Josh Asoodeh (Southeastern Louisiana University, 2018) decided he wanted to compete in a triathlon when he saw one of his mentors, David Benton, competing.
“I have always loved competition of any form. I used to compete in Brazilian jiu-jitsu when I was younger, and that's one of the main reasons I love to challenge myself and to compete,” said Asoodeh.
With guidance in training and equipment shared by Benton, Asoodeh balanced training with academics and chapter leadership responsibilities. As Epsilon Phi Chapter’s recruitment chairman last spring, he said he could not have managed everything without help from his recruitment committee.
Time management proved to be the first challenge. While he trained, he also balanced 30 hours of work per week with time for academics, Fraternity life and time with his girlfriend. He used a daily planner that he stuck to religiously. “I had everything that I would do for the day scheduled out, and a planner helped me organize my time and use it efficiently,” Asoodeh said.
In June 2017, Asoodeh made a 14-hour drive from Louisiana to Lubbock, Texas to compete in an Ironman Triathlon at Buffalo Springs Lake. The 70.3-mile IronMan included a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile cycle and 13.1-mile run. He finished the race with a time of 08:13:18.
“The race was pretty rough on me physically, the mental part of it was even harder to overcome though. When you're at mile 50 and struggling to continue, and you think about the next 20 miles of the race, it can be intimidating. The highlights of the race were the gorgeous landscapes that the race takes you through. Some of it was just flat farmland, but a good portion of the cycle was in very large valleys or cycling up large winding hills. Some of the views were awesome! The run was around Buffalo Springs Lake, and most of it was on a nicely shaded road. What was cool and very inspiring was the fact that almost every person who lives around Buffalo Springs Lake came out of their houses to cheer for the athletes and some of them even offered sports food and drink to us,” said Asoodeh.
Asoodeh appreciated the constant encouragement and amazing support from his chapter brothers. “Just knowing that you have 50 guys back home who are believing in you to finish helped me to keep pushing through the pain and fatigue,” he said.
His favorite discipline out of the three is swimming, and his biggest challenge was cycling. Challenges aside, Asoodeh has already registered for upcoming sprint triathlons, short-distance triathlons, usually less than a quarter of the distance of an Ironman. He doesn’t plan to compete in another Ironman until he has more time and money to invest in training, but someday he would like to complete the full 140.6-mile IronMan. For now, Asoodeh will graduate this semester with a degree in information technology, and he is in the MBA program at Southeastern.
“I am not some sort of athletic god,” said Asoodeh. “I am a normal person who put his mind to something and accomplished it. If there is something I want people to know, it's that they can do anything if they believe in themselves and have a plan of action.”