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The Making of a Triathlete

by Dave Pruetz from In Training

So, 11 years ago someone said to me, “you’re in the best shape of your life, what are you
going to do next?” You see, at 35 I worked for one of the nation’s largest vitamin and sports
nutrition companies as the Director of Marketing, and was also a fitness trainer, and was what
you considered a “gym-rat”. Sure, I was in the gym several days a week, and was in pretty
good shape…..or at least I thought. Just because I lifted, and maybe looked fit, I was far from
being an endurance athlete! After that question, it really got me thinking, that person was right! I
needed goals to stay motivated in the world of fitness.

While I was watching TV one day shortly after that question, the Ironman World Championships
came on and I decided to watch it (keep in mind that I never even thought about triathlon before
that show). After being totally impressed watching the race, I decided, hey, this is the sport
for me! I was in good shape, grew up always riding my motocross bike, and kind of knew how
to swim. Ha, famous last words of a fool! I jumped in the pool the next day and barely swam
25 yards, and did I mention I held my breath the entire length of the pool? I thought to myself,
freak, what have I gotten myself into!?!?

After attempting the swim, the next day I dusted off my mountain bike and rode about 5
miles….wow, 5 miles! And then the next day I decided to run, well, at least jog, walk, jog, walk,
etc. Wow, my first 3 days of training where quite the adventure! I didn’t know what the heck I
was doing, when to do it or how to do it. And 11 years ago, triathlon coaches were very few and
far between, so I decided to coach myself. I’d like to say that I excelled in at least one of the 3
disciplines, but I was a complete rookie at everything, with swimming definitely being the most
challenging!

I pretty much “winged it” during my first 4 months of training for my first sprint triathlon. I trained
6 days a week, but fell into the same routine week after week, month after month, with no
deviation in my workouts (no intervals, no speed work, no open-water swims, and quite frankly,
just junk yardage). Also, I forgot to tell you that all my bike training was on my 30 pound 10
year old mountain bike! The training was haphazard at best! When June came around I was
prepared for my first open-water sprint, or at least I thought! What a disaster! My swim was
horrid, I crashed my bike, and, I actually tripped on a railroad tie in front of all the spectators
when I started my run. Wow, what was I thinking?

After the race, while I was having the paramedics pluck gravel out of my knees, they started to
announce the age group awards. 3rd place goes to…….. 2nd place goes to……., and 1st place, in
the 35-39 year old age group, David Pruetz. Whoa! Really? If I actually took 1st in my age group
out of 15 guys, on my mountain bike, what am I actually capable of if I really knew what the
heck I was doing? Well, I found out….once I applied myself, focused, researched, and hired a
swim coach (oh, and bought a road bike), I actually qualified and raced in the USAT Nationals in
my first year, as well as my second year. After a couple years of sprints, Olympics and my first
half Ironman, I took on Ironman in my third season.

11 Years later here I am…..I own and operate Utah’s first stand alone triathlon company, was
Utah’s “first full-time triathlon coach, “have been coaching for 8 years now, have done 60+
triathlons, and was honored to be able to compete at the Kona Ironman World Championships
in 2009! What an incredible journey!

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