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Know what it takes to be an IRONMAN

What does it take to be an IRONMAN? Shawn Jaca is sharing the details.

Hey, Sunwarriors! My name is Shawn Jaca, and I'm a single dad of two amazing kids who are very active in sports. I am also a professional firefighter with the federal government.

The triathlon is special to me, because of the self-satisfaction I’ve gained and the relationships I've been able to cultivate while competing in triathlons. In 2013, I was 240 pounds and watching the St George IRONMAN® 70.3®and thinking to myself that no way would I ever want to do anything like it. I remember seeing athletes come across that finish line with bloody feet from the chafing of their shoes and bloody nipples from the chafing of their shirts, but they also all had huge smiles and huge tears.

The smiles were huge, but not huge enough to entice me. The bloody feet still kept me away, until four years ago when I challenged myself to race my first 10k. I didn't even know how far a 10k was until the morning of race day.

Today, I weigh 180 pounds, and I'm an IRONMAN! Yes, in 2016, I heard those famous life changing words: "Shawn Jaca, you are an IRONMAN." Let me tell you what, it gives me goosebumps just typing it.

Balance is key to your family, your profession, your friendships, and any of your relationships. Training is demanding; it can take a lot of time away from those who want to spend time with you. I've learned over the past four years to balance training with my social life. Train hard, work hard, and play hard! "Balance" is one of my goals for 2017. You may ask what does that look like. Well, I train when most of my loved ones are still sleeping by waiting until they go are going to bed, or I get up early before they get out of bed. This allows me to focus on my kids, work, and friends during the day. There are times when you have to really think hard about the choices you make. It's easy to be the one sleeping into 7am; it's easy to be the one to sit on the couch with a bag of popcorn! So what it comes down to is what choices are you willing to take? You will have to sacrifice some things.

But remember to balance those decisions, and remember it's all about the party at the finish line. It’s totally worth it, and you can totally do it!

Thank you for allowing me to express myself about my journey.

Come and support me and my fellow Sunwarrior team members at the following races.

• IRONMAN St. George 70.3- May6th

• IRONMAN Boulder-June11th

•St. George Marathon- October 7th

• IRONMAN Arizona- November 11th

Remember to work hard, train hard, play hard!

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