Road to the Ironman: The Inspiration Epidemic

Written by Jonathan Mackintosh

Inspiration and passion are contagious. You inspire me, I might inspire you and we become a group that inspires others. There is a viral effect that rapidly moves beyond our ability to track.

Credit: Dr Stephen McQuaid & Stewart Church / QUB / Wellcome Images

Credit: Dr Stephen McQuaid & Stewart Church / QUB / Wellcome Images

These past couple of weeks I have watched inspiration hit my wife like a ton of bricks. I mentioned in my last blog that she had started looking at how to remove processed food from our diet, well she dove in head first and has become a serious advocate for healthy living. In our family you are not allowed to half-ass it. You are all in or you are lazy (Hence I am doing an Ironman with only one other triathlon under my belt). This isn’t a rule in our family, just the way we work.

So, we have donated our cupboards and freezer stock of processed food and started over with the basics. We make our food from scratch, we are able to pronounce every ingredient and we try to avoid hormonal overload on our meat and dairy. With three females in the family, we have enough hormones without the extras (don’t get mad sweetheart…it’s funny). The transition to this lifestyle is helped because we are able to peek into the lives of those that have gone before us, people we can relate to.

Inspiration often requires context to create action within us. If I can identify with the person, I can more easily picture myself doing what they did. The trail has been blazed. My wife finds inspiration in bloggers who have families similar to ours, sharing their journey through stories of success and failure.

Their failures make them accessible, their successes inspire action.

The beauty of the contagion is that when we take action, we immediately become a candidate to inspire others. It doesn’t mean we have it all figured out. Like I mentioned before, I am far less inspired by people that aren’t willing to express their failures. We become a trail blazer for our friends and neighbors who couldn’t identify with anyone before.

I desire to be a part of an epidemic of change. I desire to inspire others. I don’t think that’s egotistical, because my criteria is that I share my failures alongside my successes. I want my journey to the Ironman to be an accessible story for those that are in similar situations to where I began.

So here are three very real things about me:

  1. I still can’t look at myself in the mirror with my shirt off
  2. I battle with feelings of failure and depression when I take a necessary break from routine
  3. I fear what I will feel/look like in 1, 3, 5 years. Have I really changed for good?


I have started running again. Just a little bit, but so far it hasn’t hurt my soleus muscle so I am optimistic. I will continue to slowly build my miles back in to my run, with tons of stretches and muscle rolling integrated into the routine.

I am continuing my focus on building my core muscles to create stability when the major endurance training kicks in. I am a big advocate for Core Performance Training. It has helped rid me of my lower back issues and I am sure it has prevented a large number of potential injuries. They have a great ramp up program that meets you where you are. That’s my plug.

My next blog entry will include our first week of the 13 week training program. I am extremely nervous but thrilled. I think my training is there, but per usual, I am nervous about my injury. Onward.


I already talked a lot about what we have changed to lately regarding unprocessed food. Here is a particular site that has inspired my wife (who has inspired me):

Since our transition, I broke through a weight-loss plateau that I had been stuck on for 3 months, losing an additional 8 lbs. The bonus is food just plain tastes better.

I have also started to add in Power Bar gels during my longer duration exercises to get my body used to the substance since it will be necessary during the Ironman race.

On top of it all, I am still rocking the Nussentials stuff. The key for me has been my post workout Less protein shakes. Yesterday I was in a foul mood after three hours of training. My best guessfor  is that it was a vitamin deficiency, because after the shake my mood improved considerably.