MedWatch’s IRONMAN Soars in Ultimate Test of Strength
On November 4th, MedWatch Network Administrator Bennett Stiller accomplished a feat worthy of an Avenger when he completed a full IRONMAN triathlon in Panama City Beach. With a time that came in just under 11.5 hours, Bennett finished the 2.5-mile swim, 26.2-mile run, and 112-mile bike ride ahead of 77% of the 1900+ race participants! We’re so proud of Bennett, not only for finishing this ultimate feat of endurance, but for giving us an example of what can be accomplished when you have the tools to improve your health and the determination to make it happen!
Barriers from the Beginning
As recently as 2020, Bennett stayed active playing racquetball and exercising with friends, but COVID threw a wrench in his routine when social distancing became the norm and gyms started closing.
“Once restaurants started opening, going out to eat seemed like one of the only socially acceptable ways to do things with friends in public, so going out to eat unfortunately became the most active thing I was doing,” Bennett said.
To compound the problem, several times a week he was experiencing sharp pains in his lower back. It was so intense that it made even getting out of bed difficult, let alone trying to exercise. Before he knew it, Bennett had gained 30 pounds by summer 2021. He quickly realized something had to change if he was going to get back in shape. After meeting with multiple doctors and briefly considering surgery to fix the problem, a fateful morning bike ride intervened.
Just Keep Pedaling
Quite by chance, Bennett discovered that he could ride his bike without experiencing any pain. It was such a relief that he started to ride more and more and he eventually started going with a group of local cyclists a few times per week. The more miles he got under his belt, the better he felt, which led to his investment in a new road bike in December 2021.
“I found that not only did I not have back pain while cycling, but I had actually gone a few weeks without a bad back day at all,” Bennett said.
Near the end of 2022, the possibility of completing an IRONMAN triathlon creeped into his head. Bennett knew the bike ride wouldn’t be a problem, but he had never done open water swimming, nor had he run much in the past, so the prospect of completing a full marathon on top of everything else was daunting. Still, Bennett accepted the challenge and started training to finish an IRONMAN by the end of 2023, gradually increasing the lengths of his bike rides, swims, and runs.
The Big Day
The adjustment from one sport to three was challenging, but with daily dedication, he was able to accomplish his goal in Panama City Beach at a blistering pace while sporting a custom MedWatch suit! Although he was understandably tired after the race, he couldn’t be more excited about the experience.
“I need a week to be able to move my legs again, but I truly appreciate the support provided by MedWatch and can’t imagine not being part of such a great time. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. A philosophy I take with me through life at home, work and now and IRONMAN,” he said.
Bennett is thankful that he never had to go through with back surgery and all the possible complications it brings. He’s brought his resting heart rate down to the 50s, his blood pressure to normal levels, and quickly lost the 30 pounds he had gained. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Bennett in the future both on the track and as a valuable member of the MedWatch team.
Since 1988, MedWatch has become one of the industries most innovative and respected Population Health Management/Medical Cost Containment companies. By truly partnering with clients, and our employees, then working together to identify the problems that negatively impact plans and plan members, MedWatch solutions help manage medical needs across the healthcare continuum mitigating risk and maximizing clinical and financial outcomes.
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