Steve Karpas, Memorial Hermann Athlete
Dig Deep to Celebrate a Personal Milestone
Steven Karpas has a milestone birthday this year and he can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to compete in the 2016 Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas Triathlon.
He wants to prove to himself that he can be in the best shape of his life when he hits 50 years old.
Steven considers himself an average athlete but one who is committed to achieve any goal he sets for himself. He eagerly embraces the essence of the IRONMAN: believe in your heart that anything is possible and you can and you will find the path for your personal journey. He is enthusiastic to experience firsthand the positive power of his own IRONMAN.
"This event requires a unique focus and a completely different mindset because of the different disciplines," he says. "I have set a high bar for myself, and I am excited because this is a memory that will last forever."
Biking and swimming are out of his comfort zone. "I started swim training in mid-October by doing laps in a pool and every week I try to swim farther," he explains. "My goal is to survive the swimming phase as best I can; I will need to swim for about 1 hour and 20 or 30 minutes."
During Steven’s late 20s he started long-distance running and has competed in 25 marathons.While he admits he is comfortable with the marathon portion of the Triathlon, he says, "My biggest challenge will be the heat and humidity because I prefer cold weather running."
Obstacles Before Race Day
"I have been around triathlon athletes and I am always intrigued – and a little in awe – of my friends who tackle this event."
Steven juggles a lot of responsibilities: a demanding career, family obligations and now a training/racing schedule.
For 15 years he has worked for the Houston Marathon Committee where he is managing director for business development and marketing. "I have been around triathlon athletes and I am always intrigued – and a little in awe – of my friends who tackle this event. I have been to three IRONMAN competitions and it is so inspirational to see all of these people going for their dream."
A father of a 10-year old son, he appreciates the value this experience brings to more bonding opportunities with his son. "We jog together and he sees me training and trying to achieve a goal so I think this instills a work ethic in him," he says. "We talk of doing this event together some day and I hope this lights a path for him."
It is a definite challenge to add this training regimen to his work schedule, while also making time to be a dad. "My son is active in several sports, and I am committed to attending his practices and games," he adds.
Steven accepts that sacrifice is necessary to achieve any goal. "I need to be smart about the choices I make when it comes to time for family, social activities and training," he notes.
When he sees the IRONMAN logo on a shirt or cap, "it fires up my motivation and I am reminded that I'm not the only one sacrificing. If others can do it – I can too."
Training Is Your Best Friend
"Working with the Memorial Hermann Human Performance Center Institute has made a big difference," he says. "The staff evaluates my fitness level and teaches me proper stretching, conditioning and training, as well as how to take care of my body with proper nutrition and supplements. Your body needs a lot of different sources of energy to tackle 11-12 hours of running, biking and swimming."
Depending on his son's schedule, a typical week for Steven includes working out three times a day. At 5 a.m., he runs about 45 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes. At lunchtime, he makes time for an hour swim and at night he rides his stationary bike at home for about two hours. The day ends with eating a healthy meal about 7:30 p.m.
He also has learned that a little downtime is important so he makes an effort to build some into his schedule.
What Better Time Than Now?
"This is my salute to reaching the half-century mark and I am in the best shape I have ever been and feel myself getting more fit."
He continually encourages others to do "whatever you need to do to make you feel alive, relevant and healthy, whether that is a 5K, a 10K or another goal in your bucket list."
He sees the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas Triathlon as a metaphor for life, "helping us reach our potential. There's no better time than right now to dig deep within yourself and go big. This is my salute to reaching the half-century mark and I am in the best shape I have ever been and feel myself getting more fit. I am gaining confidence that I can actually do this."
He can’t wait to see all of the fans, plus his friends and family, at the finish line. "My inspiration will be having my son give me a high five and a hug when it is done," he adds.
"Elite is a word that often describes those of us who compete in a triathlon – but a better word may be committed to being the best you can be," says Steven. "That's what the IRONMAN means to me."