Catching up with our sponsored athlete, Matthew Murphy, after a busy 2012. Read on to find out how his passion for running started and where it has gotten him. Truly an amazing story.
When did you start running and how long before you knew you were good at it?
“Being “good” may be relative to not how my performance is, but how good running is for me and what it does for the greater good of the world we live in. When I first started running in 2010, I hated it. I had the wrong shoes and no real training plan. This resulted in me getting injured on my first outing. After I recovered and did some research, I got a “real” pair of running shoes and downloaded the Ease Into 5K app. I realized after about two weeks of doing the plan that I was starting to get “good” at running. I was also seeing a dramatic change in my weight loss while increasing energy and stamina levels. When it became bigger than me is when I started to use my running as a means to raise awareness for congenital abnormality research and assisting the families of the 1 in 30 children born with a congenital anomaly. This is a huge issue for me considering that it is the leading cause of infant deaths in the world and affected my son, Shawn. My wife and I were surprised that we could not find any type of non-profit that did research or provided the public information about congenital abnormalities, so after Shawn’s successful recovery from three life threatening surgeries in his first year of life, we started Shawn’s Anomaly to provide education, hope, and help to families affected by congenital abnormalities. I now raise money for the non-profit through my endurance events, help motivate others through speaking engagements, and coach athletes of all skill levels through their fitness journey so they can raise money for our mission through events of their choice all over the world.
how long before you realized you wanted to train for an ironman?
“It is embarrassing sometimes to even admit this, but it was shortly after I finished my Ease into 5K program and immediately after finishing my first 5K in March of 2010. I was in my back yard smoking a cigarette when my wife came out and asked me what I was planning on doing next. By now, I knew that I could use my running and training as a vessel to raise awareness for the Shawn’s Anomaly mission, so I responded with the “tongue in cheek” statement, “I want to finish the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii!” My wife, unfazed by my humor, looked at me and said, “Well, if you are going to do that you better quit smoking and get to training!” I took her advice and in less than two years and 15 endurance events later, I crossed the finish line of the Ironman Texas in 15:40:33 in honor of my son’s recovery to become “Shawn’s Ironman”. I blogged about my journey along the way (www.shawnsironman.com), and it really helped bring a lot awareness to the Shawn’s Anomaly mission while helping several families to receive assistance through our non-profit. Since the qualification standards are so high or you have to win an invitation into the event, I still have not had the opportunity to finish the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI, but I will continue to qualify or get an invitation till I succeed.”
What is a typical training day like for you?
“Unlike pro athletes that get to train during the day, I have to schedule my training around a full-time job and family time. During the week on Wednesday and Friday, I go to the pool and swim for an hour in the morning and then stop by the gym for some weight training after work before heading home. On Tuesday and Thursday, I wake up before sunrise and I will strap on the running gear and go running 5 to 6 miles. I will then go work all day before coming home to hang out with Shawn and my wife. After he goes to bed, I will hop on my bike that is set up in my living room on a trainer to ride for an hour while my wife and I watch TV or talk about our day. On weekends, I will wake up early in the morning and go for a 60 mile or greater bike ride on Saturday and a 15 to 20 mile run on Sunday. Since I do my long runs and bike rides early, this gives me plenty of time to hang out with Shawn and my wife while letting the muscles recover the rest of the day. Mondays are my days to prop my feet up, do some recovery stretches, and relax before starting it all over again.”
What are some must haves for training?
Tell us about your 2012 race achievements.
“After finishing 12 triathlons or running events in 2011, I came into 2012 with a lot of expectations and a packed race schedule. I completed the Houston Marathon (my first marathon), the Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston (my second 1/2 Ironman), and the Ironman Texas (first full Ironman triathlon). After completing the Ironman Texs, I entered my story into the Ironman Kona Inspired program where applicants were asked to tell their story to see if it was inspiring enough to be invited to the Ironman World Championship. Our story was chosen as one of the semi-finalist to be voted on by the public, but unfortunately I did not get enough public votes to receive the invitation. I decided to let my body recover for the rest of year. It was a much needed rest after completing 16 events in less than 2 years.”
What are your plans for 2013?
“I am more excited about the 2013 plans than any other year and it is not because my event schedule. It is because our journey is now focused on inspiring others to get off the couch and start their own journey through the Shawn’s Anomaly “iDO!” Health & Wellness Program and the Ease Into 5K app. I am also joined by other athletes that are dedicating their events to raise money through Team Shawn’s Anomaly. I am also looking forward to submitting our story to the Ironman Kona Inspired program once again in 2013 for another chance to cross the finish line that inspired this journey from the beginning: The Ironman World Championship. Who knows, maybe you can help me get there with your votes. To find out more information on when voting starts and how you have participate, you can follow my blog. Voting starts in the spring of 2013.”