Every month at True North Strength and Fitness we recognize the efforts of a community member that has broken new ground in their fitness game – either completing a significant event, taking their training to a whole new level, or stepping completely outside of their fitness comfort zone. We hope that by shining the spotlight on their fitness journey, you’ll be educated, motivated, and inspired no matter where you find yourself on your own.
Oh, and virtual high-fives for the featured members are always welcome – because the world can always use more good vibes and high-fives!
This month we’re shining our spotlight on…
What’s your name? Dan Sivertson
How long have you been training and how did you get started? Since I saw Chariots of Fire and watched Terry Fox running on television… around grade one.
What’s your sport and/or fitness background? I dabbled in a lot of sports as a kid but seemed to have some talent for running. I was competing in cross country by grade three (I begged the coach to let me run a year earlier than we were supposed to). I was really into track in grades seven to twelve. I ran on the UBC Cross Country Team but really wanted to do try this new sport of triathlon. It looked California/Hawaii cool. I think I wanted a tan! I have been in and out of the triathlon world for 25 years. I also have done some marathon swim, bike, and run events.
What’s your most recent sport and/or fitness accomplishment? How long did it take you to prepare? The biggest race of my life in terms of travel and sheer financial commitment was the ITU Triathlon World Championships in Switzerland in August 2019. I was invited onto The Canadian Age-Group World Championship Team. It was a pretty amazing experience!
What does a typical training week look like for you? Last year (2019) was 10 to 13 hours per week of training. It was pretty crazy with family commitments and our physio business. Mondays and Fridays were my True North strength training sessions, Tuesdays a coached swim and 40-50 km bike, Wednesdays running intervals on the track, Thursdays a 40-50 km bike followed immediately by a 5-10km run, Fridays another swim day, Saturdays an ocean swim day, and a 12-15 km run and Sundays a 60-80 km bike.
What’s the next sport and/or fitness goal you would like to accomplish? I am pondering getting back into longer races. I might do a Half-Ironman in preparation for a full Ironman a year after that. It’s all about finding the time, while still prioritizing family.
What’s something sport and/or fitness related you would like to try, but haven’t? I have always wanted to do a full-on mountain climb with ice axes, crampons, ropes, etc. I also want to stand up paddleboard a long way and then camp and hike from there for a week…. just go deep woods!
Did you get any cool results from your training that you weren’t expecting? If yes, what were they? Last year was pretty intense training-wise. Even though I am naturally lean, I shed about 10 lbs of muscle and fat in preparing for Worlds. This allowed me to climb some hills on the bike way faster than I have in years and to start to regain some of the running speed that I lost due to an injury three years ago. Also, the strength and core training in the gym allowed me to really hold my aero position on the bike in the races during huge efforts. I just felt super strong and stable when my legs were hammering. It was an awesome feeling!
What’s your most memorable personal record (PR)? Why? Every hard effort is special as you go someplace emotionally and physically that most people choose not to experience for fear of pain or whatever. I am actually really proud of a race where everything went wrong from the start… my timing chip (velcro strap thing around my ankle) got knocked off in the swim. This means no times are recorded for you and you don’t officially finish the race. So at the end of the swim, I had to run around for 2-3 minutes while all the guys I beat on the swim were getting on their bikes and leaving for the bike segment. I eventually got a new chip and got racing. It was pouring cold rain down. I was mad and freezing. Something clicked in my brain to get over myself and just push hard. I rode and then ran really hard, and a bit angrily. I ended up beating last year’s time on the same course by 10 minutes, beat the guy that beat me last year, and won my age group. It was satisfying to be reminded that you have to roll with the punches and “it ain’t over till it’s over”.
Favorite song. “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen
Favorite place you’ve ever traveled to. Syria (1993) because it taught me a lot about the world and to not trust your stereotypes.
What are three things you would take with you if you were stranded on a desert island? My bike and trainer (that’s one thing, OK!), my Kobo with a wicked battery and a loaded gift card (and good wi-fi), a magic fridge that never ran out of beer and necessary macro-nutrients.
Which three words best describe you? Empathetic, driven, gregarious.