Jack Nunn’s Journey In Ironman Nice, France 2008 And Going For Ironman Florianopolis, Brazil 2009
February 9, 2011
I hope all of you are enjoying all your success in accomplishing your goals for 2011. As I look back to the past 3 to 5 years I can’t help but think about a very different journey I had in my completion 2 full Ironman’s. Thought you all might want an explanation of why I have done two Ironman’s and making a big deal about it. Yes, I do have ‘screw loose’ in my head. However, there explains a deeper meaning. Not to get a tattoo saying I did the Ironman but instead for inner strength and the love of fitness and challenge! I wrote thisblog to tell you my story and inspire!
The Ironman is a competition that is held every year at multiple locations around the world and consists of a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride and ends with a full 26.2 mile marathon!
Since I can remember I have been training alongside my father (Bronze medalist 68′ Olympics in Rowing and a 76′ Olympic Coach for the U.S. Rowing Team) as he put in long hours of running, rowing, cycling, and playing ice hockey. He was always involved as my coach in every sport I played throughout my life. He ran for 20 plus years and finished 7 marathons clocking in his best time at a 3 hr 25min marathon despite his massive 6 foot 6inch 230lb frame. When I started to Row at age 16 for the Long Beach Juniors I was doing multiple sports. I quit baseball and soccer at the time to leave room for Ice Hockey and Rowing. In college I started to cross-train and at UC Berkeley with its amazing parks and hillsides, what better way to cycle and run to practice. I stuck to Rowing all throughout college and National Teams until I was 24 when I sort of ‘burned out’ of rowing. I was still training but I always felt a shadow cast over me from my father’s success in Rowing and people talking about my dad all the time and how I would be an Olympian as well someday. The thing is…is that when I grew up I loved all sports and wanted to be great at everything. If I did just one thing it drove me crazy so when I came home from the national team rowing camps I did just that… Everything! I still rowed (every other day or so) but Ran, started teaching spinning and rowing classes (which eventually led to teaching and running Powerhouse Fitness), and played Ice Hockey on 3 different teams (one of them with my sister, Carol.
After doing all this for about 6 months I wanted a challenge. First, I wanted to see if I could beat my fathers marathon time of 3 hrs 25min in a marathon. So I started running to prepare myself for the Huntington Beach Surf City Marathon (prev known as the Pacific Shoreline marathon). My Goal was a little over 3 hrs….. and I ran it in 3 hrs 10 min which qualified me for Boston (barely). I was 24 and 210lbs. Was 2nd in my age group overall and 2nd among men over 200 lbs. And I beat my Dad’s time! He wasn’t amused nor did he really approve of my training away from rowing. I decided to make a comeback with rowing 2 years later in 2006-07 and had to get knee surgery right in the middle of my training that took me out for 2 months. The Olympic dream was over for any Olympic qualifier for 2008.
My friend Warner Bonner (National Team Rower/kayaker) had always wanted to do an Ironman and told me 2 years ago in summer 07′ at a party in San Diego (Opening Day Del Mar Horse races) that he was going to go to Nice, France and do the Ironman there in June 2008. (France is also considered the toughest courses out of all the Ironman’s across the world including Kona because of the huge mountains you have to climb during the bike ride). I said that along with making an Olympic Team…. ‘completing an Ironman was a lifelong dream!’ I was in…we both trained hard….and come June 2008 we finished and heard those amazing words with a thick french accent “Jack Nunn…You Are An Ironman!” It was the most amazing feeling I have ever felt in the last mile of that race. So many emotions poured out of me..It was the most incredible experience of my life. After the race I said “I don’t think I’ll ever do that again.” After I got home there was a couple of things my father told me which I felt good about. He first asked me if I was on steroids, which I thought was hilarious because he really didn’t think I could swim or handle the bike ride and that I needed them to get through the race.(I was laughing..) Later, he wrote me a note saying how proud he was of me and admitted that he too wanted to do an Ironman but he couldn’t fathom the distance and didn’t have enough time for him to train and accomplish that race. Coming from an Olympic Medalist that was kinda cool:)
Nutrition and Hydration play a HUGE role in Ironman distance training and racing. I asked many former Ironman athletes about getting the best advice possible in order to finish this race in the best time possible. Months before the Ironman I started Juice Plus+ and it made a massive impact on the way I thought about nutrition. I changed my diet and started eating more fruits, veggies, and berries.
The Nutritional Shakes I had once a day, every day, made me feel like I had more energy than ever to get through the grueling daily workouts.
All of a sudden it would be my second Ironman attempt..this time in Florianopolis, Brazil. After Warner and I met at a rowing race in Newport back in November and talked about our great memories of Ironman France 2008 he called me up that night and said ‘Im doing the Brazil Ironman in May 2009′. I said “You’re Nuts…I don’t think I can do it because I’m trying to start the Indoor Rowing and Fitness Center and I was just very busy getting the Warehouse up to speed.”
This time Warner wanted to do it for a charity…he and I raised about $4000 to build schools for children in Brazil. I started to get excited about the race and wanted to train alongside Warner and eventually decided that I might want to go as well but it would not be practical. Then about 2 months ago Warner came down with a fever and got the flu. We joked with the idea that I might have to take his spot and race for the cause in order to represent…but he got better and still had a month. He was good to go trained like a mad man for a few days and then had a relapse. This time it was Mono and Tonsillitis! That was it! He was done and I was in. Now I have 2 weeks to go and throughout my past 8 months of opening our Rowing Warehouse, training all our members in classes to race, coaching and racing myself with Jill Ammriato (her amazing feat at the World Championships and getting the spinning program rolled out)……. I’m ready to go! The training in Powerhouse Fitness classes on average 12 hours a week has allowed me to get into the best shape of my life. I will be racing for a charity to build schools for children in Brazil on May 31st 2009 in Florianopolis, Brazil with money earned from Rowing members. I personally raised $4000 for the charity. I want to thank every member of Powerhouse Fitness for joining our program and knowing that you all are a huge part of this journey with me. It is a battle of will and heart, persistence, and strength. I want to thank you all for giving me a direction in life… a meaning! I’m constantly excited about getting you to your fitness goals sooner.
The following video gives a great description of Ironman Nice, France in 2008. It was made by a news reporter and describes his journey throughout the 2nd Hardest Ironman Course in the World (The hardest being Kona, Hawaii). Luckily I did not make too many mistakes during this race like he did. However, it was a battle of survival to the finish as temperatures rose past 90 degrees during the last part of the Ironman in the marathon.
‘What’s possible…is what YOU think is possible’
-John Nunn, 68′ OIympic Bronze Medalist
Next up…. My detailed race in Ironman Florianopolis, Brazil 2009….