As the vice president of a commercial interior design firm near Richmond, Virginia, 36-year-old Chris Good is used to finding inspiration in everyday things and using them in his designs. A two-time Ironman-distance finisher, Good decided to sign up for next year’s Ironman France on June 29, 2014, he knew he needed the ultimate source of motivation. A former art school student, Good hadn’t worked on an art project in years, but while thinking about the enormous challenge that an Ironman training regimen would bring to his life, he kept on thinking back to his old art projects. And that’s when it struck him. “I told my wife that I wanted to create a drawing for every week of my Ironman training,” says Good. “She thought I was crazy, but I had the first one done in a few hours, and I decided then and there to commit myself to it.”
And thus was born the “50 in 50 Project,” a collection of weekly drawings by Good, inspired by his unfolding training journey toward Ironman France. Good keeps an online portfolio of his work on his blog, and each of the drawings are for sale to help pay for his training costs and eventual travel costs to France.
A high school runner, Good was somewhat pressured by a group of friends to compete in his first triathlon in 2010. “When I started training, I didn’t even know how to swim,” says Good. “But after my first race I was hooked.”
Good trained with a coach for his first Ironman in Florida, but for his second race he didn’t have the time to devote to a dedicated training schedule, so he coasted into the race on base fitness. With a challenging bike course, Ironman France will be a lot harder to slide into, so Good is training with a coach once again to get him in prime condition for the event. “You know, I’m not a natural Ironman athlete; this is going to be a big challenge for me,” says Good. “Plus I’ve got a fulltime job, a wife and two little kids, so I really needed something to get behind to help pull me through this.”
Most mornings Good will squeeze in a workout before he’s off to work. He’s fortunate to work right by his local YMCA, so he often fits in a swim over lunch. In the evenings, once he’s helped put his kids to bed, he often hops on the trainer as well. His drawing regimen is equally structured. “If I’m not on the trainer after my kids are asleep, you can find me drawing in bed,” says Good. “I’ll also make time for it on the weekends, usually I’ll pop a movie on for my kids and then sit with them on the couch and draw while they watch TV.”
Finding things to draw hasn’t been much of a problem. Good has found inspiration from all sorts of aspects of his training. “I started out by drawing interesting things I would see on my long rides,” explains Good. “Things like abandoned railroad cars and certain images that were either nostalgic or buildings I just found interesting.” From there, Good moved on to sketching pieces of his equipment. Lately his pictures have been more about his family, including a drawing of his children completing a local 5K with him, and then other members of his family who are helping him find time to train. When he got stuck in a creative rut recently, he asked his training partners if they wouldn’t mind becoming his subjects, and thus was born a series of portraits.
When the 50 weeks of drawings and the race are finally done, Good is planning on showing his work at a local gallery. “I want to show the evolution of a person’s life during Ironman training,” says Good. “I’d love for this project to live on even after the race is over.”