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Athlete Spotlight: Dave Buché

Before you dive in, here's a quick message from Coach Vicki:

I have known Dave for quite a few years. He has coached with my coaches in the past but I have never had the chance to work directly with him. When he contacted me inquiring about me potentially coaching him this year, I was more than excited for the opportunity! Dave is smart, experienced, a great athlete, and given all of those qualities, he is also very interested in learning more about himself and the process of improving upon what was done in previous years. You never know exactly what you are going to get on race day, but, it turns out, despite less than optimal weather, Dave crushed IM California! Well done Dave, it has been a privilege to work with you!

Tell us about your family/career:

I’ve been married for 36 years, and we have four adult children with 2 grandchildren. I’ve been in the medical device industry for 35 years and it’s been great to help bring over 30 new technologies to the market that have had a significant impact on patient quality of life!

How long has fitness been part of your life?

The US Navy kicked off fitness for me and it’s continued, more or less (sometimes much less) since then.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Spending time with family is something I enjoy, especially traveling with them for new adventures. Two of our children live in the Rockies (UT & CO) so exploring nature, hiking, and skiing (I’m returning to it this year after a 10+ year gap). Our family also enjoys trips to Florida & Disney. And I’ve been known to do a bit of photography from time to time.

Do you have a favorite quote or motto?

I think “Anything is possible” is the motto I live by today. Also, since IMCA “We don’t talk about Juneau (IMAK)” is a new family motto - this one will become clear as you read on!

What keeps you going when you really don’t want to go?

Age seems to be chasing me faster and faster so on those days when I just don’t feel like getting started, and there are many, especially in a 140.6 training cycle, I remind myself that at some point I’ll not be able to do these events; I’ve had injuries or illnesses that are good reminders! At that point, my mindset shifted from “I have to work out” to “I get to work out” – an attitude of gratitude!

What got you started with training?

As I encounter a new path or challenge, I look for ways that I could learn from others; especially those who were successful! For example, when I decided to take on a 26.2, I went to a Gallaway seminar and then soaked up all the books I could. For triathlon, I felt I needed more, so while at lunch in White Bear one afternoon I Googled triathlon training in MN and discovered I was <2 miles from the Tri Fitness location. I soon joined the Tri Club and have continued working with Vicki and the team since!

When you tell your friends/family about beginning your journey what was their reaction?

At first the reaction was generally neutral – just going to the gym. As the level of challenge has increased, from running and strength to triathlon then Ironman, it’s changed a lot. I tend to serve as a bit of an inspiration especially as I’ve overcome the challenges and obstacles throughout my IM journey.

How long have you been training?

My training journey started in the US Navy where I picked up running on the deck of our ship while on a nearly 12mo deployment in the Mediterranean. We had a 100-mile challenge during the deployment (18 laps = 1 mi) – I did it twice. I continued running for a few years into my career, but my knees started complaining so I shifted to strength training. By 2012 the health issues expanded from my knees and continued accumulating until I was faced with serious issues unless I made changes. Inspired by our oldest daughter taking on the Disney marathon, our 2nd oldest daughter taking on the Disney half marathon and the Gallaway run-walk-run method, I resumed running in 2013. A 5K in January turned into a commitment to do a Disney 5K, 10K, 13.1, and 26.2 challenge in January 2014. I filled in 2013 with a build-up to a 26.2 in October 2013. By 2015, I was looking to balance out running with other activities and that’s when found Tri Fitness! My triathlon journey had begun. Sprints and Int’l in 2015. Ironman 70.3 and 140.6 starting in 2016. I continue to do Ironman events today with my most recent Ironman finish line at IMCA on 10/22/23.

Were you involved in other competitive sports prior to your adult years?

I was not involved in competitive sport since high school where I was only involved with martial arts as a competitive activity.

Best tip for someone that is thinking about starting a fitness program:

My advice is directly related to what I’ve done. Sign up for an event that is a reach, one that requires me to train to finish and it’s in the future enough that a setback or two in training will not be a barrier to starting the event. Use the event as motivation. Then be smart during the event – listen to my body, know what I can do and what are signals that it’s not my day – it’s ok to pull the plug vs pushing and then hanging out in the medical tent instead of the finish line!

Who is your biggest inspiration?

All the people crossing the finish line. In 2013, I sat near the end of the Disney marathon, and I was amazed by all the everyday people crossing the finish line. Then I crossed the Twin Cities 26.2 finish line – that view of the capital and the finish line from the Cathedral of St. Paul is amazing. Now, nothing beats hearing David Buché “You are an Ironman”.

What is your biggest struggle?

Until August 7, 2022, the heat was my biggest nemesis. It’s like an off switch and while I’m making progress, I need to really watch for indicators, so I don’t have a medical issue; I dropped out of both IM Texas and IM Des Moines because I overheated – a tough decision but it was absolutely the right one on that day.

On August 7th, my day at IMAK ended too early - a blocked path requiring a merge into traffic, a camouflaged road defect, and rain - all at nearly 30mph = an accident! In the blink of an eye, I was getting an expedited ride across town to an ER, an extended stay in the local medical center, and then a surgery center once back in MN. I’m not unfamiliar with bouncing back from injuries, I’ve had my fair share, but the last year of training has not only had the physical injury recovery but also working through the psychological impact from the crash. Watching for road defects or debris, traffic, and weather along with the lingering pain from the physical injuries made for white-knuckled, mentally exhausting cycling sessions in 2023!

Goals for the upcoming year?

My first goal for the upcoming year is to enjoy crossing the finish line at IM Sacramento (10/22/23). My 5th Ironman but first since AK. In Sac, it rained buckets for the last 2 hours of the bike. I was never so glad to safely rack my bike in T2. It also rained the last 3 hours of the run. I was managing the lingering AK injury pain, cold from the wind, and being completely drenched for hours and yet somehow all I could visualize was getting to that finish line! 62yo David Buché “You are an Ironman”. And, at that point in time, all that happened during IMAK faded into the back of my mind! Now it’s time to reflect, relax, and enjoy the moment!

Goals for next Ironman, likely 2024 (I set 3 goals for a 140.6):

1. Finish within the 17-hour limit

2. Sub 13 ½ hours – a new PR

3. Sub 13 hours – getting into the 12-hour category has been within reach in my last two IM finishes, I just need things to go a little better on race day!

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