March Member Spotlight- Joe Dulay

Wed 03/14/2012 - 08:00 AM by Isang Smith

Meet Joe Dulay, a competitive Tri athlete who is an amazing example of the value of “overcoming”. Prior to becoming active and well involved in the Tri world, Joe’s life turned around one fateful morning, where he woke up paralyzed. His condition was the result of occult cerebrovascular malformations, leading to blood leaking into the brain, reducing blood flow.  Life, as Joe knew it, changed forever. The journey to regain his health and strength was a long one. But the challenges he found along the way are all the more reason he feels alive today.

Before, Joe was not the athlete you can find him as these days. He pointed out he had only a love for basketball as his connection to the world of sports, but not much else from back then. After his paralysis occurred, doctors said he would never walk again, nor regain sensation in the left side of his body. But it was this belief that pushed Joe to recover. He wanted to prove them wrong, tired of hearing what he couldn’t do, tired of people taking pity on him. And so Joe worked hard regaining his health, and in time became very active.

Joe took on activities such as yoga, rock climbing, dive fishing; he couldn’t get enough of the challenging aspects of each sport, as well as the benefits. Soon after he tried on triathlons and adventure sports because he liked the challenge. He didn’t know how to swim, so he watched videos on You Tube. He managed to ride a bike, all the while dealing with vertigo issues. He could barely walk, but yet, he had a reason to run. During his initial training he was on medication, taking a dose of 8 pills usually. Over time he was able to eliminate his need for them. His explanation for how he tackled all of this: “I “TRI”ed to feel alive!” He never wanted to feel the lack of sensation on his left side of the body so he did triathlons to feel the sensation of Pain, a sure indicator he is still living. 

One of Joe’s most memorable races is the crown jewel of the triathlon world: IronMan Kona World Championships. The race was an enviable feat and one of Joe’s biggest life accomplishments! He was actually turned away the day of registration since they found him so little compared to the world class athletes he was standing next to. They thought he was a spectator trying to take a sneak peak at the professionals, not realizing he was there to race until they saw his wristband. He finished with a time of 14:43:27, accomplishing what so many dare to dream. Another mentionable race, and Joe’s favorite, is the Stanford Treeathlon. Consisting mostly of locals, this small event takes place in Redwood City, California. He loves this event since he gets to race with his 3-year-old son and have the support of the whole family there since the race is nearby.

Joe first heard of FAT through Noriel Simsuangco, who came up to Nor Cal to do his first triathlon at the Silicon Valley Sprint Tri. Since then Joe has been actively promoting FAT to the Pinoy community! Thanks! Look for Joe in future endurance challenges. Though he feels he’s not much of a runner, he’s hoping to finish the Northface 50 mile Challenge along side his FAT brothers. He’d like to thank the club for all the support and encouragement they gave him leading up to and after his race at Kona. All the tips and words of encouragement helped him to reach that finish line. He hopes to someday meet all of FAT and thank everyone personally for making such a big difference in his life.

Triathlons aside, when not competing/training Joe’s favorite past time is basketball, his first love (Go Warriors!). He also rock climbs when time permits.  A quote he goes by is "Pain is what makes me feel alive, that's why I TRI.... to live"-Joe Dulay

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