Athlete of the Month, July 2009 - Jon Haukaas

Finisher medal for an Ironman triathlete
February 1, 2017

Mike Ricci



Meet Jon Haukaas, D3 Athlete of the Month!  Jon is a bit of an outdoors junkie ‚Äì he loves to be outside whether it‚Äôs climbing, skiing, camping or mountain biking. He earned the Athlete of the Month Honors by taking 3 hours and twenty minutes off of his Ironman time. Enjoy the interview with Jon.

Can you tell us a little bit about your sports background? Which sports did you do as a kid and as you got older? 

I learned to skate about the same time I learned to walk. I’ve played hockey all my life. I dabbled in tons of other sports – high school football, a couple lacrosse games, two years on the U of MN club rowing team, martial arts. I got into running and cross country skiing in my mid-thirties just to get back into a shape other than round. Finally triathlon last.

What was your motivation to get started in triathlon?

I’ve always liked to try a lot of different sports. I grew up on Lake Superior and always felt comfortable in the water. Hockey used a lot of the same leg muscles as biking so I was pretty good at that from the start. As I got into running, triathlon was the natural progression to break up the boredom of long runs.

When and where was your first race?

My first triathlon was an off road race in 2004 – the Chequamegon Fat Tire Tri.

What interesting job did you have as a teenager?

I had all the traditional teen jobs – usually for VERY short periods of time. Fast food, grocery stock boy, lifeguard with the Parks & Rec department. The best is always to be self employed so ran a trap-line every fall and the pelts made me enough money to get through to the next summer.

I know your better half is involved in your training as well ‚Äì tell us how that works and how you keep each other motivated? 

Schedule workouts to minimize impact on our “together time”. Promise to do an IM distance only every other year (odd number years) so I’m not constantly training and have time for a life outside triathlon.

“Can’t” must be proven by trying it first.

Who is your coach at D3 and how has your coach helped you with your goals?

Mike Ricci – and every workout must have a purpose. Power, speed, endurance, even recovery. Its never “just a run/bike/swim”. Laying out what it will take to achieve the goal. Understanding that goals don’t come easy, it takes work, but work gives rewards.

This season you started racing with Power ‚Äì can you tell us how that changed your approach to cycling (if it did) and did it help you? 

The PowerTap made me realize how inconsistent my riding strength was. The PT is immediate feedback. You see how much and how often you slack off when riding. On the other side it helps keep me in check from going to hard and don’t blow myself up.

Have you done any races that you’d traveled for?

Las Vegas Marathon; Spirit of Racine HIM, WI; Ironman Louisville, KY; US Adventure Racing Association National Championships 2007, MO; Napa Vintage HIM, CA; Ironman Coeur d’Alene, ID

Best Triathlon moment? 

Running a 1:42 at the Napa Vintage Tri. It was a PR for any half marathon I’ve ever run. It also brought me in to take first place in the Clydesdale division.

What is your favorite race and why? 

I’ve never done a race twice yet. A couple times I’ve done the same race but a different distance (sprint/olympic). Favorite would have been the Cheq. Fat Tire Tri but it doesn’t exist anymore. Favorite road tri would be the Buffalo MN Olympic Tri. Best volunteers are definitely at IMCDA.

What are your long term goals in triathlon?

Sub 5 hour HIM. Keep cutting my IM times. Keep doing them until my age catches up to my times.

If you could spend a day training with anyone, who would it be?

Mike Kloser, World Class Adventure Racer

What’s in your race future?

Focus more on HIM distance, Xterra racing and pull together another adventure racing team.

What’s your favorite workout?

Cross training on the mountain bike.

What your least favorite workout?

Any interval or tempo workout while I’m doing it, none of them when I’m done.

Tell us something interesting about you! 

I used to attend a Mixed Martial Arts gym doing Thai Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, MMA and weaponry. I became a Level 1 Instructor in stick and knife fighting under Dan Inosanto (Bruce Lee’s best friend and martial arts partner).

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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