Steve walker is many things. He's a marine, he's a husband, he's a realtor, he's a dad and he's an Ironman Triathlete. In 2015 Steve even got to race the Ironman World Championships in Kona. It's a great story and like many of my interviews here on the Mile after Mile Podcast this one has a twist. Steve is legally blind.
Steve has Retinitis Pigmentosa which was discovered when he was in the US Marine Corps. We talk a little bit about his condition in the first few moments of the podcast.
Interestingly Steve has or had a tremendous fear of water and swimming. But he came to triathlon with the help of his wife and his best friend and of course, Google.
We talk about going through a dark place as he lost his vision and how he came out of that through training for triathlon and with the help of those around him.
We talk about how Steve and his guide are connected to each other during the race.
No Ironman interview would be complete without a full discussion of his bike. Steve uses a Calfee tandem bike. Steve describes his bike as the Ferrari of tandems. We do a lot of chatting throughout the podcast about lots of things to do do with cycling.
His local Triathlon shop is Triathlon Lab in Redondo Beach.
He found his first swim coach and as luck would have it he met a great training partner in Carl, his first Bike pilot. We talk about the challenges of swimming and training for swimming as a visually impaired athlete. Luckily he has Endless Pools as a sponsor.
His first 70.3 was Superfrog in Coronodo California and then Ironman Cozumel. We talk about how he and his guide navigate the rough surf and conditions in a triathlon. This is at about 27:00 and it's super interesting how Steve and his guides do this.
We talk about how Steve got to the Ironman Kona start line which is a great story. Nico from Challenged Athletes Foundation gets a good shout out here. We also talk about what it was like to be followed by NBC during the race.
Steve's guide in Kona was pro triathlete, Chris Foster. Steve talks about what an amazing pilot Chris is around 35 minutes into the podcast and many other times.
We talk about his whole day in Kona. Steve describes the deep water mass swim start as "quiet chaos."
We talk about transition. Which when you can't see is a lot more complicated.
We talk about the heat and wind and rain on the Kona bike course.
Steve and I talk about the mental aspect of dealing with the heat on the bike and run. We talk about that special nervousness that comes with wondering if you'll make it through an Ironman run. We talk about the help it is to see people we know and love on the run course. Steve gives shout outs to his amazing family, Chris's coach Siri Lindley, Steve's agent Berk Boge and his Computrainer rep who were all there cheering him on.
We talk about the fact that Kona is a once in a lifetime opportunity and making the most of that special event. Steve had other sponsors including Monster Energy Drink and Go Pro.
Endurance athletes are some of the most generous people I know so I know that one thing my listeners want to know is how they can be a resource for athletes like Steve. Two resources for guides and athletes that we discuss are Bicycling Blind and United in Stride.
I think I say "fantastic" about 30 times during this interview. But for me as the host I just loved learning about how Steve and his great team have made his Ironman journey happen. I hope that you too enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed making the interview.
You can follow Steve's adventures on Instagram at SteveWalkerRacing and he has a website. He'll be running the California International Marathon in hopes of running the Boston Marathon. And he was inspired by my interview with Joan Dietchman to aspire to ride RAAM.
Steve, thank you very much for being a guest on the Mile after Mile Podcast and thank you to everybody who listens.
If you love the Mile after Mile Podcast I do hope you'll be so kind as to leave a review on iTunes.
You can find out about Amy's adventures at www.amysaysso.com