Athlete Story: David Harter

Every athlete has a story and we love to share them with you. This week we are excited to share Dave’s story with you:

My Triathlon story,

dave harterIn 2009, my lovely wife told me she wanted to join this group the “Kitsap TriBabes”. It’s a group of women that train for the Danskin Women’s Triathlon held in Seattle (now called Iron Girl). I have always supported my wife, so I said whatever you need I will help. They would meet every Saturday to bike and run, I would help direct traffic, pump up tires and be a safety guard, whatever was needed.

Triathletes are a very special group of people. And they would show up and just keep trying.

In 2012 I said hey I will try this. After watching and helping these ladies for a while, I looked at myself and at 6’3”, 290 lbs I said I think I can. I know I have type 2 diabetes, neuropathy and several other medical problems, but I have seen these ladies do this.

So in 2012 with only biking a little and swimming a little, and no running I did my first sprint Triathlon, the Tri Turtle Tri in Kitsap County, run by the leader of the Kitsap TriBabes. I came in last, but I finished.

Boy this was harder than it looked. But I was determined to do better. So in 2013 I entered two Sprint triathlons. The Wild hare Triathlon run by the Westsound Triathlon club that I had recently joined and the Tri Turtle Tri again. Still not much on training but a little more. I completed the Wild Hare last in 3 hours on the button. And I took 40 minutes off my Tri Turtle Tri time.

I still felt that I wasn’t putting my mind to this and was just going through the motions.

Life changing moment came Labor Day weekend on 2013. I was driving back from Spokane and traffic was bad, but I was having trouble seeing the road, couldn’t focus and it really worse after I got home. I went to the eye doctor and found out that my Diabetes had attacked my eyes and the cataracts were making me blind.

I thought to myself I want to be able to see my wife and watch my grandchildren grow up. So in October, 2013 I had eye surgery. My right eye was 20/200 and my left eye was 20/175. By November, both eyes were 20/20.

I needed to do something. A friend we had met through the Westsound Triathlon Club was holding a new event. She called it the Winterman. You swam in the pool, did the spin bike and ran and would tell her what you did each week. It lasted for 8 weeks and you would get a medal for each Ironman triathlon distance (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 run) you completed. With this motivation, I completed 5 times the distance and got the highest medal they gave.

I will retire from the federal government on June 1 of this year; I have a triathlon trainer and work out 6 days a week. I tell people it’s not killing yourself it’s doing a little more each day. The small victories, The first time I ran a mile without stopping to walk, the first time a swam ½ mile in open water without stopping, the first time I rode over 50 miles on my bike.

I am now 250 pounds and have entered 4 events, my first half marathon, two sprint distance triathlons and with the encouragement of my new friend, Dana Anderson-Barkdull, my first Half Ironman distance at Ocean Shores. I am still a beginner, but feel I can keep trying and be there for other new members of the Tri world.

I still think Triathletes are special people and everyone I meet has a great story and is inspiring.

Thank you David Harter