Aaron Volpatti has completed his first triathlon, the Whistler Ironman, coming in 32nd of 133 competitors in his category and 180th out of 1231 competitors overall.
Ironman triathlons are made up of three different elements including a nearly 4 km swim, 180 km bike ride and a 42 km run, raced without break in that order.
In the lead up to the Whistler Ironman, Volpatti raised an astonishing $25,500 for ALS. ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive motor neuron disease with no known cure. Volpatti’s father, Tony, was diagnosed with ALS in early 2016.
The race took place at the end of July and held plenty of challenges for Volpatti, though he overcame them to beat his goal of 11:30.
“I took forever in the transitions but I wanted to make sure I was comfortable and well nourished being my first Ironman,” says Volpatti of the experience.
“Everything was going well until about four hours into the bike and I started to get some knee pain that wasn’t fun during the marathon. And I definitely underestimated the marathon. I did some long training runs before with no issues, but after the swim and 180 km bike your legs take a beating. My cardio felt fine, the biggest challenge was keeping the pace when the legs are so sore,” he explains
The toughest moment of the marathon was when, half way through, Volpatti discovered the route was not what he expected.
“I’d been grinding for 2 hrs on the run alone, and stopped to hydrate and realized I had to do the whole loop again. You have to go to a dark place in your mind to be able to start running again,” he explains.
Ultimately, the experience was a positive one.
“It was a great challenge, especially the swim because when I started training I could barely do 2 laps of the pool. But funny enough the swim was the easy part, if you can get over people climbing over you for position,” he says.