Matthew Kwarta is this week’s Athlete of the Week!
Matthew has been training with Endorphin Fitness for the past seven seasons. His fitness journey began at 287 pounds, relaxing on the beach when his friend’s wife suggested doing a triathlon with her. After watching an inspirational video of Rick and Dick Hoyt, a few laughs, and some encouraging words from friends, Matthew committed to triathlon. Next February, they began training. On his first run, he made it a ¼ mile downhill and thought he was going to die! Matthew sat down, utterly frustrated with himself. Throughout high school he had been a 4 sport athlete, how could he be sitting here on the side of the road unable to breathe? It was that moment Matthew made a promise to himself that he would never be on the side of the road a quarter-mile into a run gasping for air.
After speaking with friends and coaches, Matthew decided joining Endorphin Fitness would be a good move. He realized he loved being a part of the team and the rest is history. That May after his ¼ mile revelation, Matthew completed his first triathlon, a PowerSprint just one week after his daughter was born. Crossing that finish line changed Matthew completely. He had never felt that feeling before in any athletic endeavor, even throughout his four sports in high school. Since that first triathlon, Matthew has done every triathlon distance from sprint to Ironman.
His favorite race experience was crossing the finish line at Ironman Florida and realizing what he had just accomplished. It wasn’t just crossing the finish line, but it was training for the race that makes this race his favorite. The group that he was training with had a special bond that will never be replaced. There weren’t all good times; Matthew was very disappointed when the swim was cancelled at Ironman Maryland.
After Maryland, Matthew took the season off. He had a busy year coming up outside the sport, and his wife and two girls took priority. They sacrificed a lot during the last year (over the last seven), so he wanted to do all the things he hadn’t been able to do the year before. Matthew wakes up with them on Saturday mornings, spends time in the evenings eating dinner, and dedicates the entire weekend to his family. However, for the upcoming season, Matthew plans his comeback and plans on achieving a higher fitness level. He plans on an early season marathon to keep him motivated during the winter and to come into the season with a solid run base. After that, Matthew has his eye on Ironman NC 70.3 in October.
After seven seasons with Endorphin Fitness, Matthew’s ability to “Be More” stems from changing his perception of limits. He experienced how physical “limits” could be smashed time and time again. This transferred into his day-to-day life. Being a husband, being a father, it can all be pushed, stretched, and driven towards an unknown limit.
Matthew reminds beginners, “Have FUN! Don’t go out there with the expectation of some crazy time goal. The first race should be about celebrating. Celebrate the fact that you made the start line. Spend the race reflecting on how far you have come. Absorb the finish line and soak it up. There is no other FIRST time finish line so enjoy every second.”