By Liz Manglesdorf, Director of Skating Schools, Dr. Pepper StarCenters
It has been said, that to be the best in the world at what you do, you’ve got to find the very best in yourself. That wisdom, combined with a unique drive to perform, is what motivates Tom Hulsey to be the best.
Tom, a Professional Hockey Instructor for the StarCenters, is gearing up for the annual Ironman competition in Panama City, Florida. He recently qualified at the Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman 70.3 race.
The Ironman requires tremendous psychological stamina as well as physical strength and endurance. The Ironman course is exactly what the name implies. It is a course for the mentally and physically strong and cannot be taken lightly. The prestigious race consists of a 2.4-mile open ocean swim, followed immediately by an arduous 112-mile bike race, then a grueling 26.2-mile marathon. All three events must be completed in 17 hours or less.
Tom’s interest in the Ironman started in 1983 after watching the ABC broadcast of the Ironman World Championship. He was inspired by what he saw and entered his first mini-triathlon in 1984. Subsequently, he entered several more triathlons and then ran the White Rock Marathon in 1985. Following the marathon, he set his sights on becoming an Ironman. He completed the Hawaii Ironman in 1986 – under his goal of 14 hours.
Subsequently, looking for a new challenge, Tom entered Colorado’s Mountain Man Winter Triathlon in 1988. The course description was most intimidating, especially for someone that lives in warm, flat Texas and had never done two of the three disciplines – cross country skiing and snow shoe running. “It is one of the most brutal tests of winter mountaineering the human body is capable of performing with over 14,000 feet in elevation change.” He did muscle-specific training at sea level in Texas and competed at 10,000 feet in snow and ice. Tom went from being told “no way a flatlander can complete this race” to a Top 25 finish in six years. Tom was coached in speed skating by Rob Blair (Olympian Bonnie Blair’s brother) at the original StarCenter in Valley Ranch. He also parlayed that training in 1990 to win the first ever in-line skating race held in Texas.
Leading a healthy lifestyle has always been important to Tom and it shows. Tom grew up playing hockey on the ponds around Madison, Wisconsin. He won the Nike Cross-Training Challenge in 1991 and is an accomplished tennis player. Tom has been teaching on-ice and off-ice conditioning classes at the StarCenters since 2000. In addition to teaching, Tom is in his fourth year as Vice President at EyeNx, Inc. and oversees all aspects of the company’s day-to-day business operations, including sales, marketing and operations. Under his leadership, EyeNx continues to grow. EyeNx develops and implements IP-based solutions for homeland security, surveillance, real-time video-embedded enterprise applications and web conferencing for commercial, government, military and education.
Tom has a fantastically supportive wife (Lauren) and two children.
Now, after a 13-year hiatus from ultra-endurance sports, Tom is back competing!
“If you have the desire, anything is possible. With the Ironman, there’s a sense of accomplishment; to do something so few people can do.” Tom also said, “I am motivated by the past accomplishments and always strive to improve.”
Through his dedication and determination to be the best he can be, Tom exhibits those attributes and qualities that make a good athlete, and exemplifies those characteristics that continue to motivate all of us to reach for our dreams.