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From the Starting Line to Business Success: Zac Slabaugh’s Journey in Endurance Sports

From the Starting Line to Business Success: Zac Slabaugh's Journey in Endurance Sports Run Tri Bike
Zac Slabaugh
Year started: 2017
Next race: November 9th / Indianapolis Marathon / Indianapolis, IN
Favorite gear:
  • Asics Novablast 4
  • Garmin Forerunner 935
  • Balega Ultraglide No Show Sock
  • Relentless Running Co. Shorts/Tops

Zac Slabaugh, an accomplished endurance athlete and budding entrepreneur, embodies the spirit of perseverance and commitment. He has gone from a middle school runner to a seasoned triathlete. He has also started a business thanks to the lessons from endurance sports. These lessons can help anyone looking to get involved in the world of endurance sports. In this article, Zac shared insights into his athletic beginnings, the challenges he faced, and the wisdom he’s garnered along the way. How did he got started and why does he continues to participate despite obstacles? How have his experiences taken him from the starting line to business success?

Early Beginnings: A Natural Runner

Zac’s love for running started at a young age. “I’ve been running since I’ve been a kid,” Zac recalls. “Even in middle school, I would go on two to four-mile runs in the summer just for fun, to stay in shape.” A genuine enjoyment of running fueled his passion. Zac’s enthusiasm for running even saw him participating in track and field events, often inspired by watching them on television. “I loved watching track and field and would get fired up to go run block repeats, trying to break personal records,” he reminisces.

The High School Setback

Despite his early enthusiasm, Zac’s relationship with running took a hit in high school. Convinced to join the cross-country team, he soon found his love for the sport waning. “My love of running shifted to a dislike,” Zac admits. An injury in his freshman year further dampened his spirits, leading to a prolonged hiatus from running. It wasn’t until after college, motivated by the book “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll, that Zac rekindled his passion for endurance sports. “I had gained 30 pounds, didn’t love how I looked or felt, and missed being competitive,” Zac explains. “That book inspired me to start exercising again, which led me to triathlon.”

Overcoming the Comeback Challenge

Zac’s return to running was far from easy. “It was really hard coming back,” he says. “I remember going out for a run in Charleston, thinking I could pick up where I left off, but I had to walk after just a mile and a half.” Despite the initial struggle, Zac’s commitment to improving kept him going. “I dove in and said, ‘This is going to suck, but it will get easier over time.'” His perseverance paid off, gradually rebuilding his fitness and resilience.


Finding Motivation and Community Support

One key to Zac’s success has been his ability to stay motivated, even when external support was lacking. “I made the decision to do a 70.3 triathlon and told people about it,” Zac shares. “It was about living up to that commitment.” His wife played a significant role in his journey, offering support and understanding. “There were times she questioned if I’d stick to it, but she was incredibly supportive.”

While Zac initially trained solo, he eventually found camaraderie in a local running group. “More recently, I’ve been part of a group that runs together,” he notes. This sense of community has been instrumental in maintaining his motivation and pushing his limits.

Balancing Life and Training

As a new father, co-founder of a business, and avid athlete, Zac has had to master the art of balancing his commitments. “I’ve gotten really good at being efficient and scheduling,” he says. While he acknowledges the need to prioritize, Zac remains dedicated to his training. “Some days, my eight-mile run has to be cut to four because work or family comes first, but I make it work.”

Zac’s company, Relentless Running Co, launching late summer / early fall, aims to lower the barriers to entry in triathlon and running. “The community can be intimidating, especially for beginners,” Zac explains. “Our goal is to make everyone feel included, regardless of their experience level.” By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, Zac hopes to encourage more people to embrace endurance sports. His endurance sports path will come full circle as he goes from the starting line to business success.

Lessons Learned and Advice for Others

Zac’s journey teaches us lessons that can benefit those just starting out. “Keep showing up, forgive yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others,” he advises. He emphasizes the importance of enjoying the process and understanding that everyone’s journey is unique. “You’re an N of one. Celebrate your own trajectory and progress.”

In today’s information-saturated world, Zac admits that it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. “I still struggle with it sometimes,” he says. “But I remind myself of my current goals and situation.” Zac encourages athletes to focus on their personal growth rather than comparing themselves to others’ highlight reels on social media.

Consistency, self-belief and community support have paved the way for Zac. From the starting line to business success, Zac has faced numerous challenges and emerged stronger each time. His story is a source of inspiration for anyone looking to start or continue their journey in endurance sports. Sharing his experiences and the lessons he’s learned, Zac is motivating others to overcome their own obstacles and find joy in the sport he loves.