Kenny Souza at Powerman Zofingen

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Kenny Souza was one of the first real stars of multisport. He was the rock star of Duathlon, with his long flowing hair and neon yellow bikini brief shorts. Kenny was a great competitor in the 80s and 90s winning eight National Duathlon championships and one World Duathlon championship. He was once on the cover of Runner’s World. His ?Kenny Kaboom? photo on the cover of Competitor Magazine was just listed as their fifth favorite cover shot out of their 200 issues.

Kenny last raced in 1999. He then got his first ?real job’ working for Clif Bar as their Southern California rep. Suddenly, he was a working man with two kids and all the personal life changes that a divorce entails. Kenny put his training on a back burner, but continued to live the good life (his favorite recovery drink was always a Corona). His fitness slowly faded and his weight went from 130 lbs to 165 lbs.

Luckily in June, Kenny was hit with a perfect storm. In his case, it was a good thing! His personal life was finally stabilizing. He was about to start a three month paid sabbatical and he was tired of everyone calling him fat. Clif Bar had entered the 24 hour Corporate Challenge at RAAM starting on June 19. Company owner Gary Erickson himself was going to ride on the team and asked Kenny to be on the team.

Kenny only had a few weeks to get ready. He hooked up with Paul Thomas, a former pro duathlete and current bike racer and they began some serious epic training. They left from San Diego for a long one way 175 mile ride, and the next morning they got up and biked back home. They kept up the long training. Kenny was on sabbatical now and had the time to train all day and plenty of time to recover.

June 19th rolled around and Team Clif Bar won the 24 hour Corporate Challenge. They rode 493 miles from San Diego to Flagstaff in under 24 hours and averaged over 21 miles per hour! Next, Kenny bought a motor home, loaded up his son and took a road trip to Boulder where they stayed a month and did some serious training (600 mile bike weeks at altitude). Now feeling fit and back down to race weight of 130 lbs, he heard about a race he had fun doing in the past – Powerman Zofingen – on August 21The race director was excited he called and agreed to put him up for a week and scheduled press interviews.

What’ll happen next? Stay tuned.

Below is Jay Cech’s interview with Kenny Souza

JC. Great to see you back training. What made you decide to start again?

KS. I missed the feeling of being fit. I missed that feeling of working hard and feeling your body respond and get stronger. After personal life issues, I started training to lose some weight and lose that feeling of being a slug. I really like feeling fit. As I trained more and more, I had some monster bike weeks and good runs I began feeling better and better about myself and decided I wanted a test. I remembered Zofingen was coming up and gave the race director a call. They were very interested in me coming and racing. Things just worked out.

That race had always given me trouble. I did good in my first four races, but my last three races there were some of my worst as a pro. I was basically a sprint racer doing mostly 5K/30K/5K races and just never seemed to get the training and nutrition right for that race (other than the first time there, when I won the race). Since my training has been all endurance focused, I think I’ll be ready this time.

JC. You have a busy life now with a full time job and two kids. How are you going to fit in training after this sabbatical is over? Any advice for other busy multisport athletes?

KS. This sport is just too time consuming! It’s unbelievable. I am only biking and running. I cannot imagine fitting in swimming too. You become a master at multitasking.

I try and get my kids out with me in some of my training and have fun. My daughter Shanoah will ride a moped with me while I run, or if I am only doing a 30-minute easy run off the bike I get both Dalton & Shanoah out there too, they both have the running gene in them that’s for sure. I’m trying to expose them to activities and see how they like them. My son just did his first duathlon last week. He kicked butt, won his age group and had a blast. In the same race, my daughter did a relay with a Paul Thomas and they took 3rd in the mixed relay!

I think both of my kids have seen me and how important to my personal well being just feeling fit and being active is to me. I think they want to do that too. They don’t just want to sit around and watch TV.

JC. Any advice to our readers?

KS. Don’t be afraid to go train hard! You need to do some ?epic? type workouts where the workout sounds humongous, but you do it and you break through that barrier. Then you know you can do more than you ever thought possible. I just did a 210 mile bike/1 hour run brick. That seemed crazy a month ago, but I did it and now Zofingen doesn’t seem like it’ll be too bad.

You’ve got to make some sacrifices to get in shape (and stay in shape). Some things have to slide, but the feeling of being fit and being in shape carries over to all aspects of your life. You eat better, you sleep better and you watch all the little things you do.

It’s a great lifestyle, even if you never do any racing. I never really left multisport because of my job with Clif Bar. But I’m glad to be back and fit again!

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