I started in endurance athletics as an Oregon State Track and Cross Country Champion, eventually competing in much nicer weather for Stanford University’s powerhouse Track & Field and Cross Country Teams. At Stanford, I was an NCAA All-American and School Record Holder in the 3000m Steeplechase while attaining both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering. M.E. in the House! I’m also the CEO and Co-Founder (with my wife) of an amazing gluten and dairy free energy bar company called Picky Bars. The business keeps me busy, motivated, and something fresh on my plate every day. I also do a bit of independent consultanting, specializing in marketing and product development, for small businesses and startups. I likes eating and watching movies, particularly at the same time. I live in Eugene, Oregon, and am married to a much better athlete than himself, professional distance runner Lauren Fleshman.
Interview with Jesse – May 7, 2014
Why haven’t you raced since last year?
I had a navicular stress fracture that initially required surgery to stabilize. Then I had to have another surgery to remove the pin they put in in the first surgery. It’s been a long and windy road for sure.
What’s recovery been like?
See comment above about the long and windy road. It’s been tough to say the least. I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs and eventually tons of doubt as to whether or not I’d ever make it back.
How have your wife and baby played a part in that recovery?
Jude (my baby) has been my motivation, and Lauren (my wife) has been my chief advisor and supporter. She’s been through so many similar injuries herself (actually, the exact same injury), that her perspective was key. She provided me with support, encouragement, or just a kick in the pants when I needed it. Jude just provided me with perspective on what really matters, and something that always made me happy in the lowest points of the recovery.
What are the key elements of success for you in rehab?
Strength work and listening to my body. When I pushed too hard, I set myself back. When I was smart and diligent about progressing on my plan, that’s when I made the biggest gains. There were tons of strength issues in my foot and lower leg that led to the injury in the first place. Those issues were magnified after being on crutches and in a boot for 12 weeks. It took a LOT of work doing God knows how many different exercises to finally get it back. It’s not surprising in hindsight, but it’s a process when you’re going through it, and staying motivated was tough.
What type of guidance did you get in your return to run program from the REP Lab?
Basically all the guidance I needed. I worked with Jay a ton to identify the core weaknesses that led to the injury in the first place, and auxiliary weaknesses that were a result of the surgery and recovery process itself. We did LOTS of reps of LOTS of exercises, and progressed in an intelligent way. Eventually, when I was capable of running a bit, biomechanical analysis on his crazy nice treadmill made a huge difference in understanding how my stride was leading to injury, and how to combat that with specific injuries and shoe choices. It’s been incredibly valuable to have access to REP lab during this process. It’s made all the difference.
How do you feel looking back on your win at Wildflower?
It’s awesome, obviously. It was an emotional win after all the doubt. Maybe the biggest result of my career on a personal level. It was my first race as a dad. I’ll never forget it.
What’s in store for Jesse?
More training and more racing. I’m looking forward to getting back into the mix regularly over the summer and building toward the half Ironman World Championships in September. We’ll see how it goes!
Check out the latest from Jesse Thomas
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Heyo Crazy Ass Fans!
Remember last year when I announced Lauren and I would be supporting two first year pro’s this year with a scholarship? Well, though it took much longer to finish than expected, I’m stoked to announce that it did in fact it finally happen!
I received about 60 applicants from many many . . . → Read More: Scholarship Winners!
Crazy ass fans! That…was a crazy ass race.
Most of you probably read or saw my quick recap post race. As I said, I went through some literal and figurative ups and downs, and visited (only figurative) dark places during this race. If you want the SHORT version, check it out on my Instagram or . . . → Read More: 2017 Ironman Lanzarote Race Story
Hola Crazy Ass Fans!
I’ve got 12 more hours as IM Lanzarote defending champ, and wanted to give you a quick check in before I hit the sack and hit the start line for the race tomorrow!
How to Follow: 7am Local time, 11pm (May 19th) PST. Check Ironman.com and Club La Santa Facebook . . . → Read More: IM Lanzarote Race Preview