Q&A with Timothy O’Donnell
Q&A with Timothy O’Donnell
${ mainCategoryTag }

Q&A with Timothy O’Donnell

Q&A with Timothy O’Donnell

We’re proud to introduce one of our newest ambassadors, Timothy O’Donnell, aka TO. O’Donnell is a professional long-course triathlete with many podium finishes and major event wins, including the 2009 ITU Long Distance World Champion title, on his resume. He recently finished in second place at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. O’Donnell, a former naval officer, currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, three-time Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae, and their daughter, Izzy. Welcome to the AfterShokz family, Tim!

 

AfterShokz: Tell us about yourself, TO.

Tim: Well, these days I think I’m best known as Izzy’s dad! I’ve been a lifelong athlete, a competitive swimmer since the age of five, and a triathlete since my college days at the US Naval Academy. I fell in love with the personal challenges triathlon presents and have been trying to solve the puzzle of the perfect race ever since. Along the way I met my wife, I won a few races, and now we travel the world together with our daughter, Izzy, still racing fast and having fun, too! 

 

AfterShokz: Not only did you nail a podium finish in Kona, but you also finished in a personal course-best time of 7:59:40. At what point in the race did you realize that you might be able to break eight hours on the infamous Ironman Kona course?

Tim: Breaking eight hours in Kona has always been a dream of mine. I thought I missed my chance last year (I went 8:03) when we had absolute perfect conditions. This year, the swim was rough and the bike was windy; I honestly didn’t think this would be a sub-eight year. When I hit the run course I saw the clock said 5:09:50 and thought, “You can break eight but you are gonna have to run sub 2:50!” I hadn’t run that fast in Kona before but I just went to work and started running. I actually didn’t even think about it again until the last 1200 meters when someone told me I could do it if I kept up my pace. I tried to soak up the crowd and grab the American flag all while not slowing down…. I hit the finish carpet, saw the clock, and knew I was going to make this dream a reality!

 

AfterShokz: You’ve had some pretty major obstacles thrown at you this year. Tell us about those and how you overcame them to get to the start line in Kona. 

Tim: This year has definitely been a tough one! I was in a pretty bad bike crash in March and broke a bunch of ribs. That set me back quite a bit in the early season and I missed four or five races. Then, seven weeks before Kona, I rolled my ankle on a run and broke my foot. On top of that, my wife broke her elbow two weeks later. We were what you might call a hot mess! I took a few weeks off of running—I was in a boot—and started aqua jogging… a lot. I was OK to swim and ride, and after another couple weeks was able to get on the zero gravity treadmill, which was a huge help. I actually only ran on the pavement four or five times before the race. While getting the body healthy was a big task, keeping my mind in the right headspace was a big challenge, too. There were days when I didn’t want to train because I was sure I wouldn’t make it to the start line, days when I thought, “What’s the point?” But I always tried to