Eric Wickenheiser was in Germany recovering from an assault when he signed up for today’s intermedix Ironman 70.3 triathlon.
“I figured to get motivated to heal,” said the North Augusta resident.
He had been overseas for training with his company, MTU Diesel, when he was “jumped.”
Wickenheiser spent two weeks in ICU recovering, but shortly after he arrived home he began training for the event.
For two months, he has been swimming at Lake Thurmond, running along the Greeneway and biking on a hilly bike path near his home.
At Saturday’s Ironman Expo at the Augusta Convention Center, he lay on a table at the Elite Health Solutions booth while Dr. Josh Mason applied the Active Release Technique to his calf muscle to soothe a sore knee.
“What this does is releases fascial adhesions within the soft tissues that can restore normal motion, and can remove restrictions around nerves. It can improve their motions and their efficiency and their ability to move,” Mason said.
Hundreds of people poured into the convention center to complete their registration for today’s event, and to pick up their registration packets. They and their support groups then shopped vendors selling everything from protein bars to compression socks to shadow boxes.
At noon, competitors gathered for a briefing about the race.
While her husband, Alvaro Velez, took their son Sebastian, 1, to the meeting, Laura Velez entertained the couple’s other son, 4-year-old Andy, in a less crowded section of the expo.
Alvaro Velez competed in the event two years ago, but the heat slowed him down near the end of the running portion, Laura Velez said.
“We’re going to have really nice weather this year, which is nice,” she said.
Laura Velez said she isn’t sure whether downtown Augusta is just nicer than she remembered, or whether it has improved, but she enjoyed seeing artwork along Broad Street.
She said she is looking forward to cheering her husband on from the sidelines as he runs through downtown today.
“It’s a very important event, and not everyone is capable of doing something like this, so I feel very proud of him being able to do it and do it well,” she said.