Swimming through mounds of paperwork, running to make appointments and cycling across changes in the business climate are common elements in the lives of busy professionals.
And while competition in the business world breeds success, some professionals are swimming, running and biking for a different competition: the fourth annual Ironman Wisconsin triathlon.
On Sept. 11, 2,516 participants from around the world will be in Madison to compete in the event ? swimming 2.4 miles in Lake Monona, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles.
Many of them are nonprofessional athletes who have taken on the challenge of balancing a career with training for one of the most grueling endurance events.
Tim Carey, president of Greenway Properties, is participating in his second Ironman and estimates that he trains 15 to 20 hours a week.
He trains most mornings beginning at 4 a.m. before going to the office and then puts in six to seven hours of training every Sunday.
"It's a great way to start the day. I have a tremendous need to solve all the problems of the world at work, and the training helps rid me of that stress," Carey said.
Heather Curnutt, an attorney with Lawton & Cates, is participating in her seventh Ironman. Curnutt, a veteran of many triathlons, participated in the 2003 and 2004 U.S. World Championships for Olympic distance triathlon. She ran her first marathon in 1997 and, like Carey, trains 15 to 20 hours a week for Ironman.
Curnutt said the preparation needed to reach goals in business can carry over to Ironman. Her training schedule also helps provide structure to her workday. "It's a big incentive to get my work done efficiently in order to leave on time for training," she said.
Another Ironman competitor, Craig Martyn, a commercial analyst for GE Healthcare, is focused on proper nutrition. In an effort to balance the right amount of carbohydrate, fat and protein, he's been trying different nutrition strategies in recent weeks. The week of the event, he'll load up on carbs and move away from solid foods to avoid digestion problems during the event.
Martyn did his first Ironman in his native New Zealand in 2003. He spends 10 to 12 hours a week training and records his progress in a training diary.
He said training for Ironman helps in his professional life by providing a great outlet for pent-up frustration. The training also helps him to be organized and goal-oriented at work.
"I approach a goal and work on the building blocks needed to accomplish that goal in both my professional life and while training," Martyn said. He takes what could be a grueling day in stride. "It a tough day, but it's not as hard as it looks," he said.
Ironman competitors have from 7 a.m. to midnight to complete the event.
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