In training and competitions, we all arrive at a point at which it is no longer fun. People call it the Grind, which starts when it gets tiring, painful, and tedious. The Grind is also the point at which it really counts. Love isn’t in the cards here because there’s not much to love in pain. I don’t love the Grind but I don’t hate it either. I accept the Grind, make the sacrifices it takes, suffer through and push beyond my limits because I know it will make a difference one day. And to me that ‘one day’ is all that matters.
Sports background: Nintendo
Currently a professional triathlete, two-times IRONMAN champion and one of the top long distance triathletes in the World, I didn’t have an active childhood. I like to joke my sports career started in ’94 with the video game World Cup ’94 for Super Nintendo. While my high school cooper test (12-min run) might have be far from impressive, I was able to slowly overcome that non-athletic background and slowly grab Portugal’s triathlon leaders attention.
I started triathlon precisely because I was a sedentary child. In my teens my dad started to challenge me to do some races, I believe he wanted me to have something physically exciting and challenging so obesity wouldn’t struck later on life. It was the perfect master plan, as addicting as the sport is, I quickly become excited for new goals. However as everyone else I began with slow performances. Even after I decided this was what I want to do with my life, it took me years of persistency and work to move up the rankings. The biggest handicap was definitely the swim as it’s a very technical sport. At the end of the day, the lack of a sports background was a hurdle I had to overcome, but if you want achieve higher goals if you always have to be willing to make sacrifices and persevere.
As for most people, I did my first triathlon as a challenge and for fun. Then I had the opportunity to visit Kona in 2004 and see the World Championship live. It took me 10 years, I went from bottom of the pack to win my first full iron-distance race in 2013.
If I was to write something about my career as an elite athlete, it would be something like this: in January of 2007 I was assigned to the Portuguese Olympic Training Center in Lisbon, Portugal to train. Along the way I started to dominate the National events winning my first (long course) title championship that year. I went on to win the National Long distance title the next three years. I also earned spots on the Portuguese National Team and World Championships Team in both 2007 and 2008.
In 2010 I decided to embrace triathlon as more than just an hobby. I won my fourth National Championship that year and I took Silver at my first official IRONMAN attempt in Florida. Because of my stellar performance in triathlon, my family fully supported my ambition to become the best IRONMAN Portuguese athlete ever. I now consider myself an established triathlete, known across the World for my fearless and relentless racing style. I have focused my attention on Ironman races and have my sights set on winning endurance sports greatest competitions, including the reknown Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
There are many people to thank over this past years. I won’t shoot names because I’m afraid I may miss a few. However, there are two persons who have been part and responsible for my most successful and recent years: my dad and my wife Carolina.
These two individuals have probably made more sacrifices than anyone else so I can be successful as an athlete. First you need to be happy at home, then you can be happy doing whatever else you decide to pursuit.
Ultimately, my coach is the one who brought me out of the ashes and into the top of some Ironman races. Jesse (Kropelnicki) has guided me well throughout this past three years although most of my results – as everything we do in life – is still and yet my own responsibility.