When Kevin Taddonio watched his first Ironman triathlon in 2008, he was a sporadic recreational athlete. Two years later, the 28-year-old was keeping up with the best in the sport. At the 2010 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, Taddonio was the top American amateur to cross the line, finishing 47th in the international field of more than 1,000 and beating a dozen or more pros. Unlike most triathletes in his league, Taddonio isn't interested in training full-time—not if it means sacrificing his 40-hour-a-week job as a vice president at a Chicago recycling company, a position he rose to after signing on as a garbageman during college.
HIS SECRET: "In my home office, my bike is set up on a trainer so I can type e-mails while I ride. A half-hour here, 15 minutes there—it all adds up. I wear running shoes everywhere; I don't care if I'm in a suit. If I'm waiting for a bus that's taking forever, I run where I need to go, with my briefcase. I slept in an altitude tent for six weeks leading up to Kona to help boost my red-blood-cell volume, so I could go harder longer. My girlfriend hated it, but I think it worked. I want to see what I can do in the next three or four years. After that I'll probably scale back—we want to get married, start a family, and I want to keep my job. When you look at the time spent, triathlon is a pretty selfish pursuit. I'd rather have fun and be a dad who's in really good shape."
ON KEVIN: Custom Fit short-sleeve T-shirt by Polo Ralph Lauren ($30; ralphlauren.com); four-color ombré crew sweater by Banana Republic ($70; bananarepublic.com); shorts by Converse One Star ($20; target.com); Kevin's own belt.