Hello everyone, today we have with us professional triathlete & 2016 Olympic hopeful Lukas Verzbicas. Many of you have heard that on July 31st Lukas was involved in a catastrophic cycling accident, he lost control of his bike, tried to brake and went straight into a barrier. He suffered various injuries and was told he may not walk again, against all odds, Lukas is now training full-time and making his way towards Rio. If you do not know who he is, please stay tuned and witness him while he does the “impossible”.
I am going to speak with Lukas, find out how his recovery is coming, when his return to triathlon could be, and get to know him better.
Danny Duncan: The accident you were involved in was horrible to hear about let alone go through. What key principles did you learn from this experience? Also, what advice can you give to someone who may suffer a similar accident in the future?
Lukas Verzbicas: “I learned too much to list in a few sentences but primarily I learned to appreciate life more knowing how quickly and unexpectedly it could be taken away from you. I also learned and would pass this along to someone who is also going through an injury is to believe in themselves and have faith no matter what the circumstances or others say. My doctors said I wouldn’t walk after seeing my first x-rays and now I’m back to training full time. I didn’t let all that get to me and believed the entire time I will be back.”
Many people have heard you are making tremendous progress, when do you plan on racing again?
“1st Elite Triathlon is set for early Spring 2013, might get in some running road races or low tier tris before.”
How is everything looking for the 2016 Olympics? Do you feel your cycling accident will help you in the long run mentally, dealing with the pain to compete and beat the best in the world?
“Everything looks clearly well set. I have a great foundation and support to be at the top. The cycling accident no matter how terrible it might seem is helping me in the long run. I learned plenty of lessons through it that I would have never realized in my everyday life.”
What will it mean to you to represent the USA in the 2016 Olympics..if everything goes as planned?
“It is a tremendous honor and a dream come true!”
Talk a little about competing in triathlon as a kid and competing now, who did you look up to back then and how does it feel having fans supporting you and looking up to you now?
“I had the same competitive spirit at 11 as I do now. In my first 5k road race at that time without any training I ran with the leaders for 2 miles before collapsing and finishing up the race walking it in with my dad. Pre has always been my hero, Without Limits has always been my favorite film. When I just started training I was so obsessed with the movie I would watch it multiple times a day I could never get enough of it. So being as inspired as I was, training and the desire to win were the only things I wanted and needed in my life doing nothing else really and with hard work and commitment no matter who you are or what you do you will get results. I’ve had supporters young and old from the first days of my athletic career and they have been driving me to succeed ever since. I really appreciate them all and from all their help I really want to help them too and inspire them all to follow their dreams.”
What is a typical day for lukas verzbicas?
“November 16th 2012: wake up 6:20am drink Herbalife Formula 1 sport shake while getting dressed, get out and go for a 10k morning run with other triathletes at around 6:45 pace along with drills and stretching. 8am breakfast. Nap for around an hour at noon and work on some online college classes until 3:45pm. 4pm 5 mile run at 6 minute mile pace on antigravity treadmill 90% body weight. 4:45pm lift weights and work on core strength for an hour. 6pm 90 minute swim session 5k working on endurance.”
Describe to me your hardest training day you’ve completed?
“This is a hard one I had many of those. I guess if I had to pick one from the top of my head it has to be one of the major brick (run-bike) sessions I do in the summer. The training starts at 8am on an old Colorado country road by a church that has dirt running trails in its backyard with a group of other elite triathletes. We do a 12 mile bike warmup with some pick ups and then run a few miles for warm up. The brick distance is a short 5k all out bike followed by a 2k all out run. We do this 6 times working on speed endurance and the technicality of transitions since before we get on our bikes were in push up position and have to get our bikes and helmets like in T1. We cool down with a 5k easy spin. The evening session is a 4-5k easy swim with a lot of drills.”
What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment so far as a triathlete. And runner?
“My consistency to be so successful in both sports.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“Training in some exotic resort in Europe”
2013 is right around the corner, what should we expect to see from you?
“Wait and see I’m a man full of surprises”
Alright man, I am going to throw at you some questions, just reply with the first thought that comes to mind!
Dream car: “Audi R8 spyder”
Favorite food: “Stuffed with everything Omelette”
Running: “Flying down the track”
Olympics: “Gold Medal”
Brownlee Brothers: “Respect”
World champion: “Rainbow colored world champion cycling jersey”
Florida? “Shirtless running”
Carl Sandburg High School? “First Love ;)”
2012 Olympics: “The tiny TV In my hospital room I watched it all on.”
2013: “Everyone’s jaw dropping experiencing my return.”
Triathlon: “Finish line tape”
Music: “Lonely long run”
NFL: “Memory of being tackled as kid by a much bigger guy while playing backyard football and having my nose broken.”
Now we are going to do “This or That”
BMW or Mercedes: “Beamer”
Swimming or Cycling: “Running… Jk cycling”
Ironman Kona or ITU: “ITU… For now”
McDonald’s or BK: “McDonald’s”
V-Neck or turtle neck: “V neck”
Nike or Adidas: “I like Asics a lot”
Baseball or Football: “Football”
Twitter or Facebook: “Twitter”
Summer or Fall: “Summer”
Thanks a lot for joining us Lukas! We all appreciate it.
LV: “No problem, thanks for having me.”
I want to wish Lukas the best on his return! I only see amazing things happening, stay inspired and win the gold in 2016. I’ll always be here supporting you along with everyone else, stay strong! – Danny
Follow Lukas on Twitter: @LukasVerzbicas
Thanks for reading! Follow me for more @DannyDuncanPT