|04/18/2021||Ironman 70.3 Florida|
|05/15/2021||Ironman 70.3 Gulf Coast|
|09/26/2021||Ironman 70.3 Augusta|
Panama City , Florida | https://www.strava.com/athletes/jonathan_keech
|Primary Discipline(s)||Triathlon, Road Cycling / Criterium, Open Water Swimming, Road Running, Trail Running, Obstacle Racing, Duathlon, Yoga|
|Bucket List Race||Ironman Kona|
|Post-Race Drink||Sprite and orange juice mixed.|
|Off-Day Activity||Spending time with my wife and my dogs.|
I’ve been doing triathlon for three years but have been athletic all my life. I began to lift weights and growing in size over the years putting on bulk. In the Army, I was a Warrant Officer and as an officer I expected my subordinates to put forth maximum effort so I had to put forth more than maximum effort. Upon retirement in November of 2014, I found it unrealistic to maintain the size; it was unhealthy and hard on my body to the point where the VA called me "A walking time bomb" and eventually I was declared 100% disabled. After almost a year of wallowing in self-pity, depression and sleepless nights, I had enough. I got out of bed, found my wife and bluntly told her that I was going to do an Ironman. I knew nothing about it other than it was three sports where an individual did ridiculous distances one after another. I read the rules, watched YouTube videos, and did a lot of self-reflection. Over the next year, I began to change everything about myself including losing eighty pounds, cutting out alcohol, changing the way I eat and my overall approach to life and physical fitness. Every day I was doing something physical, every weekend I was competing in various/any/all events I could find. Then it came, my first Ironman event. I was 41 years old, nervous and questioned myself all the way to the beach that morning. When the cannon went off and the line starting moving there was no turning back. When I entered the water, I was surrounded by hundreds of people but was actually all alone, then when I got on the bike I wanted to catch and pass everyone in front of me, then came the run. I knew I would pass out before I died, comforted by this fact I pushed harder, before I knew it, it was over and I was surrounded by hundreds of people again and my wife was there to put the medal around my neck. That's all she wrote, I was hooked. I had an idea that something was wrong with me physically but no single Doctor in any single field could figure it out. My sixth and fastest Ironman was 2 November 2019, forty-five days later at the age of 42 I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease…I was crushed, absolutely devastated. Parkinson's is a progressive neurological and nervous system disease. Symptoms start gradually advancing at different rates for different people. I struggled with this but have come to see that acceptance doesn’t mean resignation. It means understanding that something “is what it is” and that there is a way through it. On 14 January 2020, Ironman Group contacted me to inform me that I earned All World Athlete SILVER (top five percent) in category. Any excuse I had or could have had, any pity I had for myself, the doubt in my abilities...GONE. I can do it and I can do better even with my "handicap". Now, I have a mission. To eliminate the excuse, to inspire the down and those who believe they are out. I am now 43 years old; a 100% Disabled Veteran with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease AND I am an All World Athlete...what's your excuse. I am the normal, average guy that has not been blessed with extraordinary skills, talent or abilities but I am determined to endeavor and persevere.
I do it ONE stroke, ONE revolution, ONE step at a time. That’s the way I am going to live the rest of my days, that’s the way I am going to handle anything and everything that is thrown my way. Follow my lead.
The Pandemic pretty much put my 2020 season on hold as I was not going to risk my or my family’s health. 2020 was rolled to 2021 and great things are going to happen.