Special Education teacher Rick Lapinksi races in Ironman

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Photo Courtesy of Rick Lipinski

Mr. Rick Lapinski, Special Education teacher at Hinsdale Central, successfully completed his fifth Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii on Oct. 8, 2011, where he raced with 1,800 other participants.

The Iron Man consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. Lipinski crossed the finish line in 9:34.49. “The beginning of the race is a crazy, incredible feeling that washes away into relief as the cannon fires,”  Lapinski said.

The hardest part for him was the swim. “It was like a 2.4 mile boxing match in water,” Lapinski said.  He described the biking portion as hot and windy. “The marathon run was tough, but at mile 22, I had this moment of, ‘I’m going to finish,’” Lapinski said.

He made sure to keep a positive attitude throughout the entire race. During the marathon run, he would think about someone who was helpful or ticked him off to motivate him during every mile. When he crossed the finish line, “the feeling was like no other,” Lapinski said.

His passion for doing triathlons began six years ago when he was sitting on the couch in his parents’ basement watching the Iron Man World Championship in Hawaii. He decided to sign up for the Chicago Triathlon the following day. “I didn’t have a bike. I kind of jumped into it and it became a passion of mine,” Lapinski said.

For the Iron Man World Championship, his training schedule consisted of two to three hours on weekdays, and five to seven hours on the weekend, but the more intensive training began in July. Lapinski said that the secret to his training is consistency. “Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. The time when you actually fail is when you quit,” Lapinski said.

To keep himself motivated, he taped up motivational quotes around his house. His favorite quote is, “No regrets.” He believes that you are never going to regret getting up early, working out, and trying your hardest.