About Me

M
y name is Pablo Fuente.

Quick summary: I am a man in love with his wife, step father of two boys, 2x Ironman Hawaii finisher and marathoner. I love endurance sports and long distance triathlon in particular.

I live in Brussels, but I was born in Madrid on July 20, 1973 the same day that Bruce Lee passed away, he was just 32 years old.

I am not sure why, but since I was young I have been fascinated by his figure, I’ve always found some similarities between our lives. He was coming from a large family like me. He faced a big injury that paralyzed him for six months, I dealt with Perthes disease when I was 5. I spent quite a lot of time in a wheel chair, using crunches, orthotics and plaster casts in both legs. He believed in discipline as the only way to succeed in life, and so do I!

The early days

He was a person devoted to training, something I only started doing  recently, in fact not so long ago (end of 2006). I used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day at that time and the only “exercise” I was practicing during weekends was binge drinking.

One day everything exploded, I had a panic attack that changed my life. I lived with that condition for more than 3 years facing, on average, 2 attacks a day. I was convinced I will never be able to get over it and I desperately searched for solutions, always avoiding medication, and ended up doing psychological therapy. Did it work?, yes. Why it worked? a combination of an excellent professional, lots of hard work…and more discipline.

My therapist obliged me to start doing some exercise, not because of improving my physical condition, but as a way to deal with my obsession about  heart beats and pulse. I still recall the day I started  “footing”, I came back home after running 200 mts, panting, exhausted…that day I saw a ray of light, I promised myself  I will run a Marathon in less than one year, my friends laughed at me.

I needed to overcome my internal fears, believe in me again… running was only a part of it. I travelled to the Himalayas and climbed 10 mountains above 5.000 mts. (16400 feet) in 3 weeks. It was not a technical climbing but a high level trekking, tough enough to make me feel proud again.

Within one year I trained almost every day and I became a runner…in April 2007 I crossed the finish line of Madrid Marathon in less than 4 hours, it was my first race ever. I cannot explain the mix of emotions in my head at that time…that was the day I felt in love with distance running. In 2008 I ran the New York Marathon (my Personal Record to date: 3 hours and 33 minutes).

My less than perfect body has always given me lots of hard times because of big imbalances caused by the Perthes condition. I have had several injuries in my knees (5 operations to date), shins and back. Injuries are part of my life, I guess they are part of this game, but sometimes the could bring wonderful things…

I was planning to run Chicago Marathon in 2009 but had a stress fracture in my shin 3 weeks before the race. I wanted to run anyway but my doctor didn’t allow me to…and I started swimming while recovering; then I thought “why don’t I try the triathlon?”…before I responded to the question I already signed up for a half Ironman (also called Ironman 70.3 since the race consist of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike and a 13.1 mile run). I had less than 6 months in front of me before the Antwerp Ironman 70.3 2010, I knew how to swim, but I was not a swimmer (so i took lessons to improve)…I also knew how to ride a bike, but I never did for more than 20 km.

In March 2010 I decided to participate in the Ironman World Championship lottery program, I knew it would be impossible to get a slot, but I won. I just couldn’t believe my luck, chances were almost null…my wife and I were crying in front of the computer screen dreaming about being in Hawaii and crossing that finish line.

I intensified my training, now I was facing additional pressure since athletes who are selected through the Ironman Lottery must have completed an Ironman or Ironman 70.3 event within one year of the competition to validate the lottery slot. I couldn’t fail in Antwerp half Ironman, I was obliged to finish it under 8 hours.

I never did a triathlon before, so I became a bit obsessed about training, I was so scared!..from average runner to long distance triathlete in less than one year, sounded too challenging.

In July 2010 I crossed the finish line of Antwerp Ironman 70.3 in 5 hours and 3 minutes, much better than expected, I also got my stamp for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

El Mundo, the world’s most widely read journal in Spanish, interviewed me before the race. Nieuwsblad, a popular Belgium journal, also covered my story.

From July to October I trained like crazy, and on October 9th 2010 I became an Ironman, a dream. You can read all about it in the races & training page.

Glorius day

2 months after IM Hawaii 2010 I faced a double surgery on my knees, 5th time…I was trying to keep a positive attitude about the recovery, psyched that 2011 will be a lost year in sporting terms.

 

Recovery went well and I was able to start exercising again by the summer, even ran the Brussels Half Marathon in October with a decent finish time.

I was determined to come back to long distance triathlon in 2012, and so I did. I participated in the Ironman 70.3 Rapperswill (Switzerland) and had the chance to participate again in the Ironman World Championship in Kona (Hawaii) in October 13th, 2012. Despite the super tough conditions I managed to slice more than 1 hour my personal record in the Ironman distance, you can read the race report here. In 2014 I completed one of the toughest Ironmans in the world, Lanzarote and it was an incredible experience. In 2015 I started working with a new coach, Jaime Menéndez de Luarca, and he has taught me that I could go further and faster…and it has paid off!, I qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Australia 2016 in Ironman Lanzarote 70.3 2015.

Now that you know me a bit better, I will conclude by saying that I am just just a normal guy, one with a passion for life in general and endurance sports in particular. I am not gifted with a great body but with a brain capable of overcome any difficulty, just like you. There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t…what you’ve got to do is turn around and say “watch me”. If you arrived to this page because you are suffering panic attacks I’ll just say this: you can overcome anxiety, you are not crazy or mentally ill, don’t be afraid to talk about it and take action. I hope my story can help you to realize that there is always a solution. If you need my support do not hesitate to write me.

I intend to share my thoughts with you through this website, but I do want to hear about you, your story, your motivation…

Thanks for sharing your journey!

Pablo