North Idaho

Facing cancer, coach continues training triathletes

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - On June 24, 2,500 people will take on the Coeur d'Alene Ironman, a challenge many wouldn't finish without their coaches. One of those coaches is training 11 people while he faces a mortal challenge of his own.

While Ironman is physical it is more about mind over body.

"I talk to them a lot about visualizing the finish line," Derek Garcia said.

Garcia is training 11 people for Ironman. He's the one that'll get you to run a little further, bike a little faster swim a little more.

Ironman cancer coach

"I have to tell my athletes they need to take things one day at a time. They need to visualize for that finish line but it needs to be to motivate them today and then worry about the next day," he said.

Now that pep talk he's given to his athletes he now gives to himself.

"I think everyone can understand the burden that word cancer brings."

About a month ago, right after Garcia returned from his first professional race, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He's only 27 with two little boys.

"What I try to do with this diagnosis is just take things one day at a time. Speculation on what could happen and what it might mean is I think just too draining," he said.

Garcia has already gone through surgery and bounced right back.

"I look at what he's going through it make me realize how much I can go through," athlete Stacey Dacar said.

Garcia continues to work with his athletes, using his own words of wisdom as he figures out his treatment, taking things one day at a time.

"I've had days where I've been so frustrated, disappointed, or scared by it all but the truth is I know ultimately that there will be a good outcome in this," he said.

To read Garcia's blog about how he plans to beat cancer, click here.