From the start line to the finish line, your family is with you. ‘Ohana means family, but not just the one you were born into. The ones who push you when you’re emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. The ones who train beside you, take on that climb, endure that pain. The people who support you, fuel you and prime you to take on a goal you may not feel strong enough to complete. The ones who celebrate with you at the finish line, even if they’re half way across the world.
With the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championships around the corner, we’re thrilled to welcome 9 athletes into our ‘Ohana. Each has their own unique story and journey in getting to Kona but their focus, dedication, ambition and effort for training to complete this iconic race is the same. Without further ado, please give a warm Kona-bound welcome to the Vega Team!
David Wild /// @wilddavidwild
Local Kona resident and long-time Vega user David Wild is gearing up for the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship. When asked how he fuels for race day, he said: “The night before is simple carbs and protein like quinoa, mixed beans, and avocado burrito. In the morning it’s oats with not as many ingredients as normal. I’ll eat a few Vega Sport® Energy Bites (link: https://myvega.com/products/vega-sport-energy-bites?variant=16809105653803&flavor=coconut-cashew-butter&size=pouch) throughout the morning as I get to the race start and drink water with electrolytes. I’ll start the ride with solid food and eventually work my way to gel and liquid type fuel as I get towards the run. Caffeine is my best friend on race day.”
Cody Beals /// @cody.beals
Cody Beals is a professional triathlete based in Guelph, Ontario who started triathlon in his late teens. Most recently his resume includes capturing his third consecutive title at IRONMAN Mont Tremblant. Cody prides himself in taking an evidence-based, data-driven approach to training and racing. When we asked him which Vega Sport® product he couldn’t live without, he said, “I love the Vega Sport® Protein Bars (link: https://myvega.com/collections/protein-bars/products/vega-sport-protein-bar-1?variant=10596439490603&flavor=crispy-mint-chocolate&size=box-of-12-12-servings)! I’d often find my energy levels crashing after a long double or triple workout at the pool and gym. I stash these bars in my gym bag to kick-start the recovery process and make my commute home a lot more pleasant.”
He’s now set to make his Ironman World Championships debut in Hawaii next month, so be sure to check out his blog, where he documents his journey to becoming a world-class professional triathlete. (link: https://www.codybeals.com/about/).
Ashley Zaccaro /// @ashleyczac
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Ashley Zaccaro is a plant-based athlete competing in her very first IRONMAN World Championship. Ashley is a representative of Women for Tri (link: https://ironmanfoundation.org/women-for-tri/), an organization who works to identify and eliminate barriers that keep more women from entering triathlons. When we asked her what competing in IRONMAN represents for her, she said: “It represents that the harder the struggle, the greater the joy. I feel like life has given me this giant pain tolerance, and triathlon gives it a purpose.”
Joe Gambles /// @joegambles
Plant-based athlete Joe Gambles is an Australian professional triathlete now located in Denver, Colorado. He races ultra and triathlon events and is now preparing to race the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championship at Kona. He’s been a long-time Vega user, and when we asked what Vega product he could not live without, he said “Vega Sport® Premium Protein. It is my go-to drink after my key workout of the day. I just mix one scoop with cold water and shake and I know that I am getting everything I need to help me recover quickly. As a life-long vegetarian, making the transition to purely plant-based wasn’t a huge leap. Little did I know that cutting dairy and eggs from my diet would have an enormously positive effect on my performance and recovery as a professional Ironman triathlete.”
Michael McDonald + Thad Betty /// @musicthatmoves @konacares
Michael McDonald is another of our plant-based athletes, located in Brooklyn, New York and coached by former triathlete, Thad Beatty. During downtime, when he’s not training for his very first Vega IRONMAN World Championship, he also produces music. When asking Michael what competing in IRONMAN represents for him, he said: “IRONMAN and triathlons represent dedication, versatility, and drive. At a certain level, it’s not possible to phone it in. Everyone at the start of an IRONMAN triathlon has put in the time. I need something on my calendar to keep me honest. No one wants to be standing on the shore, looking at the water before the start, feeling unprepared. Problems may arise, but I like knowing that I am trained to finish the race.
Michael Gebrael ///
Michael Gebrael is the President and CEO of Vega and has fully integrated into the Vegatopian lifestyle after joining the team; he’s a fearless leader, father, husband, and an IRONMAN triathlete. This year Michael will be checking one big item off his bucket list and competing in the Vega IRONMAN World Championship. Nutrition is a key aspect of Michael’s IRONMAN training and when asked about his post-workout routine, he said; “I always have a nutrient-dense, plant-based smoothie with Vega® protein powder, blueberries, strawberries, spinach, hemp seeds, chia seeds, dates and a frozen banana. And after a long run or bike ride, Vega Sport® Recovery is a must!”
Team Liza ///
Beth Hodges, her husband James, and her daughter Eliza James make up the inspirational ‘Team Liza.’ With the support of their family, sponsors and the local community, Team Liza is preparing to compete in their very first Vega IRONMAN World Championship.
In 2004, Beth and her daughters were involved in an accident, and Liza suffered an injury that changed their lives forever. Encouraged initially by an IRONMAN team in a similar situation, Beth and Eliza have been competing in triathlon as a means of recovery, inspiration, and happiness.
Beth and Liza James are ambassadors for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and IRONMAN athletes. Their inspirational journey to Kona is all about motivating others to live life to its fullest.
No matter what you train for, we can all relate to the amount of tenacity required to take on a physical, mental, and emotional challenge like IRONMAN. To say we’re proud of what these athletes have accomplished this far in their journey would be an understatement. With only X days remaining until the 2019 Vega IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, we’re supporting ‘Team Liza’ as they ready themselves for one of the most challenging races of their lives.
To stay connected with all of our athletes, follow them on Instagram and catch each of them sharing their training and nutrition tips, best spots in Kona, and much more on the Vega’s channels over the next few weeks!