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Human Interest Feature

BABC Board Member and Ironman Champion, Todd Sturza: What it takes to be a winner – perseverance, attitude, strength and support!

Todd Sturza, BABC Co-Vice President Membership, and Managing Director and Team Leader, National Corporate Banking, TD Bank, N.A. Corporate Banking USA, is the BABC’s very own Ironman Champion!  If you attended the BABC 20th Anniversary Holiday Luncheon you had the unique opportunity to meet and hear from Quadruple Ironman Champion and Current World Record-Holder for the fastest time for all Ironman-distance races, Chrissie Wellington.  The inspirational discussion and slide show Chrissie presented provided just a glimpse into the reality of what it takes to be an Ironman – discipline, perseverance, motivation and physical and mental strength.

Similar to Chrissie, Todd was “sporty” as a child, but did not grow-up doing triathlons.  Todd always played sports as a kid and played soccer in college.  However, less than ten years ago, when Todd was injured playing in an adult soccer league, he developed an interest in triathlon – running, biking and swimming.  Triathlons combine three different sporting events of different distances.  “Ironman” is a brand owned by the World Triathlon Corporation and refers to a triathlon distance.  A Full Ironman is a: 2.4 mile swim; 112 mile bike; and 26.2 mile run.  A Half Ironman or 70.3 race is a: 1.2 mile swim; 56 mile bike; and 13.1 mile run.  An Olympic triathlon is a: .93 mile swim; 24.86 mile bike; and 6.21 mile run.  Sprint triathlon distances vary, but a typical event consists of a: .3 mile swim; 14 mile bike; and 3.2 mile run.

Growing up, Todd enjoyed watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports and in 1982 while watching the Ironman broadcast, Julie Moss, the women’s race leader collapsed twice within 440 yards of the finish line and ultimately finished second.  This left a burning image of how far people will push their minds and bodies to accomplish something.  As a driven and ambitious adult he decided he would challenge himself to try the Ironman.  Todd’s friends and his supporters at Cycle Sports, his local bike shop, encouraged him to get into triathlon and to train for the Sprint distance, and to slowly work his way up to the Full Ironman distance.  Since May 2007 Todd trains 9-10 months during the triathlon season with his A race, Ironman Lake Placid, at the end of July.  He does several events per year, running half or full marathons, distance swims and Olympic, Sprint or Half triathlons, etc. but keeps his goal set on completing Ironman Lake Placid.  This year marks Todd’s sixth triathlon season.  During an interview, Todd stated “It’s highly addictive.  Once you get into it you are driven to compete against yourself and improve your time.”

Training for Ironman is without a doubt, a lifestyle, not just a hobby.  Todd is very focused on being healthy and feeling fit.  He trains six days a week during the season to be in optimum shape for his “A” race in Lake Placid.  According to Todd, “Anyone can do an Ironman.  You just need to have the mental strength to overcome pain, and be committed to your training.”  During his peak weeks Todd trains 20-22 hours per week.  His weekend workouts tend to be longer and he varies what he does each day, running, biking or swimming, in additional to yoga and massage to relax and strengthen mind and body.

Being an Ironman has made Todd a more successful businessman. “You learn a lot about yourself training for and competing in Ironman and how to overcome adversity.  During the second half of the marathon, you have to really dig deep into your soul; it’s where you find out what you’re made of and who you really are.”  His training and racing has instilled in him a greater sense of confidence; belief in himself; the ability to better negotiate difficult client situations; and to have more patience when faced with adversity.  Todd is able to think fast and be resourceful throughout many aspects of his life.  He has learned to see the big picture and is accountable and motivated.  TD Bank clients and colleagues are supportive of his lifestyle.  They share in his success and he has helped motivate other people.

In order to maintain this rigorous lifestyle Todd wakes-up very early to start his day, and manage his workouts.  Living a healthy lifestyle requires keeping your body in good shape – sleeping and trying to eat well.  Todd tries to keep his professional and personal lives in balance to train for Ironman.  “You definitely need to have support from your family and co-workers, they are your team and help keep you motivated.”  In his own words: “It’s all worth it!  I derive a lot of positive energy from training and getting my body into the best shape possible.  I feel invincible when I am at my peak fitness level before Ironman.  And the feeling and sense of accomplishment when you cross the finish line is priceless.”

Todd’s demanding work schedule includes traveling throughout various times zones each week.  Even on the road he tries to make time to get to the nearest gym to squeeze in a workout before hopping on the next flight to meet with clients.  His wife just finished her first half marathon and his youngest child joined the Doylestown Kids Triathlon Club this year, competing in two triathlons.  Dedication of this magnitude is definitely a family affair.  Todd “plans his work and works his plan” to keep motivated and on-track in both his personal and professional endeavors.  Congratulations Todd!  The BABC is lucky to have such an accomplished and dedicated athlete – good luck training for Lake Placid.

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