The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Pushing athletic limits


For some of us lazy and out-of-shape couch potatoes, we may consider a three lap warm-up during PE class or climbing the set of stairs to 4th floor classrooms a personal marathon. It can be hard to comprehend that some people at our own school actually enjoy swimming, biking, and running at exhausting lengths, but they do.
Mr Pierce, an Upper School math teacher, is also a part-time triathlete. Despite teaching numerous math classes, from Precalculus to Geometry with Proof, he still manages to fit a bunch of training and races into his pocket time throughout the year.
Earlier this year, he completed a rigorous half Ironman in TaiDong. This race, which covered a stunning 113 kilometers, marked the peak of his training.
His passion for running started in his high school years, but it was just a way to get in shape for his upcoming basketball season. “I realized I was a better runner than I was a basketball player,” Mr Pierce says. Triathlons came into the picture in 2011, from sprint triathlons to his current half Ironman mark in 2014.
So, what’s kept him going all this time? Enduring these painful lengths have tested both mental and physical strengths with the extreme weather conditions and unfamiliar race environments that are thrown at him. “Every time I stop, I think, ‘I can’t just stop forever.’ That’s just part of who I am. It’s just something I’ll keep doing. It gives me a sense of purpose and self-discovery.” Mr Pierce also runs for those who can’t: “I know there are people in the world that can’t walk. That’s something I always really think about. Whenever the conditions have been really unpleasant, I was able to stay motivated just to realize that there are people in the world who would love to do things like this but can’t do it.”
Mr Pierce’s running career didn’t just stop after school: “When you start your life after school, you realize what you really care about a lot, and you make time for it.” It’s not unusual to find him fitting in runs late at night or early in the mornings even before sunrise. “It doesn’t matter if it’s hot, if it’s raining, or if it’s thundering and lightning, even if it’s hailing. I just go do it. I make time for it.”
Mr Pierce plans on completing another half Ironman in November at Kenting, and his next goal is to complete a full Ironman of 226 kilometers in 2016.

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