Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward recently completed the Kona Ironman Triathlon, finishing in 13 hours, 8 minutes and 15 seconds. Ward spoke with NFL Evolution about the experience. A few of his comments are below and the full interview can be viewed at Hines Ward Ironman.
How is your body feeling after completing the Kona Ironman Triathlon almost two weeks ago?
I’m still a little sore. I’m back to running. I just ran six miles yesterday. It was the first time that I ran since the triathlon. I worked the Notre Dame (versus USC game) last Saturday (for NBC) and got on the elliptical machine that morning. That was really the first time that I actually did any (exercise since Kona), but it took me a while to recover. There’s no question about that.
What was it that made you try endurance sports and when did you make that decision to compete in Kona?
My agent … presented an opportunity from “Got Chocolate Milk,” which I already represented. I’ve done a milk mustache ad before. The opportunity presented itself for me to participate in the Ironman World Championships out in Kona with their help. At the time I was probably naïve and stupid, really not knowing what goes into an Ironman and becoming an endurance athlete. I think so many people out there don’t know what it takes to do a triathlon. It’s a grueling sport and it definitely earned my respect going into it. I was kind of dumb-founded by really not knowing how long a 2.4 mile swim and how long a 112-mile bike ride would take. I kind of knew about a marathon, but to do it all in one day is grueling. Now, having done it and finished the Ironman in Kona, I just get a newfound respect for all of the triathletes out there because I know what they’re going through.
There are shorter lengths of triathlons — sprint, Olympic and half Ironman. Did you participate in any of those while training for Kona?
I did one of each. I really just started training in February, so it was less than eight months. I did a sprint triathlon in San Diego in early March. I did an Olympic down in St. Petersburg, Fla. And then I did a half Ironman in Kansas during the summer. I did one of everything to get kind of a simulation of what Kona was going to be like. Even while I was in Kona, it was still overwhelming. Luckily for me, I got a celebrity exemption to get in (Kona). … But to be around all of the pros from every age group, it was overwhelming. But at the same time it was great to be on the course with some of the greatest endurance athletes from all over the world.
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