From Brain Tumor to 70.3 Finish line; Rockstar Triathlete Neil Solomon
Neil and I go WAY back. But I had not heard from him in quite a few years. He told me his Ironman goal and I did say it was possible, but we may want to take a bit more time to get stronger and faster since he had taken so much time away from sport.
We decided to forge ahead with a caveat to change of course as needed. So he joined my Triathlon Transformation Program and we got to work with my Nutrition Essentials and Strength and Mobility Essentials.
Neil lost over 30 lbs, and even got his 6-pack abs back! We did identify a few imbalances in his strength and mobility assessments and are happy to say most of those were corrected despite a few strains along the journey.
Next was dialing in his biomechanics on the swim, bike, and run with video analysis and testing. His massive improvements across the board are impressive.
Some of his other big wins were switching from fear to speed on the bike, struggle to enjoyment on the swim, and injury to strong and steady on the run.
It is never a straight line from start to finish in your training journey to long-course triathlon, but I have methods to keep the fitness improving while athletes recover and continue to progress.
I could not be more proud of Neil’s success at the Cozumel 70.3. Coming within 10 minutes of his predicted race time, given the conditions, with a 6:41 is impressive. This kind of success after recovering from a brain tumor and not much fitness is pretty EPIC!
Way to go, Neil, you are a true Rock Star Triathlete! So excited for what’s next…
Thanks so much for choosing Full Circle Coaching for your triathlon Journey! Congratulations!
CEO – PropertyForce – A real estate investment company.
Why you chose FCC to help you on your triathlon/health and wellness journey?
I go back a long way with FCC to when I was doing my first sprint triathlons in my late 20s or early 30s. Erinne brings tremendous knowledge and unparalleled expertise to any athlete looking to excel in all three disciplines. Beyond the sport itself, but directly related, Erinne’s understanding of nutrition, supplementation, a healthy lifestyle, and a holistic perspective is extremely valuable to any training regimen.
What is your “A” race for this season?
Cozumel 70.3 was my “A” race for the season.
Please share your BIG goals: My big goals in life or my big goals related to triathlon?
My big goal in life is to be the best husband, father, family man, friend, and businessman I can be. To make a positive impact on as many people as possible every day – to coach.
My BIG goals in Triathlon are to become a competitive Age Grouper, challenging for podium positions regularly whether competing in Sprints, Internationals, or Olympics. Also, to push my limits in 70.3s and significantly cut my time to under 6 hours towards 5 hours. Finally, to complete at least 1 Full Ironman140.6. Along the way, to get, remain, and stay emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy through improvement to reach these triathlon goals.
Tell me about your successes so far:
This year has been unique.
Not to get dramatic, but most of my athletic focus and training stopped six years ago when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A combination of factors post multiple surgeries led to some weight gain, and while I got “back to the gym,” it was the first time I had ever gone multiple months, let alone multiple years, without any cardio training.
So, to kick off 2022, I decided that would change. A friend motivated me to get started on an old bike, and as that got a little traction, I added some light running. By March, I reached out to Erinne and Full Circle Coaching to begin training for a long course race. A lifelong goal!
Success 1, committing to a healthy lifestyle, and to that end, I dropped over 30 pounds, and my blood work went from not-so-good to perfect. My body changed significantly, my clothing fit (smaller sizes), and I looked and felt healthier and more energetic.
Success 2, learning to be patient, mainly as aches and pains arose that I had never dealt with before. Again, I had never gone so long without training, so the joint pain and the slight muscle pain, the reduced flexibility, and deteriorated muscular strength, let alone severely less cardiovascular capability, all required a level of patience that took some getting used to. Attention to little details mattered, which required a change in mindset, which was fully supported and inspired by Coaches Erinne, Ollie, and Jac.
Success 3 was competing in a couple of sprints and an Olympic in the spring and early summer while recovering from a nagging calf issue.
Success 4 was an exceptional experience and achievement this past weekend at my A race – Cozumel 70.3…which brings me to:
Success 5 is my decision to postpone IM Florida 140.6 and acknowledge that patience is a virtue. To have a positive experience in a FULL Ironman, with all that I am contending with pre/post-Cozumel, and that thing called life requires a bit more training and an even more significant commitment to consistency and attention to detail in the training sessions. As I have said for years, you can’t fake a full Ironman. I know that, I believe that, and I am proud of myself for putting whatever ego and pride aside to reset and refocus my training to accomplish that FULL goal in 2023.
What were some of your biggest Improvements in performance for each of the following? Swim, Bike, Run, and Nutrition/Health. Please include any Personal Records and Goals achieved:
First and foremost, I learned a lot about training. About HR, POWER, ZONES, etc., etc., stuff that MATTERS! Particularly as you start going long course.
With regards to the SWIM, Cozumel’s SWIM was the biggest positive delta I have ever achieved in any athletic endeavor concerning expectation vs. performance. All through training, while my swim technique improved, I remained relatively slow vs. my peers, swimming long swims at around 2:30 per 100 yards. As such, I anticipated a swim north of 50 minutes, and my goal was to break 50 minutes. I swam Cozumel in 35 MINUTES (1:53 per 100); never did I think that was possible. And even more impressive, yards 1000 – 1500 were at a 1:38 per 100-yard pace. I was blown away. All the frustration and struggle with technique both in the pools and in the open water paid off in Cozumel as I finally found my form and “felt the water”!
The Bike journey has been spectacular. Highlighted by my first 55 and 75-mile rides and then multiple 50-60ish mile rides in training. What started as struggling to maintain 15mph became comfortable and strong at 20mph. What was being dropped by groups riding at 22mph became me pulling for those same groups at 24mph—all driven by better technique, better fitness, and, yes, a better bike. I went from the guy afraid to train in cycling because it is dangerous and uncomfortable to the guy who prefers cycling over the other two disciplines and looks forward to improving further.
My sub-3-hour Cozumel 70.3 56-mile ride and my Loggerhead Sprint ride of 13 miles averaging almost 22 mph are the highlights of this season.
With regards to the RUN, just being able to complete Loggerhead and then Cozumel was a huge achievement, considering the calf issue. That said, learning about techniques such as dry needling, flossing, and others, are valuable pieces of information. Running Loggerhead well under 9-minute miles without pain was a tremendous achievement. I was also proud of training 8-10 miles several times at roughly 10-minute miles, considering how long I was away from running. And while the Cozumel run was brutal, my legs, lungs, and heart held up for 2:48 in 100-degree temperature, and I also take tremendous pride in that. Knowing I tested months ago at a 6:30 minute mile and likely could break 6:00 today bodes well for future training and races as my body recalls the 11 marathons and multiple half marathons. I have run and know that to go 13 miles sub 7:30 is possible, as are the correlated speeds at the shorter distances. Been there, done that… will get back there again.
Name 2 or 3 things that have made the biggest difference in your journey:
1. Eating clean.
2. Being FULLY committed to the high-quality training days that I can get to consistently. This year it was Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I hope to add another day or even two as I close the year. But those four days, I was religious about them. And quite honestly, that schedule allowed me to rest and recover, which was probably appropriate for this past cycle.
3. I had and have lots of fun! I trained with a smile the VAST MAJORITY of the time!
What excites you the most about being involved in triathlon?
The people – I have said for 25 years, “You will not meet a nicer group of people than those you will meet involved in endurance sports!” Cozumel did not disappoint, as has happened often at the end of past races of mine; as I was struggling through mile 12 of the run, some pro or top age grouper, I guess doing his cool down two hours later, comes running the opposite way with nothing but words of encouragement, even ran with me for like 20 yards. It’s a special group of people! The Full Circle Tribe fits that description, “a special group of people,” as well or better than any team out there.
Also, I love to test myself. And triathlon allows you to do that in ways that I would have thought were done for me when I left high school and that portion of my athletic career. Mentally, physically and emotionally, triathlons of any size, shape, or form test your abilities, your conditioning, your strength, and most of all your discipline!
What would you say to someone on the fence about joining our training program?
Whether a true beginner, a novice, an intermediate, or an experienced accomplished triathlete, FULL CIRCLE Coaching has a program for you. That said, be prepared to take in A LOT of information quickly. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Be willing to ask lots of questions. It is not, “Hey, let’s go for a little swim, a casual bike ride, or a Sunday jog.” It is a sport, but it is very much a science, and FC focuses on the science of it. So be prepared to learn a lot and even be a bit intimidated by all the data and tech. Just know it is all there to keep you healthy and make you better!
This could be you! You too can become the triathlete you always dreamed of! APPLY Here!