Riding a bike 112 miles, running a marathon and swimming 2.4 miles in a cool lake provided the 1,900 participants in the 2017 IRONMAN Santa Rosa triathlon a chance to put their athletic prowess to the test.
For Dan Montplaisir, vice president of University Advancement, it gave him 13 hours and 54 minutes to see how far he could push his limits. So what did Montplaisir think about while running along the downtown creek or riding his bike past 35 wineries among the beautiful rolling hills of Sonoma County?
“You think about everything, and you think about nothing,” he said. “I thought about family, friends here at work, and my mother who lost her ability to move during her struggle with ALS. I thought what an amazing opportunity to be out there with these people trying to push yourself beyond your limits.”
Montplaisir wasn’t an athlete growing up in Orlando, Florida. He played trombone in his high school jazz band. Six years ago, the father of three teens decided he wanted to get in shape so that he could be more active with his children.
To gear up for the full IRONMAN, he did a variety of sprint and Olympic distance triathlons and four Half Ironman races over three years.
For the July IRONMAN, he trained for nine months, getting up at 5 a.m. to ride his bike or run before work. He would sometimes get to campus before 7 a.m. to swim in the BRIC pool before heading to the office.
“The biggest accomplishment is getting all of the training in,” he said. “You have to be creative with your time.”
Montplaisir says he is the type who needs a goal to keep him motivated to exercise. He followed an online training schedule to prepare and also practiced what to eat and drink during the race as to keep him fueled to the finish.
“Practice makes perfect,” he said. “I am a middle-of-the-pack guy, so to me, the goal is to finish and do it respectably. I just do it for the challenge of competing.”