Train Arizona Racing is Headed up by Inspirational Survivor
Photos by Jennifer Ann Marie
Mark Ingle is a Valley tax lawyer who focuses on staying healthy by cross training in a variety of methods. But his story is one that inspires people everywhere he goes. From triumphing over cancer, to creating his own endurance training program, Ingle has been proactive and positive in developing a forward-thinking training routine to preserve the body that works not only for him, but those that join him in his positive and supportive journey with Train Arizona Racing.
Back in 2005 at the age of 22, Ingle was attending Texas A&M and had been having some unusual physical symptoms, including two nickel sized lumps in his chest. After an initial doctor suspected breast cancer, an urologist ultimately diagnosed Ingle with stage 4 testicular cancer. Tests revealed cancer had aggressively spread into his chest cavity and into one of his lungs. He moved to get treatment right away and had immediate surgery followed by chemotherapy.
“I tried to get into Indiana University School of Medicine with Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, the doctor who cured Lance Armstrong,” explains Ingle. “It was full. But I was referred to another leading urologic oncologist at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. His name is Dr. Bruce Roth.” Dr. Roth treated Ingle. Ingle was administered four months of eight-hour days of chemotherapy which amounted to 252 bags of drugs, and on February 1, 2006, Ingle was considered cured of his cancer. But, mysterious nagging and often excruciating joint pain was worrying Ingle. Even a change in weather would prompt incredible pain in his knees and hips. The pain was so bad, that on some days, he could not even get out of bed on his own accord.
Side Effect of Chemotherapy Spurs Action
After further testing and consultation with more doctors, Ingle was diagnosed with a bone condition called avascular necrosis, a direct result of Ingle’s chemotherapy. The chemotherapy essentially caused loss of blood to areas in both Ingle’s hip and knee bones, resulting in “dead bone.” This was disheartening for Ingle, who was pursuing a goal of becoming an Ironman.
“I was heavy into triathlons at the time of my diagnosis,” states Ingle. “After I had been so sick, I wanted to take care of my body right. I tried to eat right, exercise, and I just sort of fell into the sport and really liked it.” Ingle’s doctors told him that he must avoid all joint impact, including simple exercises like jogging or basketball which eliminated his Ironman goal. Ingle was told that if he kept on with his normal workout routine, he would ultimately face complete bone collapse within just a few years. This was when he pulled himself up by the bootstraps and began to develop a unique training program that worked for his physical challenges.
“A large sense of my pride was washed away after I received the news of my avascular necrosis. It felt like cancer got one over on me from its grave. It was as if cancer reappeared from the ashes and set boundaries for me to operate within for the remainder of my adult life,” states Ingle. Ingle decided to conquer his limitations and began to research, really learn about his own body and what it had gone through during cancer and chemotherapy, and work to develop his body in a way that no other doctor or trainer could.
There is no fixing the bone necrosis, nor is regeneration possible, so proactive training became Ingle’s focus. He began cross training and hiking. Undaunted, he pushed forward. He would not accept anyone’s notion that he could not do something, and found a way that he could. “I read and read and read. I read scholarly articles, medical journals, as well as every endurance training program, but none of them worked for me because they all call for an incredible amount of running.” Ingle says.
“I vowed I would achieve my goal of Ironman, including running the race’s marathon portion, without ever running a single step in training, and I would only bike seven times, eight weeks out from a race.” Additionally, he participated in yoga and barre class due to their low impact nature. “My body was supposed to fail me, but I stayed the course while trusting my plan,” stated Ingle. Ingle first tested his body at the Ironman Arizona 70.3 in October 2015, and then finished the Ironman Vineman 140.6 in Sonoma, CA in July 2016.“I achieved what was said to be impossible. I took back what was mine – my pride over cancer,” Ingle said.
Training and Inspiring Others
Beginning in March 2017, Ingle wanted to work with other athletes to educate them on how he trains and to help them be the best they could be, too. He loves being outdoors, but knows that Arizona just gets too hot in the summer. He began looking for a place where he could bring his group of 21 people, Train Arizona Racing, to train.
The opportunity presented itself at Rebound Gymnastics West in Scottsdale. Owner, Tiffany VanDusen is a former International Elite Gymnast who admired Ingle’s spirit and drive, offered space for Train Arizona Racing to come together as a group and train each week. His athletes are comprised of ultra runners, trail runners, road marathoners, Ironman, and Spartan racers and come from a wide variety of athletic backgrounds. “My primary goal is to facilitate goals by using a forward-thinking approach that preserves the body. Other coaches put too much load on the joints.” Ingle says. “It’s not about me.” He considers his group of athletes an endurance team and he loves working with all of them.
Ingle continues, “I promised my athletes that this would be free for them to train.” He has been able to offer that perk, in large part, to the generosity of VanDusen and her willingness to loan Rebound Gymnastics West space gratis on Sundays.Ingle also uses his own money to purchase race gear and training gear for each of his athletes as well as workout equipment for his team.“I didn’t want a lack of means to prohibit people from achieving goals,” says Ingle. “There’s no hook and no gimmick,” he notes. “My life’s purpose is to impact others, improve my community, and Train Arizona Racing is the vehicle. The lynch pin of my doing this was my ability to have a building – a physical space. I’m indebted to Tiffany for the rest of my life. She is an amazing person.”
“My training style is new school. I have a safe and fun alternative approach from every other training plan. If you doubt I revolutionized endurance training, feel free to call Mayo Clinic and tell them what I accomplished with avascular necrosis,” Ingle proudly states with a grinning smile. “This is my team, and I’m in this for the right reasons. Train Arizona Racing is built on pure kindness.” finishes Ingle. “It’s a beautiful thing.” Training takes place at Rebound Gymnastics West at 16611 N. 91st St., Scottsdale. For additional information, visit www.trainarizona.com for more information, or call (480) 686-6123.