Ian Laperriere can’t compete with others anymore at the highest level of his profession.
Instead, he has decided to compete with himself.
Laperriere, the Flyers’ Director of Player Development, needed to challenge himself after his hockey career was cut short by post-concussion symptoms that rear their ugly heads when he laces up a pair of skates.
“I tried playing in two charity games and I can’t even do that without not feeling well,” Laperriere said. “But I’m O.K. with that now. I don’t have to do that anymore. I’ve found other ways to challenge myself physically.”
Just run of the mill stuff – like swimming, biking and running. Or all three together. Or all three together at extreme distances.
Yeah, you know, just participating in an Iron Man Triathlon.
“I’ve read so many stories about guys who have concussion problems who can’t do anything physical at all,” Laperriere said. “I’m lucky that my problems are only on the ice. I feel fortunate that I don’t have those problems off the ice. I’m fortunate that I can still train hard and compete at a certain level against myself. That’s why I’m training for this Iron Man.”
That, and to raise money for charity.
Laperriere is working closely with the Iron Man Foundation and will have an official announcement next week. He will be raising money for the Ronald McDonald House, Go4theGoal – a foundation to help children with cancer reach their goals, as well as their Tunes for Teens program that provides iTunes gift cards to teens with cancer.
Laperriere, 39, will run his first Iron Man August 18, in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec as part of the North American Championship with the top 75 finishers advancing to the World Championship in Hawaii.
In preparation, Laperriere participated in the Olympic-sized version of the triathlon last month – which is a 1500-meter swim, a 26-mile bike ride and a six –mile run.
This coming weekend, Laperriere will tackle Mont Tremblant for the first time in a half Iron Man, which consists of an 1.2 mile swim in Tremblant Lake, a 56-mile bike ride on a course that runs through Mont Tremblant’s forests and mountains and has challenging elevations, and finishes with a 13.1 mile run along the Le P’tit Train du Nord, a former railway bed that has been turned into the longest linear park in Canada.
The Iron Man in August doubles those distances to a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run.
“I though the Olympic run went well,” Laperriere said. “It’s all part of the program. You do an Olympic run in Week 15 of your training, the half-Iron Man in Week 20 and the full-Iron Man in Week 30. I was a little worried about the swimming, because I just started doing it [competitively] last year, but it was fine. The bike is a little wet, so you have to be careful, but that was O.K. too.”
Laperriere is already used to distance events, as he ran in the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon.
However, the last push he got was from a close friend who congratulated him on his marathon finish, but laid down a gauntlet to his friend.
“He said, ‘Nice job, but can you do 2.4, 112 and 26.2,’” Laperriere said. “That kind of triggered me a little bit. I travel all the time [for the Flyers} and I have nothing to do on the road until the games start – which isn’t until 7 p.m. – so I had all day to train. The question was, what am I going to train for?
“So six months ago, I began training for the Iron Man and I’m in the middle of it right now.”
However, the root of the idea goes back to 2001, when after the 2000-01 season with the Los Angeles Kings, Laperriere went home to Quebec to train for the summer.
“It goes way back to a dozen years ago when I would work out with triathletes back home in the offseason,” he said. “I have always wanted to challenge myself physically. So I always thought about it, but I knew I could never do any events when I was training for hockey because it’s a totally different kind of training. Last weekend I did a 90-mile bike ride and a 14-mile run. I could never do that when I was playing hockey. It’s completely different.”
But, it’s something Laperriere has embraced post-retirement. He’s had a busy spring preparing for the Flyers prospect development camp, which will be different than previous years (more on that later this week), but in his “down time” he’s swimming, running or biking great distances.
Just something your ordinary almost-40-year-old guy does, right?
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email email@example.com
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