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Original Issue

Q+A Pat LaFontaine

The fifth-highest scoring American in NHL history completed the Ironman Florida Triathlon earlier this month

SI: You turn 40 next February. For some guys that means it's time to buy a sports car. You ran a triathlon. Why?

LaFontaine: I stopped playing when I was 33, and I remember a couple of years before I retired I was watching the Hawaii Ironman. There was, like, a 62year-old nun and a 71year-old man who finished in the dark. I was so inspired I said to myself at that moment, If they can do it, I'm definitely going to do an Ironman before I'm 40.

SI: You finished in 13 hours, six minutes and 49 seconds. How did you feel at the end?

LaFontaine: I was running on pure adrenaline. It was something I never thought I would do, but I had a tremendous amount of inspiration. I dedicated the race not only to the kids of our foundation [Companions in Courage Foundation, which builds playrooms in children's hospitals] but also to my mom, Gisele, who we lost in July.

SI: How difficult was training?

LaFontaine: As hockey players we are kind of built for short, compact power moves--spurts of speed. It was like trying to teach a thoroughbred to be a trotter.

SI: You suffered several concussions during your career. Do you feel any residual effects?

LaFontaine: I've been fortunate. I've had no residual effects whatsoever. I got out just in time.

SI: Is this your last triathlon or the beginning of a new athletic career?

LaFontaine: The director of my foundation called and said, "The good news is, we've probably raised close to $40,000. The bad news is, you're going to have to do this every year." I think I may do a triathlon next July in Lake Placid and have a charity hockey game. I'm sure it will give people another chance to say, "Pat, you must have hit your head again." --Richard Deitsch