781 606-1339

Breakaway Triathlon and Cycling

Tim Oakes

Honestly…..by purely random circumstances. At the beginning of

2013 I was WAAYYY too heavy and seriously out of shape. At my

max….I was (embarrassingly) pushing 290 pounds. So, I decided

to make a change. I changed what ate and started running. In

2013, I ran at least three miles every single day…for the entire

year. I ran my first running race in April 2013…..followed by my

first marathon in 2014 (Boston)…..my first triathlon in 2014

(Boxford Call to Honor)……..and quickly evolved to thinking I could

do a full Ironman…without really considering the fact that I could

not swim.

What has been your biggest challenge? Biggest “challenge(s)” in a

tough one to answer. Like everyone else….I think it comes down

to three main struggles: available training time, maintaining focus

and maintaining commitment. I believe most of you know my

story. Several months after I started my big life style change in

2013, my wife was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer.

Obviously that placed a totally different spin on priorities and

time commitments, compounded by the fact that we have four

active young girls “somewhere” between the ages of 18 and 12.

Since I have started, time has been a premium for me. I don’t

have a lot of it….so I have had to balance work/life, training and

racing commitments. Good news is, while incredibly hectic and

tiring, it keeps my life “somewhat” structured and keeps me out

of trouble…….mostly.

What has motivated you the most? FEAR. Probably not the

answer most triathletes will give. When I started down this path I

used my overall health fear as a means of motivation. When my

wife was diagnosed, I used my training to temporarily escape my

fears and to release stress. Now I use my training to try and

maintain some sense of balance and normalcy in my life. It has

not been easy and I have found myself struggling more and more

everyday over the past year. But….FEAR is a good motivator. I

know that I am stealing this quote off from

somewhere…..but…..there are two options in life when someone

has fear. The choices are either to “Fear Everything and Run” or

to “Fear Everything and Rise.” I try to use the later as my


What is the most rewarding part of training and

racing? Triathletes are a very close knit community. This sport is

full of incredible and unique people. Being able to socially

interact with everyone is by far the most rewarding aspect of

being a part of the “triathlon racing community. Being able to

interact with athletes, their families and their friends. When I

showed up to my first road race in 2013, I did not know too many

people at the event. Fast forward to today and I can show up at a

race and know a million people that are there. For someone that

is not a “social” person by design…..that is pretty amazing.

Everyone has a story….everyone has a goal….a reason….etc. The

fact that I can participate and share in that is incredible.

Do you have a specific diet? I did……I was pretty committed to it

for three years and managed my weight down to comfortable

level. I try incorporate eggs, salmon, meat, broccoli, asparagus,

strawberries and blueberries (and an occasional beer….or two…..)

into my diet.

What do your daughters think about your racing and triathlon

achievements? This is funny. When I did my first race….the

whole family went. It was cause for a great celebration. Race

#2…..they all went…but it was just barely tolerated. By race #3….I

was on my own…they all had better things to do that to stand

around and wait for me to finish! While I joke about it….they do

enjoy it and being a part of it. The strange part is I am starting to

see my daughters become interested in running (as they now fight

for time on the treadmill at night) and my youngest has even

asked if she can hook her bike up to one of the CompuTrainers at

Beakaway! (Wait…I think I just found the next idea at

Breakaway…..kids bike open ride!!)

Has training and racing changed your lifestyle? If yes,

how? Definite yes. While I no longer have ANY free time during

my daily routine….it has forced me to be more structured and

more active. I can’t go out at night and be crazy as I did in my

younger days. Not knowing that I have to get up at 6:30AM for a

swim class, bike class, etc. God I wish I had discovered triathlons

when I was younger. I would be in way better shape (…..know

how to swim)….and have so much more money! Wait….no I

wouldn’t….I would still be broke…but on the bright side I would

own at least 6 more bikes.

Do you have a bucket list of events? This is really Part 2 to the

“What motivates you Question.” Everyone has bucket list events.

It’s just that other people are probably more sane and logical in

their event selections than I am. One of the things that motivates

me is that I hate failure. If I sign up for an event, then the last

thing I want to do it not finish it. So, my list of events motivates

me to stick to training. My bucket list of events has been a sliding

scale. Check off one…..add another. My list started with running

the Boston Marathon. From there it moved on to completing a

full Ironman. From there it went to trying to run the World’s Six

Major Marathons. To date I have completed 5 of the 6 (with only

Tokyo left on the bucket list). Next up….I am toying with the idea

of trying to run the 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days.

BUT…that is a pipe dream………however…..it is something that I

think about! If I could only find someone insane enough to humor

me and be interested in doing it!!

Anything else that you would like to add? Overall, I think the best

part of being a part of this group is the people itself. EVERYONE I

have met, trained with, etc. has been incredibly open and helpful.

I started this adventure a little over 4 years ago and I didn’t know

the first thing about running, biking or swimming. And the reality

is, while I have made progress in each discipline (well….except for

swimming), I still don’t truly know what I am doing. But…no one

seems to mind or is judgmental. The group seems to pretty much

accept people as they are. I think all that really matters is if you

show up.