Fire Fights, Death Marches, and Smoothies: Fire Fighter Joe Falcone Talks Life, Endurance, and Nutrition

Posted by casey weaver on

As our business grows day by day, we get the opportunity to meet more and more inspiring people.  We are still able to connect the lines that lead us to these inspirational stories, and it's these relationships and people that gives meaning to the community we have here at Field Work Nutrition.  Joe Falcone is a former US Air Force member, a fire Captain, an Ironman, a family man, and consistently pushes his peers to surpass their physical limits.  Not to mention raises money for charity along the way.  

His interview was a positive kick to the head to start the week...we hope it has the same effect on you!

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How long have you been a firefighter, and how did you find yourself in the profession?

I have been a Firefighter for over 20 years, I started when I was 18 years old. I spent 5 years as a United States Air Force Firefighter and currently work for Delray Beach Fire Rescue where I serve as a Captain and going on 16 years of service this May. I was a junior firefighter throughout my adolescence and decided to pursue a career in the fire service and never looked back.

We you in the military?  If so, what branch, and what did that bring to your life?

I joined the United States Air Force when I was 18 years old and served 5 years. After initial boot camp and training I spent my first 2 years in Mississippi at Columbus AFB and then headed overseas for 2.5 years. During that period I was stationed in South Korea for a year and Guam for almost 2 years. I am proud to have served my country and can't describe in words what that brought to my life. I made friends for life and met my wife Devon, who also was in the USAF, while stationed in Guam. We now have two awesome kids together. So without my military service my life would be totally different. 

What is it that you enjoy about pushing yourself physically and helping others and / or serving?

I enjoy the rush and adrenaline that comes with living an adventurous life, both professionally and recreationally.

In regards to racing and training, I enjoy the broken feeling you get when finishing a difficult race or training session and have that feeling of total destruction. It’s a feeling of accomplishment that I enjoy I guess. And as of late, drinking a Primo Smoothie to start the rebuilding process!

In regards to my job, I run a lot of calls, most are "routine" calls for help. But when a serious call comes in and my crew and I have to do some extensive work to help somebody or save their life, that memory never fades and the story continues forever. The bond you make with people, when as a team, you save somebody's life is like no other and unless you are in Law Enforcement, Military, or Fire Service most will never experience that. I am fortunate that I am able to build relationships with people in such a positive way. 

How did you find yourself getting involved in endurance sports?  What has that journey looked like for you in terms of the types of sports / activities you participate in?

I have always pushed myself physically since high school. I was on the wrestling team, always went to the gym, etc... It wasn't until I turned 25 until I really became interested in endurance sports. I started small in triathlon and worked my up to Ironman over a couple years. From there I ventured into obstacle course racing and ultra marathons. The ultimate physical event that changed my life was the Spartan Death Race. This was a extreme multi-day event held in Pittsfield, Vermont that was designed to break you physically and mentally, and it did. I read about it in 2011 in Outside magazine. I entered the race in June 2012 and after 63 hours straight I emerged as a finisher. I finished 2 out of 4 Death Races over the next few years and eventually the race ended. That experience pushed my perceived limits even further and I have since run 3 x 100 mile races, multiple OCR's and improved my job performance as a firefighter in regards to dealing with stress and overcoming adversity.   

You seem like you've got plenty of other adventures in your life as well - what other outdoor type activities do you enjoy doing?  What's been your most epic adventure to date?

My favorite activity outside of endurance sports is camping with my wife and kids. We have a pop-up camper and love to hit the road and camp when we can. We love the outdoors and everything that comes with it, fresh air, kayaking, hiking, fishing and cool nights. 

One of my most recent epic adventures was organizing a group of 8 south Florida firefighters and climbing Mt. Rainier. We hired a guide service out of Seattle, trained hard and made our way to the summit of Mt. Rainier this past July. To put this in perspective, one guy had never seen snow, none of us had mountain climbing experience, we live at sea level and had no time to acclimate. Gear was sort of a mystery to us as none of us really had mountain climbing attire. We were familiar with ropes and hardware from rope rescue classes but that was it. It was EPIC for sure.... 

You are also into some charitable giving / fundraising...can you talk about that at all?

I like to fundraise through endurance events. My most successful fundraising was for a fellow firefighter who passed away from brain cancer at age 37. He left behind a wife and two kids. Myself and a co-worker organized a 5K in his honor and ran it for 5 years, it was called the Firefighter Eric Patrie 5K. Over the course of 5 years we were able to raise in excess of $50,000 for his family.

I also organize a local 9/11 stair climb every September. I invite friends, firefighters and the public to come out and climb 110 stories in a parking garage to raise money for a selected 9/11 charity.

And when I can I try to find an individual to fundraise for and tie it in with a race. This past weekend I raced for a 6 year old wrestler from Iowa that is battling leukemia and helped him with his fundraiser to raise money for St. Jude's Children's hospital. I always wish I could do more but my hopes are that my kids catch on to the giving spirit and build on what I've tried to do.  

With your job and lifestyle, staying fit and active seems to be paramount, how has Primo Smoothie helped compliment that?  How do you use the product?

Primo Smoothie fit seamlessly into my daily routine and I typically have a shake every morning and after a big training session. It is perfect for me to have on my way into work because if I start running calls as soon as I get there and then roll right into training, there is a chance I may not get to eat for a few hours. Prior to Primo Smoothie, I would rely on making breakfast at work and hoping to get a quick bite in before the day starts. I really don't stress now because I power pack the smoothie and can really make it to lunch with a few snacks thrown in the mix without getting too hungry.  

What specifically do you like about the product?

I like the clean ingredients, the ability of the shake to mix well with all sorts of extras and the taste. It seems to be a very versatile powder that goes with whatever your imagination can come up with. The support from you guys with questions about product to the information you put out is awesome. I'm very glad to have found Field Works Nutrition, it's a part of the routine now! 

What are you big athletic and / or life goals for 2018 and into the next couple of years?

In May, I am signed up for Infinitus 250 mile trail race in Vermont, hosted by the Endurance Society, this will be my longest race to date, should be a real soul crusher. Over the next few years we plan on making several trips out west to hopefully find a place to live once I leave the fire service. It's always been a dream to live in the mountains and hopefully someday we can make that happen. Athletically, who knows, so many adventures so little time.... I have things in mind but haven't told my wife yet so we'll just leave it at that! LOL 

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Thanks, Joe.  This is truly inspiring and powerful stuff.  Best of luck to you in 2018 in all your competition and in whatever adventure life throws at you!

 

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