By Sharon Aron Baron
How does someone stay in shape after being surrounded by all that delicious food at Doris Italian Market?
They work out—a lot.
Parkland resident Gary Mulé, 47, spends the majority of his time working at the gourmet grocery store’s busy Coral Springs location. But when he’s not overseeing operations there, he’s either biking, swimming, or running as he trains for his next triathlon.
Mulé won first place in his age group during the Palm Beaches Spring Triathlon held in Singer Island in May. He competed in the Sprint Relay, which consisted of a quarter-mile swim in the Atlantic Ocean, a 10-mile bike ride, and a grueling 5K run to the finish line.
A competitive swimmer, Mulé was a member of the University of Pittsburgh Swim Team and served as the team’s co-captain during his junior and senior years, but this was his first triathlon in almost 30 years.
His physical training included biking an average of 150 miles per week, often practicing on the traffic-free canal levees, running an average of 25 miles per week, and swimming at least 10,000 yards each week for the months leading to the triathlon.
As the co-owner of Doris Italian Market & Bakery, with locations in Coral Springs, North Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Sunrise, and Pembroke Pines, Mulé said his stress levels are down and he’s been able to successfully navigate the fluctuating challenges of the pandemic.
“I’ve even lost 40 pounds so far this year, and my energy levels have increased, allowing me to spend more quality time with my kids, even after a long day.”
Fresh off his 2021 Palm Beach Triathlon victory, Mulé is already focused on his next race, a half IronMan this fall in North Carolina.
Highly competitive yet always fun, the Ironman is 70.3 miles, including a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and a half marathon. For many competitors, just crossing the finish line is an accomplishment.
Work-life balance is a constant challenge. To fit training into his demanding schedule, Mulé wakes up at 4:30 a.m. each day. To keep him motivated, he’s a member of the South Florida triathlon group called Race Junkies.
Mulé calls his fellow Race Junkies “an amazing group of individuals who share a common desire to train hard, race hard, have fun and give back to the community.” People come from different backgrounds but share a common love for health and community. In addition to competing, members are developing ideas to help the local community grow beyond Florida’s borders.
Many members hail from Colombia, and on a recent trip there, the team encountered a wonderful young boy who aspires to be a professional cyclist. The Race Junkies generously contributed to help fund his coaching.
Mulé says the hardest part about training for a triathlon is simply finding the time to work out.
The busy father of two trains an average of 12-15 hours per week, riding his bike at least three times a week, running outdoors or on a treadmill at a gym located in the same shopping center as Doris Italian Market, and swimming at least three days a week.
To cap it off, he strength trains with weights. During the extended summer daylight hours, he intends to train with his fellow Race Junkies before and/or after work.
A natural-born competitor, he decided to get serious about training for a triathlon as he likes to challenge himself continually.
Mastering three sports in one race is a challenge in itself, and overcoming the mental, technical aspects of triathlons make it so much more than a physical sport.
The supportive group helps one another master speed, cadence, pace, recovery, and more. When preparing for a triathlon, nutrition and rest are as important as training. Many of Mulé’s competitors enlist personal coaches and nutritionists.
“Those of us who compete in triathlons understand the demands,” said Mulé. “The rewards far outweigh them. It’s all about balance and intensity.”
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- Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.
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