Today there is a lot of talk about victory. Victory is glorified, sought after and often the focus of discussion. But what is perhaps more intriguing is the resilience, vision and determination required for a victory to become reality. Here lies the truly inspiring part of the story. Perhaps less glamorous, but undoubtedly real and impressive.
This part of the story is woven from micro steps, the work we put in over and over again, the obstacles along the way and the unmovable faith in our vision and goals. The small victories and defeats, the not giving up, and the innovation in problem solving.
Baseload Capital knows this well. A team of unwavering believers in transitioning to a planet in balance, who resolutely walk towards their goal, guided by resilience and innovation. One such victory story, primarily over oneself, is the story of Jon Örn Jonsson and his journey towards his first full Ironman Race in Italy. Jon, Energy and Infrastructure Project Manager at Baseload Power Iceland, dreamt of becoming an Ironman for over a decade. For him, an Ironman competition represents one of the toughest races on the planet and is a recognition of mental and physical strength. “A race that shows that if you put your mind to it anything is possible”, as he describes it.
Jon’s inspirational story began five years ago, when he began to train for triathlons, but until recently he only competed in smaller distances such as sprint (750 m swim, 20 km bike and 5 km run) and Olympic (1500 m swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run). “Competing in these shorter distances has taught me a lot and allowed me to accumulate the proper swim, bike and run gear. Initially I aimed to do my first long distance Ironman back in 2020 but due to Covid-19 the race was cancelled. Then in September last year my Tri Club Ægir3 was granted permission to pre-register into an Ironman competition. The club decided to focus on the Ironman Italy as the race in Italy has both full, half, and Olympic distances”, reveals Jon. His preparation for Ironman Italy Emilia-Romagna 2022 started in September 2021, 12 months before the race. “I decided immediately to hire a personal trainer to oversee the training and to provide the extra support in addition to my regular club training. In January 2022 I decided that in addition to taking my training more seriously I would change my diet by removing all animal products. I had excluded meat from my diet for a few years but now I took the step into the world of plant-based power. As the race grew closer the training hours got longer, two-hour bike rides turned into five-hour rides. When summer came, I felt confident that I would complete the full distance. I was not sure how long it would take me, but I knew that if I stayed healthy, I would complete”, Jon explains.
Finding the long hours of training when you have a big family, a full-time job and a social life was of course challenging. “An average 10 to 15 hours training a week is normal”, he adds. However, the real challenges were yet to come. During his family vacation in Denmark, Jon broke his collarbone on one of his bike rides. This was around eight weeks prior to the race, and it was a major setback as he was in great shape and had been crushing
his PB’s in all three disciplines. “At first, I thought that all my hard work was wasted, and I would not be able to compete in Italy. I was devastated, a disappointment that outweighed the pain in my shoulder. After discussing with the doctors at the ER and hearing that the healing time of a fracture is six to eight weeks, I decided not to rule my race out but rather focus on recovery and keep active and motivated. Once back in Iceland I had surgery where a steel plate was screwed to my collarbone to provide support. Shortly after the surgery I was able to start riding my indoor bike and then gradually doing some slow but long runs”, Jon tells us.
A sign that not giving up when difficulties arose came in the form of the Ironman race itself. “The race was initially scheduled on the 17th but due to a storm forecast the race was delayed until the 19th. On the morning of 19th September, the Adriatic sea was calm with almost no waves. There was a light cool NW breeze resulting in near perfect conditions for the bike and run. I do not think I could have asked for a better day. As a result, I finished the race in 10 hours, 33 minutes and 25 seconds, which I am very happy with”, says Jon.
“The biggest challenge during the race was during the marathon. I had been running for an hour when my watch died. Without my watch I had no way of knowing how fast I was running or my heart rate. Most Ironman training is based on staying in certain heart rate zones, and going above your threshold means that you will deplete your stored energy faster resulting in cramps or exhaustion. This meant that I had to run the remainder of my race blind trying to run at a steady pace while making sure not to cramp in my legs. I stayed calm and started asking fellow runners at what pace they were running. My wife who was watching was also able to let me know the average pace I was running. I managed to complete the race without cramping at a decent sub four-hour marathon”, shares Jon.
Now, with the race behind him, Jon thinks that mental strength is key when it comes to endurance racing, but also that a strong mind together with physical strength is needed. “A weak mind in a strong body will not complete the race, neither will a strong mind in a weak body”, he adds. And what about the lessons Ironman taught him? “That we will only meet the best versions of ourselves when we challenge ourselves and intentionally put ourselves in uncomfortable situations. Only then can we grow and find out what we are capable of.” The hardest part in endurance sports is always staying present and taking the next step. But isn’t that the case in life and business too? As we all know, it’s not the toughest that wins the race, it’s the most persistent. Like Jon says, setting clear goals, not losing focus and resilience will get you a long way. “Because there will always be situations that set us back, but we must view these failures or setbacks as opportunities to grow and learn and then to continue our path.” At Baseload Capital, resilience is considered a value, and we believe that Jon and his inspiring Ironman journey embody exactly that.