Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 158 - Sore Joints, Errant Errands and USA Triathlon Magazine Feature

July 14, 2013        237.2 lbs

Today I had a brick scheduled, but I rested instead. My joints, specifically my knees were bothering me after the ride yesterday. This is me listening to my body like I'm supposed to and not powering through and ending up injured as usual. I had a bunch of stuff to do with the wife anyways.
I could bore you with the details of all the places we went to however I doubt you will find it very interesting.

A while back I saw this on the USA Triathlon Facebook page.

 As soon as I saw it, I thought of my friend Kevin Tran. A Vietnamese immigrant and Ironman that inspired me to train triathlon.
Here is the e-mail I sent to the magazine. (By the way, they no longer need submissions for this question.)


I would like to tell you about my friend Kevin Tran who I believe is the very first Vietnamese vegan Ironman. (Don't worry, this isn't an agenda piece!)
I have known Kevin for about three years. First meeting him in when I visited his restaurant, Vinh Loi Tofu. We hit it off immediately. Warm an engaging, welcoming and funny. His wit and charm usually catch people off guard at first, only to replace any confusion with the realization that he is laughing with them. For instance, if a customer asks about one of his menu items and says, "Is this good?" Kevin will always reply, "No," Then after waiting an awkward amount of time, just enough to register the confusion on the customers face, he will finish with, "it's excellent."

He was born in Vietnam, and raised during the very tough, post war poverty. Immigrating to the U.S. when he was 20, he quickly set up a  business selling beauty supplies before deciding to open his restaurant in 2002. 

Kevin has competed in triathlons and marathons for the last three years. He trains himself, often helping his friends and acquaintances with their training and showing up at other peoples races just to show support. His daily schedule starts at 4:00 - 4:30am where he gets up and does either his swim, bike or run training, then he's off to do the days shopping and at his restaurant by seven, opening at 9:00am. He will then work for 12-13 hours and often doesn't arrive home until after 10:00 pm only to sleep at midnight and repeat it all over again the next day. He does this seven days a week.

His restaurant is a mecca for athletes, celebrities and the average Joe from all walks of life. He welcomes everyone. And everyone knows what his two passions are. Food and racing. He hangs his medals in his restaurant for everyone to see, creating a unique and positive decor. Kevin's nickname is Tofu Robot.  .  .  I have no idea why. He speaks about his races and his training with ease in a comfortable yet inspiring way. For as long as I have known him, he has spoke of doing Ironman Arizona. In November of 2012, he competed in and finished Ironman Arizona. One of his proudest accomplishments, next to his relationship with his wife and his three daughters. It's hard to not be around him for any length of time, without feeling his enthusiasm rub off on you.  Countless customers have begun racing just because of visiting with him. As a matter of fact, I'm one of those customers whom started racing as well, having done a handful of sprint tri's. Kevin is already talking about me doing an Ironman, saying he will be with me to support whenever I go.

Please consider my friend Kevin.

Michael S. Pack

P.S. I can provide photos if you choose to feature him."

To my surprise, I got a response from Pete Williams at USA Triathlon Magazine telling me they were interested in featuring Kevin! So after a quick phone interview and a last minute scramble to get some pictures, everything was set. We just had to wait. I thought Kevin was going to go bonkers waiting. He would call me up each month and ask when it was coming out. As it got closer, he started calling every week.

Finally, the digital edition of the magazine came out. Kevin called me up excited, "Brother, the magazine came out!"

Click on the cover to go to the digital issue. The article starts on page 38.

© USA Triathlon Magazine 2013
The writer Pete Williams did a great job. He listened to what I told him in the interview and really captured the way Kevin is.

© USA Triathlon Magazine 2013

© USA Triathlon Magazine 2013

I hope you take the time to read the article. Until tomorrow my friends.


  1. Sore joints has always been one of the most serious health problems when it comes to triathlon or even for just running. I'm also into running that's why I always take joint supplements as recommended by our family doctor.

  2. Hi Valerie. Thanks for the info. Normally, I take a high quality MSM supplement and that helps me with any inflammation that I may get. However, the biggest help to my sore joints, especially my bad knees, was changing my diet over to plant based and getting rid of dairy. Night and day difference. Be safe out there.