“I was a toddler – according to my wife. All I did was eat, sleep, work, and train, for a whole year.”
But why was David Miles – a program manager at SEAKR Engineering, in charge of 20 engineers, and heading the Orion VPU program – acting like a toddler.
He was training for the biggest race of his life.
“I like to do triathlons. I’ve probably done 20-30 triathlons in the last 10 years. It all culminated when I completed an Ironman several years ago.”
The Ironman – a long distance triathlon – is held annually in multiple locations around the world.
“2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile marathon run. Needless to say, it took a lot of time and planning.”
Miles admits that at the time he needed a challenge, and the Ironman was just part of the answer.
“I was looking for something to challenge me. I had just gotten my master’s degree, and life was quieter, so I signed up. But then in 2012, I started a new job at SEAKR and bought a new house, while in training. It was crazy. It was scary. But it was something I was really excited about. And in the end, the Ironman race was probably the most fun I have ever had.”
The physical challenge was equivalent to his challenging job as a program manager at SEAKR.
“A huge part of it for me is keeping a balance. I like having the intellectual challenge – that is why I love being a program manager; I get to work with customers, learn all about the electrical engineering, the financial aspect, and just work with all of the different pieces of the program. I really enjoy the variety of everything at work. To balance that, I like to have physical challenges.”
“My engineers know to ask when I last went for a run. If it’s been a while, they’ll tell me to go take a run at lunch.”
As he reflects on his journey to becoming an Ironman, he remembers some of his first races, the ones that gave him the confidence to keep signing up for harder races.
“My wife tried for years to get me to run in college, and I wouldn’t do it. It wasn’t until years later that I started to actually run. The first athletic competition I signed up for was a half ironman – probably not smart. On course to get there, I signed up for a 5K. Then I signed up for a 10K. Then, a half marathon. All of these events were the longest I had ever run. It was aggressive, but a good start.”
“Of course, after that first half Ironman, I swore I would never do another one – let alone a full Ironman! Oops!”
But Miles is never one to turn down a challenge. Two years after his very first race, Miles signed up for the Ironman.
“The swim was a lot easier than I expected – it was a good start to the day. The bike is my strength, so it was a lot of fun. It was also really hard, though – I didn’t know the Midwest could be so hilly! I expected the run to be hard, and I was right. Who starts a marathon at 2 p.m. after all that ‘warm-up’? I’m not a fast runner, so I just kept moving. I like to say that I finished in ‘twelve hours… and change’ – the truth is that it was about 12:59. I didn’t care how long it took, though; it was one of the best days of my life.”
The year after his Ironman, SEAKR provided the next challenge.
“It was only a few months later, and I was talking to people at work about what came next. We started talking about the Triple Bypass – a 110-mile ride over three mountain passes. Within a few days, we had at least ten people signed up – that was about 3% of the company! It was great. Then the day after the ride, we were all texting each other about how much we hurt.”
“We have a really great athletic community at SEAKR. Most days, people are outside playing volleyball, soccer, or basketball at lunch – even in the winter! We have a few dozen people who are pretty avid endurance athletes, and run or ride at lunch. It’s great – we’re adjacent to Cherry Creek State Park, so we have dozens of miles of trails right out our back door. Occasionally it’s laid back, but we usually push each other pretty hard.”
And sometimes, there’s some light competition, of course.
“I’ve raced against people from SEAKR a few times – I’m 1-and-1 with one of the directors right now. It’s really fun to have people you know there. Of course, I’m trying to break that tie this year.”
Miles is always on the lookout for his next physical challenge, determined to continue pushing his limits.
“I have two wonderful kids now, so with the little free time left, I focus on shorter races. This year, I am looking to get revenge on a race I didn’t do so well in – the Evergreen Triathlon. It was harder than I expected.”
Want to know more about David Miles’s Iron Man experience? Check out his blog! https://irondavid.wordpress.com/