Chad Soileau’s goals started simply – fit in a size large shirt, walk one mile, be comfortable wearing a belt. But, as he rapidly crossed these achievements off his list, he set his sights on something greater—to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii.
Before undergoing Roux-n-Y gastric bypass surgery with the Surgical Specialists of Louisiana, Chad had difficultly performing simple daily tasks such as walking or tying his shoes. He was forced to exit a roller coaster at a local amusement park because he could no longer fit in the seat. He was even required to turn down a promotion to 1st Lieutenant in the Army because he was on their weight control program. But it was a visit to the doctor’s office that made him finally take action. “The simple fact was I would be dead in 5 to 10 years if I didn’t do something” said Chad on his website www.team464.com, named fittingly after his pre-op weight of 464 pounds.
Soileau lost 100 pounds following his surgery in 2006 and dedicated himself to losing the remaining 162 pounds through a controlled diet and intense exercise regime. He has since participated in over 20 triathlons all over the United States as well as numerous 5-K and 10-K races.
The Ironman World Championship only accepts entrants via lottery but Chad has applied for one of two “media slots” that will allow him to attend and have his story told. If chosen, his competition would include a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and conclude with a full marathon—a 26.2 mile run. Quite a feat for someone who once believed he had hit the point of no return!
Soileau wants potential patients to understand that weight loss surgery is not the easy way out. “It’s not a magic bullet, it’s only a tool. You have to make a commitment to eating right after your weight loss surgery and exercising”.
While his ultimate goal is the Kona race, Chad has already registered for the Ironman Florida scheduled for November 7th. In the rare event that he is selected for the World Championship, Chad will compete in two Ironman triathlons in two months!
“My triathlon journey didn’t start when I got on the bike for the first time or when I ran the first 100 meters from my driveway to the stop sign down the street. My journey to Iron started when I was booted off that roller coaster for being too big; it started when I stared in dismay at the number 464 on the scale; it started when I lost my commission in the Army; it started when I finally realized that it was time to make a change!”
Our team at The Surgical Specialists of Louisiana wishes Chad Soileau the best of luck and looks forward to updating you on his progress.