Hector Picard's Can Do Attitude
Written by: Herbert Krabel
Date: Tue Jan 15 2013
Slowtwitch: Hector it is good to finally have a chat with you.
Hector: Likewise Herbert.
ST: You just had a big weekend of racing. How are you feeling?
Hector: A little tired and sore but must recover quickly for the Louisiana Marathon on Jan. 20th.
ST: What expectations did you have and are you happy with your race day?
Hector: The most important thing is that I had a great time. The positives were that I decreased my transition times significantly. I had a decent swim and bike but my run needs help. Missed my PR time by 9 minutes. Ended up with a 15:22.
ST: Quite a few folks are now aware of your inspiring efforts at various triathlons, but few know and most likely donít dare to ask how this all came about. Is the accident actually something you openly talk about?
Hector: Very comfortable telling my story. On March 31, 1992, I suffered through an accident where I received a double dose of 13,000 volts resulting in the amputation of my entire right arm and half of my left. I received 2nd and 3rd degree burns over forty percent of my body.
ST: Were you actually standing/kneeling on something that actually ended up saving your life or were you simply lucky if you can call it that?
Hector: I fell two stories on fire and the boot that I had on saved my left foot from being amputated. I was very lucky to have survived, most don't.
ST: Without input from colleagues and other witnesses, how much did you actually recall from that accident?
Hector: I remember Guns-n-Roses ďLive and Let DieĒ on the truck radio and the next thing I remember Iím in a hospital bed 250 miles from home and waking up after a month long coma.
ST: After that coma did you think you were dreaming or hallucinating?
Hector: It took me a while to believe that this was real. Thinking about my one year old daughter made me realize that I had to keep living.
ST: Do you still listen to that song?
Hector: I like that song, I'm here and living.
Hector: Yes, I donít think twice about opening doors with my feet or doing things with my prosthesis. If you throw a ball at me I will probably try to reach and grab it with my non-existent right arm.
ST: Does it actually happen that folks throw stuff at you or want to shake your hand etc?
Hector: What I mean is that I'm naturally right handed and instinctually will reach with my right to catch. I've played football, baseball and basketball since my accident, a little different, but I still play.
ST: I know you played sports as a kid but you were not involved in individual sports. How did you get involved swimming, biking and running and eventually your first triathlon?
Hector: After my divorce, I got back in the gym and did some spinning classes. Friends from South Florida suggested triathlons. I thought triathletes were crazy. I didnít swim, bike or run. I took up the challenge.
ST: Of the 3 sports, which one would you say came most naturally?
Hector: Once I modified my own bike, cycling came naturally. I love riding my bike fast.
ST: How long did it take you to modify the bike to where it functioned the way you really wanted, or is that still an ongoing process?
Hector: During my first twenty or so triathlons, I wasn't able to change gears. Later I figured that out and eventually got the Di2 electronic shifting and bike provided by the I WILL Foundation and Signature Cycles. Nowadays I'm working with ways to get nutrition on the bike while competing in these Ironman distances.
ST: What kind of bike are you riding mostly?
Hector: I use a titanium Seven Axiom tri bike frame with Zipp 404 clinchers wheels.
ST: In a race, what is most difficult, the swim, bike, run or the transitions?
Hector: Ironically, the run is the most difficult. After swimming using only my legs and then the bike, my legs are extremely fatigued for the run. Not to mention that I donít have arms to help me with the run.
ST: I would have thought that you would mention the transitions as being difficult, especially T1 with you being wet etc.
Hector: T1 is difficult but I have been able to master it pretty well over the years. After 70 triathlons since 2009, I've had plenty of practice. I'm still not fast as everyone else.
Hector: I am so competitive, my mind wants to win all the time but my body doesnít cooperate. On the bike I keep checking my computer often and on the run I just gut it out.
ST: I saw you in Vegas at 70.3 Worlds before and know you have wanted to race in Kona. Is that still the big item on the bucket list?
Hector: Kona would be the ultimate challenge. The wind and heat, it is definitely on my bucket list.
ST: How long have you been working with the I WILL Foundation?
Hector: Iíve been with the I WILL Foundation since November 2010, Matt Long has been a great inspiration to me and they helped me with equipment, coaching (Coach Anthony), and financial support.
ST: How did that connection come up?
Hector: A mutual bike shop in Fort Lauderdale (Downtown Bicycles) introduced us. Matt Long said he was going to do all these things to help me. I didnít think much of it but he came through for me.
ST: As part of your Donít Stop Living foundation you also do public speaking. Is that something you do fairly regularly?
Hector: As a Motivational Speaker, I get the chance to travel the country and speak to large audiences. Iím ready and willing to tell my story in the hopes of inspiring others to live life to the fullest whether it be corporate, sporting, educational or religious functions. The story is the same "Overcoming Obstacles."
ST: I personally have not met a single person who isnít inspired or humbled when they cross your path, but what or who is inspiring to you?
Hector: Thank you Herbert. My mom was the most inspirational person in my life. She worked full time on an assembly line while raising my two brothers and me. My dad was around but wasnít much for emotional support. My mother taught us to face our challenges with our heads up. Even today she is my biggest fan and supporter, especially in the Spanish community in Miami, Fl.
ST: Is there anything else we should know?
Hector: Looking forward to a fantastic triathlon season in 2013 as well as stay tuned to my website DontStopLiving.org for information on a cross country fundraising bike trek from Miami to Spokane Washington in June.
ST: Good luck with that Hector.
Hector: Thank you.
Below is a CAF video of Hector Picard at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside in 2011
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