Dave Shultz never figured he would be a triathlete. The 44-year-old Leawood resident attended Shawnee Mission Northwest, where he was a competitive swimmer.
He took nearly 20 years off before venturing back to competitive sports about 10 years ago. In addition to being a triathlete, Shultz is involved with a rock band, “Ironband,” which involves several area residents.
“If you would have told me 10 years ago that my triathlon experience would lead to performing in a triathlon-infused rock band, I would have laughed,” he said. “I’ve been playing guitar for 30 years and racing in triathlons for 10 years, and to some degree, it seemed natural to merge those two hobbies.”
He did some adventure racing before trying his first triathlon.
“Rekindling my swimming skills and jumping into triathlon seemed a logical progression from my other multi-sport experiences,” he said.
“For me, triathlon was a natural progression from running and mountain biking,” he said. “I did my first multi-sport race 10 years ago. It was an off-road duathlon that involved two running legs and a mountain biking leg.
“I loved that the event involved multiple disciplines since I tend to get bored if I just run or just bike for hours on end.”
His first triathlons were of sprint-distance races.
“I soon started trying longer distance races,” he said. “I made the progression from sprint triathlons to Olympic distances, and shortly after that I did my first Ironman distance triathlon.”
The Ironman involves a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.
Shultz considers himself a middle-of-the-pack triathlete.
“My enjoyment of the sport has always been more aligned with the camaraderie during training and challenging myself during the races and not as much about earning a spot on he podium,” he said.
“I consider any finish where you cross the finish line on two feet a huge success.”
He didn’t finish his first Ironman triathlon in Wisconsin. He collapsed four miles from the finish line and spent 48 hours in a coma.
“One year later I went back to the same race and finished the race with dozens of family and friends cheering me on,” he said.
Shultz now trains under Ken Walsh of Midwest Triathlon Coaching.
“The training plans constructed by a coach for their athletes ensure that you train with a purpose and a plan,” he said. “Knowing how far to swim, bike and run, what sort of intensity is involved and knowing how my calories or ounces of liquid you need for different workouts is important.”