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Michael Callahan

CHALMETTE, LA

ACE Profiles |  Michael Callahan

By the time I had reached my late 30s, I had ballooned up to 270 pounds. I smoked two to three packs of cigarettes everyday and I was always suffering from some sort of bug. I was a long-haul trucker and had been for a decade, an active alcoholic and miserable mentally, physically and spiritually. I was given the gift of willingness back in 1999 and that gift led to me escaping that life and lifestyle and ending my addictions.

In 2002, a miserable breakup and a staunch, unwavering commitment to getting in shape which began. Several of the trainers at the little gym I joined would show me proper form and how to use equipment out of the goodness of their hearts because I had little money at the time. I started a crash diet at the same time and to my utter amazement I began losing weight like crazy. I went from 256 to 188 pounds in 96 days using no drugs or stimulants. As the fat melted off and the muscles started to grow, so did my self-esteem and confidence. I would throw away old clothes as they became too big, vowing never to return to them.

In time I had reached my fitness goals in the gym but I wanted to take my fitness further. I began running, which I hated at first but once I discovered the zone, I grew to love it. I have always loved to swim and living steps away from the ocean, I started using it regularly but still, there was something missing, I wanted more. It was suggested to me to check out doing a triathlon. With zero knowledge but a lot of desire, I purchased and old bike and cycling shoes and entered The Long Beach Triathlon back in 2006. I was amazed at the turnout, the people and how exciting it was to be a part of. I managed to finish (and not last) and I drove away knowing in my heart that I had found my new passion.

I noticed many of the men and women at the following events I attended with these "M" looking tattoos. Finally I asked what it meant and I was told "Ironman". That was the day I made the decision that I would be getting my own tattoo because I was going to be an Ironman! My training now had clear purpose. Within the next 18 months, I did another sprint and an Olympic distance triathlon and again, I didn't finish last. In fact I was far from last. In the next 18 months I did my first half-Iron distance triathlon and signed up for the big one, Ironman Wisconsin.

I have published articles about my experience completing my first Ironman yet still, I find it hard to find the words that describe such an experience. All of my training and all of my practice came down to that one day and I experienced a dream come true in Wisconsin on that perfect September day. Since then, I have completed Ironman Arizona, breaking the twelve-hour mark at age 51, which I never before thought would be possible and yes, I now have my Ironman tattoo!

My passion is inspiring people to embrace lives of health and vitality, no matter what their current level of fitness is. I try to teach them that if we can go there in the mind, the body will follow. 

 


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