Fearless Friends- Doug MacLean
I've decided to start a reoccurring blog post featuring my inspiring friends. Not to brag, but some of my friends are doing some really incredible stuff. I wanted to feature them because they're an inspiration to me, so I thought they might be an inspiration to some of you.... Also, this is my blog so I can write about whatever I want.
But seriously, I think it's great to be reminded by my friends that you should chase your dreams, whether that's changing careers, tackling a huge project, teaching yourself something new, or just trying something that previously scared you. That's what these blog posts will be about.
So, the first fearless friend that I'm featuring (oh man do I love alliteration) is my friend Doug MacLean. Doug is a professional triathlete. Yeah, you read that right. Doug does Iron Mans (Iron Men?) for a living. In case you don't know, an Ironman is an insane physical challenge where people willingly swim 2.4 miles, then do a 112 mile bike ride and then top it off with a 26.2 mile run. Or what they call "a nice little Saturday".
I often think of Doug when I'm trying to encourage myself to take the stairs from the 26th floor to the 32nd floor at work, so in that way, Doug has been an inspiration for me. Also, more seriously, Doug is an awesome example of what can happen when you focus on what you really want out of life and go after your dreams. So here's my first Fearless Friends interview:
How do you know Chewbacca's Mom?
We were in grad school at the University of Michigan at the same time, and our circles of friends overlapped, and so we became friends!
What are you doing for a career now? What did you do before?
I'm a professional triathlete, and triathlon coach. Before this, I was a Division Officer in the Navy for 4 years, and then was a PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan for 2.5 years.
How did you get started doing your current career?
I started dabbling in triathlons when I started grad school at Michigan in 2006. Over the course of a couple of years, I came to realize that I liked riding my bike much more than I liked working in a lab. I also realized that if I wanted to make it as a pro athlete, I only had a small window of time to make it happen, and that I needed to get serious, ASAP. So, I left grad school, and moved out to Boulder.
Any advice for people chasing their dreams?
You can make a living doing almost anything, if you're willing to put in the work, and make the sacrifices. So figure out what you love doing, and then figure out a way to make a living doing it. As long as it has some sort of value to society, then you can make it happen. But remember - just because you love something doesn't mean it's going to be easy... All it means is that you're more likely to enjoy the process, and gain satisfaction from the work.
What I'm doing right now is tremendously hard. Harder than anything else I've ever done. There are a lot of talented and obsessed athletes fighting for a relatively small pool of money. It's fiercely Darwinistic. But, I can't picture myself doing anything else. If I won the PowerBall today, I'd wake up tomorrow, and keep living exactly the same life I'm currently living (but in a bigger house... ha!)
What are you most afraid of?
Getting hit by a car while biking, and skin cancer.
"Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson
Brittney Spears or Celine Dion?
Celine Dion. She seems classier. And my high school French teacher really liked Celine Dion.
Koalas or Pandas?
Pandas. I've heard that Koalas are kind of jerks.
And now for some pictures:
So here's one of Doug as he is now: certified badass.
Like seriously, badass. He's been doing some form of swimming, biking or running for 9 hours at this point in the picture. I don't even think I could stand for 9 hours straight.
And here is the only photo I have of Doug from law school where both of our eyes are opened and we're not blurry. It was for my birthday photo scavenger hunt where my friends humored me and took ridiculous photos all around campus. This one is standing on the desks at the Michigan Law Reading Room (shhh, don't tell).
And this one is just an awesome photo I found of Doug on Facebook (he's on the right). Pretty much captures how awesome Doug is and is kind of how I'll picture him from now on. Sorry, Doug, I told you any pictures on FB were fair game!