM is planning in advance, staying in the present, being flexible to changing conditions, ability to think on the go, accept being uncomfortable, and help others around you.
D3: Who is the beneficiary of your fundraising?
BS:Over the years it has been 2 Educational Pro-Life Foundations, ‘Justice for All’ and ‘The Center for Bio-ethical Reform’; Also ‘Options 360 Pregnancy Resource Center’, ‘The Blazeman Foundation’, ‘FreewheelchairMission.org’, and ‘The United Warriors Survivors Fund’. They all value LIFE from the smallest to the oldest; disabled or terminal, widows and orphans. It has been very satisfying to partner with them.
D3: How long have you been fundraising through triathlon?
BS:2002 thru 2008; all 8 IM’s I have been in. It took a year for the Charities to understand the JCC and trust how it worked. After that, fundraising went very well. In 2006 Janus allowed an athlete to have 2 charities. In 2007 it became unlimited per athlete. Why not help more people?
D3: I understand that your total dollar raised is significant. Please confirm the actual total.
BS:To date the total raised is $2,341,014; Janus has added to that thru their awards a total of $94,500. As I said, Janus is VERY generous. And who says you have to be a professional to bring some bacon in?
D3: What has given you the inspiration to keep this effort up?
BS:I’ll never be fast. Why not try to excel in the fundraising? (Although a funny thing happened at IM Louisville this year – I came in 4th in my age group. HA!)
D3: What is your favorite tri workout (either fun or just tough!)?
BS:By some quirk I like hill climbing on the bike. However, for many reasons, I’m 90% on the Computrainer inside vs outside.
D3: What is your favorite race experience?
BS:That is hard to answer. Let’s see…. The wind to and from Hawi Town, the last 3 miles and the finishers chute in Kona (2007); podium times for Janus (2003 – 2008); the beauty of IM WI (2004); and I must say negative splits on the bike and run this past IM L (2008) and passing many on the bike. That’s never happened with me before.
D3: What is your training schedule and how do you fit it around a job as a full-time dentist, director of a charity, manager of your group practice, husband, and the father of two HS boys?
BS:This is a testament to Mike, his training works. I just checked all the past years, can you believe I averaged 27 weeks of training before an IM with only 10.84 hours per week. I haven’t been a very good student, eh coach?
D3: Training Peaks and D3 are partners in delivering workouts to athletes. Please tell us about your experience with Training Peaks (they are sponsoring this month’s D3 Athlete column).
BS:Nothing works without good metrics and measurements. TP and D3 make that possible. Add GPS, Computrainers, technology, – heck, we run out of excuses for NOT doing IM….