I've often thought about writing a blog...but honestly, who the hell am I to write about fitness and racing? I don't have any major certifications, I'm not a PHD in weight loss, I don't coach professional athletes, I'm not a professional athlete myself, and I'm surely not a professional writer. So why read this? I guess you are bored and need some bathroom material on your Ipad!
In all seriousness, I love talking about this stuff. Anyone who knows me, knows I can go on and on for hours about triathlon, racing, nutrition, watts, pace, flip turns, peeing on the bike, etc. I truly love this stuff and have found over the years that I have inspired many to get off the couch. That's why I'm writing here now. To help those that want to be active, stay active, or to compete. It is extremely difficult to avoid the unhealthy lifestyles and temptations we see today. I don't have to preach to you about how bad a McDonald's Big Mac is. And the worst part, it is effecting the youth in America. Childhood obesity is at an all time high...and you know who is to blame? The parents. I'm sorry if that offends you...but respect and healthy habits start in the home. I've inspired a few to get off the couch...well into their 50's. So anyone can do it. This post is not about why the problems are what they are, but that you can make a difference by taking your first step. That is what I hope to accomplish over time here.
So who the hell is Dave Barto? Well, I am a super competitive athlete. I have a day job...that has nothing to do with sports. I'm busy, I have a wonderful wife, plan to have kids shortly, and I have to fit it all in just like everyone else. I train, on average, about 14 hours a week. I work, on average, about 60 hours a week. Time management is a must!
I got started in sports at an early age. Baseball at 7 years old. I loved it and thought I would be a professional pitcher some day. Problem was, I never got my growth spurt! That hurt the fastball. I ran Cross Country in High School, but I hated it. I loved hanging out with my team and best friend, Charles. But the running was hell. To this day, I HATE 5K races. I also played basketball in High School. Great, another sport where my 5'8'' height was a huge advantage, well, not so much.
I graduated high school and weighed about 120lbs soaking wet. I was a little embarrassed by being so small (from running and whatnot) so I decided it was time to hit the gym. I did ZERO cardio for the next 5 years or so....save for some rec league basketball at work. I did pretty good at lifting hard and eating a ton of food. I bulked up to about 165lbs, pretty big for my frame. But I was missing the competition...I needed more.
So I started running again and ran a few small road races. I always had an interest in Triathlon. I knew a couple guys that did it in Cross Country and I used to watch Ironman on TV in High School. I was fascinated by it...somehow I knew I would do it someday, but was never serious about starting it. So life went on with running a little and I got the bug to try a triathlon with my buddy, Mike.
We trained all summer in 2005 for an off road sprint triathlon. Swimming was brutal. Bike, ah, whatever, I can get through that. Running...I knew how to run. So I trained with no clue what I was doing. I was going through some tough times then and it was the perfect break from drinking to be honest. I was partying a little too hard and this was my chance to escape that lifestyle.
So, Mike and I set out to finish a 1/4 mile swim, 9 mile off road bike, and 3.1 mile trail run. Well, I thought I was going to DIE in the swim. I made it about 50 yards and flipped over on my back. I couldn't even move my arms! I back kicked the whole thing...not straight at all...in 19 minutes. Holy shit....19 MINUTES. I can swim TRIPLE that distance now in 19 minutes. I got out of the water and headed out on the bike. Mike and I rode right by each other most of the way...he sucked, and still does, just as bad as I did at swimming. It was 3 loops of 3 miles. On the 3rd loop, with 1 mile to go....my derailleur snapped off. FREAK incident. But I was determined. I trained all summer for this. So I threw my bike over my shoulder and walked it in the last mile. I took off on the run like a bat out of hell. I made it exactly 1/2 a mile and sprained my ankle on a nasty tree root sticking out. My day was done...I could barely walk. I didn't even finish my 1st Triathlon!
Fast forward to today, I am a Kona Qualifier (blogs to follow on that). I've completed 4 Ironman races, 4 open Marathons, 6 half Ironman competitions, and countless smaller triathlons and running races. I guess you could say I was hooked from day #1.
I think that failing at my first attempt really made me a stronger competitor in the end. I had a challenge, I trained for it, and I didn't succeed. But I wasn't going to let that stop me. The challenge for most, is taking a chance and getting out of your comfort zone. I hope that in the future...I can help inspire you to achieve your goals and dreams. Your goal doesn't have to be Kona, Ironman, or Boston. Fitness, and happiness for that matter, all start with the first step.
Thanks for reading....talk soon.
Dedication, Passion, Results