Saturday, September 8, 2007

Genetic......a word i dislike a lot!!!!

This is a picture that make me very proud. When i passed the line, the reality hitted me. Never in my life i would have think it was possible. I receive so much attention at the finish that my brain had to focus on interview and friends and family. But now that i have time to reflect, i m finaly realising how special that day was for me. It took 14 years of training, a millions of people to support me and help me out...many coaches, doctor, friends, training partners. I wish i still had the picture of chubby jonny finishing my first half ironman in 6h42 minutes. That would really give a good picture of the journee so far.

So, what about the word genetic. Well, many people in the last 2 weeks have told me how amazing my race was and how ''gifted'' i was and lucky to have the ''right genetic'' to do this stuff. To me, it s like a kick in the face, the ultimite insult that someone can send my way. They also tell me how much they would love to have the ''right genetic'' to race like this.

Well, 14 years ago when i started triathlon, i was the slowest athlete in the club espoir de hull. I was a 55 minutes 10km runner. I was a 29 minutes 1.5km swimmer and was ablet to ride 27-29km/h on my bike for a few hours. I was getting beat all the time by the people of my age or younger. Nobody would have ever called me a gifted athlete. After 5 years of intensive training, my coach at the time told my training partner that it would be a lot better for me to go back to curling as i definitly didnt have what it take to get good at this. My results werent great and he said i would not go anywhere in that sport....Thank you coach... i didnt listen to you and kept on working toward getting better at it.

i got diagnose with crohn disease at age 17. The doctor said i would have to change my lifestyle and avoid hard physical activity.... i didnt really listen as i had too much fun doing triathlon and as hard as it was to have to go to bathroom 6 time during a race.... sometimes on people yard in middel of races or in the middel of the lake.... i keep on working towards getting better at it.

I made it to university where i train with the cross country team and swimming team. The coaches told me right away that i would not make the competition team as i was obviously too slow and no dramatic progression would be big enough to change this. I was also told by the swim coach that i was too slow to swim at our local meet and he tried to talk me out of it for fear of humiliating the swim team. Thank you coach.... swam anyway

Well, when i made it to the national training center a few years ago, i once again wasnt a star and mostly one of the slowest athlete there. I once again, had my share of last places in the races at the national and international level and was getting my ass kick. But i keed on working at getting better at it.

now, millions of km later, after 14 years of sacrifice and small and tiny consistant improvement, working with amazing coaches, leaving work and training full time, sleeping on floors of friends house or homestays, putting all my money into this and often sacrifying friendship and relationships with very special people, i had a exceptionnal day and crossed the line at ironman canada in 8h39 minutes. Instantly, jonnyo the geneticly retarded athlete was now see by people that dont know him as a gifted elite athlete that as a special genetic inside of him to make him go this quick. Well, people just dont see the big picture, only the 2007 version of the athlete that i became. They dont see the other 13 years behind..., the coaches that have try to turn me away as i wasnt a good enough athlete......these 13 year where no magic....just consistant work. I like that my coach keep on telling me after each good race, <>!!!!!

Now, someone made me realise i m truly very lucky. it s true, i have amazing parent that give me a lot of support, i m surrender by amazing people and coach, i have people beleiving in me and not everyone as the same opportunity. I also have a very ridicoulous amount of positivity and enormous amount of beleiving in myself that nothing is impossible. I been raise by my parents with the mentality that if you really want it, you can do it, you just really need to want it bad enough and do everything for it and never give up. I 100% beleive in this, and live by it.

but i sure dont feel like i have anything special other than the average age grouper at a ironman on a physical point of view... i just took a different path in live that mainly focus on exploiting that components of myself. Mostly everyone could do the same if they took a similar is probably very hard to beleive by many of you but it was also for me. I had a lot of douth and set back, but by thinking about only small improvement..... and focusing on small end up making it a long way in 14 years..... (i would not have beleive it 14 years ago)

now that i got this out of me, i do feel a lot better, time to get back to training and see if i can make it to the truly elite level of triathlon...... i dont know if i can but i will sure give it a shot and see where this journee goes....lets focus on small improvement and we will see in a few more small step at the time....


Jaakko Hiekkaranta said...

Hi Johnnyo!

You are inspirational!!!

That's all I can say:)

-jaakko from finland

Lauren said...

Why are there so many photos of you in hot tubs in existence? Is this a special recovery trick?

Al said...

Great post...hard work is where it's at. It's good to read how you came up through the ranks and gives me even more respect for your accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what you say, when it comes to dog training you are a genetic freak.

Anonymous said...

Bonjour Jonathan...

Je viens tout juste de découvrir ton blog, et ce message m'a vraiment touché directement.

A 35 ans, j'ai décidé de changer ma vie et de me lever du sofa. J'ai perdu 95 lbs en 1 an, recommencer à faire de l'activité physique (après 15 ans de sédentarité). J'ai découvert le triathlon et attrapé la "maladie"!

Il y a deux semaines, j'ai fini mon premier tri (200M/15k/5k) et je l'ai gagné. En terminant, j'ai surtout le goût de faire une grosse grimace à tous ceux qui ont ri de moi, et qui m'ont dit que ce n'était pas possible!

Bryan (Gatineau)

your piano teacher said...

JonnyO, you make me cry!

triblog carol said...

I love this post. Amazing and true. Congratulations on all the hard work, persistence, intelligence, perspiration, blood, sweat and tears that went into your great performance. Awesome!

Sports Endurance Enthusiast said...

I love this story! So inspirational- very similar to mine. Read my story at