Josh Southern has lived in Colorado his whole life and joined RMTC a few years ago. Josh had the opportunity to race a couple triathlons in the fall of 2020; i.e., Littlefoot Sprint Triathlon in Lakewood and Lookout Mountain Triathlon in Golden; and, since, has been able to step into a few short running races. His first major race this season will be the Beat-the-Heat Half-Marathon in Arvada on April 17.
Getting back to racing after last year, has been a challenge for us all; but, what is more interesting about Josh Southern’s upcoming half-marathon (Beat-the-Heat in Arvada) is that he has never run that distance before (outside of a couple 70.3 races, including the RMTC 70.3 last September). Therefore, he has been working with the RMTC coaches to gradually build-up mileage and intensity through a lot of tempo efforts and long runs with intermittent bursts. Overtime, he has seen his endurance and confidence building and is focusing on a sub-7:00 pace for the upcoming race.
By background, Josh was a Track sprinter in high school; he got into triathlon in his late 30s, because, as he said, “I work from home and found that I was getting really sedentary, and a bit depressed, just sitting at a computer all day, every day. I wasn’t really active at all for almost 15 years, other than walking from my home office to the kitchen. Triathlon was something I always wanted to do, so I decided to give it a shot. Training has given me something to get me up and out of the house and has provided me a deep sense of purpose and accomplishment.”
Josh had zero swimming background when he started. None. So, as an adult-onset swimmer, he learned to swim by watching internet videos and got some help from his wife, who swam in high school. Josh shared that he worked hard at it but found that after swimming he was having these awful headaches and sometimes losing his vision for around 30 minutes. After a few visits to the doctor who could not find anything wrong, his wife noticed that he was breathing only through his nose when swimming… Yep. That would be a problem… 😊
For his first race ever, the Colorado Sprint Tri in late May 2015, he racked the road bike he had borrowed from his Dad and wandered down to the water. As everyone knows, that first Open Water swim is pretty intense. Josh’s goal was simply to finish, so he took his time. He waited 30 seconds after the gun went off to have some open space to himself, then just swam from kayak to kayak and rested at each. Needless to say, the swim took awhile; but, fortunately, his strategy paid off as he could easily find his bike in Transition when he got out of the water. 😊 The bike went OK, but he struggled with massive cramping on the 5K run, and barely limped to the finish. Although it was a tough first race, Josh enjoyed the daily training regimen in the months leading up to the race so much that he immediately started planning how to progress in the sport – he was bitten by the tri bug.
He spent the rest of that first summer simply focusing on being able to comfortably swim in open water by swimming at Grant Ranch almost every weekend. The following summer, he participated in 5 races, building up to his first 70.3, the Harvest Moon, in September 2016. Two years ago, Josh joined RMTC, primarily to meet new people to train with and progress in the sport through the coaching and structured workouts provided; i.e., Track Runs, Weekend Rides, and Group Swims , that have really helped him enhance his capabilities. He also raved about the RMTC sponsor, SWIM LABS, where he has spent a lot of time improving his swim technique and loves his RMTC sponsor ROKA wetsuit.
When asked about his most memorable multisport moment, he shared that it was at the 2019 Barkin’ Dog Duathlon where, after the race, he walked over to get his time and found that he placed 2nd in his age group! Absolutely shocked at getting on the podium for the first time, he paused, smiled, and felt a deep sense of accomplishment. He had come a long way from barely limping across that first finish line in 2015!
Josh loves racing, and since he’s gotten into the tri lifestyle, he has done a bunch of Sprints and Olympics and a couple of 70.3s, along with lots of running races, bike races (including cyclocross), and even a few open water swim races. His priority race this year will be USA Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee in August, and is excited about the opportunities in front of him.