Two years ago when Darrel Williams approached Garden of Life about sponsoring his triathlon competitions, he readily admitted that he was new to the sport. The former track star had no trouble running long distances, and training for long bike rides also came easy to him. Swimming, however, was a different story.
“Swimming was a challenge for me at first because I didn’t have much experience with it” said Williams, who was not able to swim outdoors much in the alligator-infested waters of Mobile Bay near his home in Daphne, Alabama. “I’ve had to work a lot on my swimming times, but over the past two years I’ve improved tremendously.”
Ironically, one of his best swim times occurred at a small qualifying race in Alabama after an alligator delayed the race by stretching out on a sand bank near the starting line. Williams watched in dismay when the race organizer shot a gun in the air to scare the gator away. The next thing Williams knew, he was in the water swimming like crazy.
“It was wild because the gator swam away and then we all had to get into the water right after that!” Williams recalls. “I kept thinking the entire time that we probably had more than just this one gator to worry about. But it was a great motivator because I had a great swim and won the entire race!”
As Williams moved up in the amateur triathlete ranks, he realized he’d need to keep both arms and legs away from alligators and find a more suitable place to train. When an opportunity arose for him to train with Lance Armstrong’s bike training groups in Austin, he jumped at the chance because he knew it would also be better for his daily swims.
“There are a lot of open lakes, streams, and rivers that are swimmer-friendly in Austin,” he explains. “I had run out of suitable training partners in Alabama, so it’s good because I have a lot of people who can challenge me and push me in Austin.”
A typical week of training for Williams includes biking 300 miles, running 50-60 miles and swimming eight miles. He also does weight training, sticks to a strict diet, and takes Garden of Life supplements such as Vitamin Code® Raw One™ for Men, RAW Protein, and Wobenzym® N.
“It’s funny because one of my chiropractor sponsors recommended Wobenzym® N to me after I was in a minor car accident several months ago. I told him I was already taking it!”
On track to turn professional this year, Williams is training for a major triathlon in Louisville in August. If all goes well, he will qualify for the World Championship held in Kona, Hawaii in October. Although his stringent training schedule keeps him busy, he also enjoys training other athletes at Life Time Fitness in Austin.
“I have to be very efficient with my time, but it’s all worth it,” says Williams. “I look forward to training other people because it’s nice when you can combine your passion with your job.”