Former Hawkeye completes Ironman competition

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Adam Haluska, one of the University of Iowa's most decorated men's basketball players, achieved a goal he set a year ago, providing one of the greatest feelings of accomplishments he has ever felt.

Haluska wanted to finish an Ironman competition in 12 hours: He finished the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run in 11 hours, 48 minutes Sept. 8 in Madison, Wis.

Adam Haluska crosses the finish line
Haluska completed his goal of finishing the Ironman in under 12 hours.

"It's probably the best feeling I've ever had," Haluska says. "There's no feeling in the world that compares. I played Division I basketball and ran track in high school; there has not been anything that I put my whole effort into for a full year where I felt this kind of reward at the end."

That comes from a Hawkeye who won a Big Ten Tournament title in 2006, was a two-time All-Big Ten performer (2006-07) and was named 2007 Academic All-American of the Year.

Haluska says his interest in the Ironman dates to when he watched the Hawaii-based competitions on television with his father.

"I've always wanted to do one," says Haluska, who ranks eighth in Iowa's career scoring. "Even when I was in college, a plan of mine was to eventually do one, I just had to wait for the right time."

Training for this test in physical and mental endurance began a year ago in Madison.

"You have to sign up for this event a year in advance, so a buddy and I woke up at 5 a.m. the day after the 2012 race and drove to Madison to register," says Haluska. "We were in line with about 1,500 other people. They thought we were nuts after we told them this would be our first.

"My wife was supportive and I was committed to this 100 percent. Toward the end of my workouts in July and August, I was averaging six to seven miles in the water, biking 150 miles and running 35-plus miles a week."

Adam Haluska biking
Haluska was a member of the 2006 Hawkeye basketball team that won the Big Ten Tournament.

Haluska did a sprint triathlon in the Quad Cities in the spring and an Olympic triathlon in the summer to complete his training and get a better feel for the transitions from the water, to the bike, to running. A sprint triathlon consists of a half-mile swim, 12.4-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run; the Olympic distances are 0.93-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run.

"The run is the hardest, and I think it's that way for everybody," Haluska says. "You test your body, kind of a give-and-take. If you go too hard on the swim or bike, you might not have enough left on the run. My goal was to run the marathon all the way through without walking."

Prior to registering for the Ironman event, Haluska had never swum so much as a lap.

"I went to the North Liberty pool and got a membership for a year to train," Haluska says. "I started working out and watching videos online. One thing that also helped me was that I know a group called the ICOWS (Iowa City Open Water Swimming). We swam out at Lake MacBride twice a week.

"That was the most enjoyable part of the training. I got to meet some cool people, and we had a blast."

Will Haluska attempt another Ironman in the future?

"I'm going to stay away from the full Ironman for a while because of the time commitment and having a family," Haluska says. "I might do a triathlon or even some half-Ironmans.

"I put my full attention and effort into this and I'm happy I did," he says.

Click here to see a photo gallery from Haluska's Ironman competition.