Whether it’s continuing research projects or exploring the biology and natural history of various locations, Simpson Biology Professor Ryan Rehmeier has a passion for what he teaches, but biology is only one of them.
Rehmeier has completed more than 28 triathlons, including two Ironman Triathlons. The Ironman competition is the ultimate test of endurance, taking more than 12 hours to complete and consisting of a 2.4-Mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full marathon run (26.2 Miles).
“It’s one of those things where I sought out some sort of athletic outlet because I spent so much time in graduate school at a desk or at a computer,” Rehmeier said. “I realized I was looking for something to bring more balance to my life to keep a sound mind and sound body.”
Rehmeier completed Ironman Coeur D’Alene (Idaho) in June of last year, where he finished with his personal best: 12:08:59. He completed his first Ironman in Wisconsin in 2008; his 5-year-old son, Caden, joined him in the final 200 yards so that they could run across the finish line together.
As a husband, father of two and full-time professor, Rehmeier said maintaining balance while training six days a week can be a daunting challenge.
“It’s part of the reason that my wife only allows me to do these every other year,” he said. “I love being married and having a growing family and even though it’s extremely challenging to balance that with training, you just have to get your priorities straight.”
Rehmeier said one of the benefits of competing in triathlons is the perspective it gives him to connect with students on another level.
“Training and competing for these races has helped me relate to students because I know that they have just as many things going on as I do,” he said. “So when they say ‘I can’t learn that concept,’ or ‘It’s too complex,’ or ‘I don’t have enough time to do that,’ I tell them if they are patient and if they put in the time, it will pay off, just like my training.”
Rehmeier is currently training for shorter distance races this summer including the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines.
“You have to do what you love to do, and luckily I have found teaching and triathlons, two things that I truly enjoy doing.”
Six Questions for Ryan:
The strangest thing in my office is: The taxidermied flying squirrel jumping from my wall to greet visitors.
A book I think everyone should read is: Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer.
One thing people wouldn’t know about me (other than being a triathlete) is: I have a man crush on Justin Timberlake.
My inspiration is: Setting a good example for my two boys and future generations.
If I wasn’t a professor, I would be: A sad panda.
If I won the lottery, I would: Have a garage full of extremely expensive bicycles, a personal trainer to make me go out and ride those bikes, and a personal chef to make my wife happy.