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Business Observer Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 10 years ago

CEO Fitness: Ironman Thriller

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Jack Voth, co-owner of an information technology company in Bonita Springs called The Client Server, completed the Ironman championship in Kona, Hawaii in October. The grueling race includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.
by: Jean Gruss Contributing Writer

Who: Jack Voth
Age: 46
Title: Co-Owner
Company: The Client Server, Bonita Springs

Fitness goal: Completing the Ironman Triathlon championship in Kona, Hawaii, in under 15 hours. On Oct. 9, after winning a lottery to participate, Voth finished the grueling race in 14 hours and seven minutes. “My secret goal was to finish in sub-13,” he says. The event features a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon.

Training regimen: Voth trained 17 to 20 hours a week, alternating 10-mile runs with two-mile swims and 30-mile bike rides on weekdays. On the weekends, 100-mile bike rides and 18-to-20-mile runs were the norm. Voth trained every day. “Some people say you should have a rest day,” Voth says. “You rest when your body tells you.” But the pressure was on. “I had six and a half months to get in Ironman condition.”

How he balanced work and training: Voth gathered the 10-employee staff of his information-technology company six months before the race to explain that the Ironman championship had been a dream he'd been chasing for seven years. “There will be some days when I may leave early or come in late for work,” he explained to his staff. “Of course, they all did a great job.”

When he trained: “I can't train in the mornings because our phones start ringing at 7 a.m.,” Voth says. “The bulk of my training was in the evening.” About 60% of his training was outdoors, but 40% was indoors when it was dark outside.

Music on his iPod: In training, Voth listens to his iPod only when he's running. His favorite tune: Michael Jackson's Thriller. His training partners and colleagues at work rib him about his music selection. “It's a big joke around here,” he chuckles.

Best training tool: Voth uses the Polar 725 heart-rate monitor to measure his effort. “When you're training, it's about target zones and it's about time,” he says. “It's a better way to train.”

Gear he can't do without: Voth loves his bento bag, a satchel that attaches to his bike. “I stuff it full of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches,” he says. He'd rather eat those than gels many athletes prefer in endurance events. Voth throws in a handful of Hammer Nutrition electrolyte pills too.

Motivational book: Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall. “If you're a distance athlete, there are some similarities between all of us,” Voth says.

Weakness: “Potato chips have become my weakness,” Voth says. “Those kettle-style chips.” Although he stayed away from junk food, Voth exercised so much he was burning 5,000 to 7,000 calories a day. “I lost two sizes in my pants,” he says. “I ate everything, all the time.” The 6-foot-4 Voth now weighs 190 pounds, but weighed 215 pounds before training for the Ironman. “It's amazing where you lose fat from,” he marvels.

Fuel: Voth raves about Infinit Nutrition, a sports drink you can customize online using slider bars (infinitnutrition.us). The Web site lets you choose how much protein, electrolytes, caffeine or other ingredient you want in a sports drink. “They'll create the sports drink to your specifications,” Voth says.

Fitness tip: Have a goal for exercising. Besides finishing the Ironman championship, Voth says he likes to exercise because it gives him the license to eat more food. “It's all about your personal goal,” he says.

—Jean Gruss

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