In his eighty-four years of life, Lew Hollander has completed over 2,000 races. Prior to becoming a well-known and iconic IronMan triathlete, Lew was an accomplished endurance rider and earned a place in the American Endurance Rider Conference hall of fame. At eighty -four, Lew holds the Guinness Book World's Record for being the oldest person to complete the IronMan triathlon championship race and is also the oldest person to complete an IronMan triathlon. He has already qualified for the 2015 IronMan Championship race in Hawaii and will be the first person ever to compete in the 85-90 age category.

The AIM Companies: You’ve run about 2,000 races, correct?

Lew Hollander: That’s an estimation, counting all the little races and the endurance riding.

(AIM): Which triathlon is your favorite?

(LH): Roth, Germany. That’s a great race. It’s probably everyone’s favorite. It’s very well run. You ride through all these little Bavarian towns on your bicycle. Some have cobblestone streets. That’s not so great on a bike, but there are tables set up along the route and on all the tables are beers. People sit at those tables and drink beer. It’s a comfortable race, a lot more comfortable than dangerous.

There’s no crowd control. That’s the way it is there. I rode through one of these towns and somebody said “That’s Lew Hollander, seventy-year-old triathlete”–I was seventy then–and everyone cheered and they pushed me and my bike up a hill which is sort of scary even though they were trying to help.

(AIM): Are there any that you don’t like to do?

(LH): They are all a little dangerous, especially the swim. But any one that I finish is a good one.

(AIM): How important is nutrition for training and longevity?

(LH): You are what you eat. Nutrition in the broad sense, you survive. I don’t eat anything I can’t identify the part to. No hot dogs or hamburgers. I guess I eat candy bars. Who knows what are in those? But I like to see a bone or a wing or some feather. Nothing ground up. I try and eat healthy.

I like to say without chocolate, life is darkness and chaos. I also left bacon off my list of things that I can’t eat, so I could eat it.

(AIM): Do you feel there is a psychological component to the aging process? A sense of people saying I can’t do such and such because I’m x years old.

(LH): Oh, absolutely. There is nothing unique about Lew Hollander. There are people who bike faster, think better, and run faster, do everything better than me. I’m pretty persistent. I fall down just like everyone but I keep going. I think people find excuses for a more leisurely lifestyle. “I’m too tired. I’m too cold.”

If I know I have an entry in a race, I like to think backwards. I’m crossing a finish line. I have to do it in seventeen hours. What do I have to do to be at that spot? I need good running shoes. If they don’t fit well, I’d be in pain by mile seventeen. How about my eating? How about my weight? I can’t eat that it’ll cause me to gain weight. I won’t be able to finish.

You can preserve your quality of life. The older you get, the longer you have to push at it. I know a lot of people who are still alive at my age, but they are being wheeled around with an oxygen bottle, waiting for the coroner to come. One of the big differences is the quality of life. You had better start training at forty.

I was checking out of the Sheridan in Clearwater years back and a lady goes, “Hey, look at this guy. He’s eighty and he did the Iron Man.” A guy looks at me and says “What do you take?” I said, “Nothing. You want to spend a day with me and see what I do? This was a conscious decision.” He didn’t want to come with me.

You get your first forty years free. You can overcome and repair a lot of damage then. You get to forty and then you have to pay. Life, your length of life, is like a bank account. You can put money in, or you can take it out. You can be in debt and die early and you’ll be miserable.

Eat right and exercise and have a full life. That’s money in the bank.

(AIM): Can you talk about your motto of “Go Anaerobic Every Day?”

(LH): I talked to a guy in a Triathlon club in Mississippi. He said “You go anaerobic every day. We run that way because you told us. We run up a hill that we named Hollander Hill.”

How do you know when you’re going anaerobic? When you can’t breathe. It’s not rocket science. You run as hard as you can. The next time run a little farther until you clear your anaerobic threshold.

I’m a physicist. What I think, I’m really out on a limb here. This is only an observation. I think when you’re in that state, I think a whole lot of things happen to your endocrine system, your pituitary, your thyroid. All these things are linked together. You were designed to die at thirty-five like the cavemen. All those glands and hormones just start to give out. When you go anaerobic, your body goes “this guy is serious” and it keeps producing that stuff. Most people won’t make that choice.

(AIM): Congratulations on your win in Florida.

(LH): I opened a new age group at the next Hawaiian Iron Man. 85-90. I tell people that two things helped me: Idaho potatoes and Red Rush beet juice. I drink Red Rush all the time. I love it. I drank three during my race in Florida.

I have always recognized the necessities of nitric oxide. Most people are not aware of the value of nitric oxide. It’s necessary to the ATP cycle. You can use it to lose weight and it helps your sex drive.

I think you have a good product. Why not take it? Why not increase your nitric oxide? If you want a better life, take nitric oxide.

I also take Red Rush for ping pong. I think it elevates your reaction time and your ability.

(AIM): Do you have races between now and Kona?

(LH): I have like twenty races between then. I just did the Hot Chocolate Run in Seattle. I do something every weekend: a run, a bike race or a swim race.

I put my max effort into everything. That’s my philosophy: persistence. I heard a talk once at a high school graduation. “Everybody falls down, everybody, every day. The great ones get right back up.” Just suck it up and keep going.

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