For those that don’t know me, my name is Eric Dunkley and I am an active duty armor officer in the US Army (i.e. I ride around in incredibly amazing armored vehicles). I have served 12 years with 3 deployments to Iraq. During my first deployment I was shot and wounded. The bullet very narrowly missed my backbone and gave me a new perspective on life.
After my third deployment I really realized how much I was struggling with adjusting back to life in the States. The toll of three very intense deployments had impacted me and I couldn’t seem to find anything to lift me up. Then one day an Army buddy contacted me looking for a swimmer to be part of a relay team for a triathlon. I had a week to prepare, but enjoyed the training and the race. I decided to give triathlon a shot and it has been one of the greatest experiences in my life.
Being so active was a great piece of helping to adjust back to “normal life” and I have met so many great people along the way, to include my fiancée Melissa! Triathlon has been a so instrumental in my life and it is truly a passion. I volunteer/participate with Team Red, White, and Blue, a veteran outreach program that works to assist vets like myself that need a battle buddy/teammate to help them reconnect through social and physical activity. My hope is to help others find or reconnect to that passion in their life so they can feel whole again.
Triathlon itself may appear to be an individual sport at first glance, but that one athlete pushing themselves through the arduous events has a slew of people behind them supporting them, pushing them, and encouraging them. Triathlon has been a comprehensive lifestyle for me with great likeminded people who strive for fully healthy lifestyles.
From the energized spectators, to my incredible coach, Jamima, my awesome bike shop guru, Chad, my friends and family, and Melissa (who has to tolerate my long training days and occasional trips to the ER), everyone has had a positive impact on me and made me a stronger and better person. Like these people, Garden of Life has been a great teammate/sponsor in this great journey. I am so thankful for such phenomenal products that are healthy and, of equal importance to me, to be part of a team that shares the similar values and seeks to empower people to live a healthy lifestyle.
It was a tough triathlon season for me this year, but I finished strong at the Ironman 70.3 in Austin, TX on 27 October. The training was interrupted with a surgery that put me out for 8 weeks, a 33 mph bicycle wreck 2 weeks prior to the race, and a severely twisted ankle just 1 week prior. I increased my intake of Wobenzym and was able to push through, finishing 79/333 in my age group and 528/~3500 overall. Given the ankle injury I was pleased (I had a physical therapist question my sanity for racing on my ankle!).
Throughout all my training I maintained a regular regime of Garden of Life RAW meal, RAW protein, Wobenzym, probiotics, multivitamins, and fucoprotein bar. I never felt like a “hit a wall” or “bonked” during my training or my races thanks to these great products from Garden of Life. Even with a season focused on intensive cardio and strength training for competing in Half Ironman triathlons (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run) I maintained my desired racing weight and BMI thanks in no small part to the great products I receive monthly from Garden of Life.
Get out and Tri!