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
Leap Day Sports
The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas
Nǐ hǎo fēngkuáng de pìgu fěnsī! – (Someone told me this translation is off, but I can’t find it. It does say something about crazy and ass, though, so we’re mostly good).
Success, my crazy ass fans! Success! That’s the overall takeaway from the weekend. As I mentioned in my pre race blog, the reason I . . . → Read More: 70.3 Liuzhou Race Story
Nǐ hǎo fēngkuáng de pìgu fěnsī!
So in case you haven’t heard/read/seen, I’m in China. No this isn’t the next step in Picky Bars international expansion (maybe it should be?). I’m racing. Here are the deets.
Just some 2am #lobbystrides. #nbd #IM703Liuzhou
. . . → Read More: Hi, I’m in China.
Heyo Crazy Ass Fans!
Well, it took me longer to get off the ground than I said it would (typical), but I’m super stoked to have finally finalized the details for my $10k 1st Year Pro Scholarship I announced last year in conjunction with my ROKA Performance Aviator Launch. Massive thanks to USA Triathlon Foundation for . . . → Read More: 1st Year Pro Scholarship Application