Photos by Jimmy Ho Photography

Between his four children and career as a doctor, Vance Elshire is certainly a busy man. But through it all, he always makes time to stay active and achieve his goals, like completing the Everglades Challenge 2018!

How do you live a 360life?

A 360life is about a realistic overall attitude towards good health and is actually pretty simple if you try to do the following.

1) Get good sleep.

2) Stay hydrated.

3) Maintain a clean diet by staying away from processed foods and fast foods. Try to cook your own meals and pack your own lunches.

4) Include cardio, strength and flexibility into your exercise routine.

5) Try to constantly make the best choices given what you have.

What is your wellness mantra?

Persistence; keep trying and do not give up. Do not try to be perfect because it is impossible. Practice healthy living to feel good, not to look good.

How long have you been active/competing?

I have been active my whole life. Do not get me wrong, I have had my times where I have been sedentary, but when looking back, those times were definitely not my happiest. I have learned that keeping my body moving, even if it is a one-hour sailboat ride, kayak, bike ride or a yoga class, keeps me uplifted.

Tell us how you started.

I have always been adventurous, so that is the easy part. The hard part is the daily grind. Sometimes when I do not feel like working out or doing something active I will get my running shoes or get on my bike and just say to myself “I am only going for five minutes.” Almost all the time I will end up doing a full workout. Once I get moving I always enjoy it.

Please share your favorite competition/event, in detail and what it meant to you.

I have completed many challenges in the past including century bike rides, climbing and summiting the 14,411-foot Mount Rainier, but my favorite most recent event (and the one I am the most proud of) is the 2018 Everglades Challenge.

The Everglades Challenge is an unsupported, expedition style adventure race for kayaks, canoes and small boats. Unsupported means that there are no safety boats or support crews to help you during the race. Expedition style means that you must carry the same type of equipment and supplies that you would carry on a major expedition lasting four weeks or more. Camping equipment, food, water, safety, communication, etc. is required. Motors are not allowed and you can only use natural sources for propulsion such as rowing, paddling or the wind. The distance is roughly 300 nautical miles and starts in Fort De Soto near St. Petersburg and ends in Key Largo, Florida. It must be completed in eight days or less.

Although it is a race, many participants are more interesting in cruising and adventure. Whether you are a cruiser or racer is up to you. Only about 40 percent of starters are able to finish.

The start is usually at 0700 the first Saturday in March and is signaled by a horn. Immediately over 100 small vessels, including paddle boards, kayaks, small sailboats and catamarans, are slid off the beach from the high water mark and into the surf. Sails go up, paddlers begin to paddle and the race is on.

One of the qualifications for the race is having a boat small enough for you to launch from the beach. The boats/vessels are divided into different categories based on their abilities. All vessels must have a personal locater beacon, life vest, adequate flotation, water, food, etc.

The EC2018 was the first year I competed and I am happy that I was able to finish. I finished it in five and a half days. I had been wanting to compete in it for years. My dream was to build my own boat and use that boat to complete the challenge.

The boat I built for the race was an 18-foot wooden sailboat that can be rowed or sailed, known as a dory. The things I accomplished were building my own boat, navigating on the open water over 300 miles both night and day, and learning how to deal with inclement weather and being cold, hungry, and sleep deprived. It was both a physical and mental challenge. Although it was difficult, being dependent upon only myself, my boat and my survival skills provided me with a great feeling of accomplishment.

What keeps you motivated?

My family. I am an older dad with young children and I want to be able to the enjoy them for years to come.

Do you have races/ competition/events that you would like to complete on your bucket list?

I would like to compete in the Everglades Challenge annually trying different types of boats such as a kayak or catamaran.

What are you training for right now?

Nothing really. I just finished the Everglades Challenge and am still recovering, but I am already thinking about EC2019.

What is your go-to diet?

Low fat and low carbs. I stay away from simple sugars completely because they make me feel terrible.

How would you encourage others to start living a 360life?

Commit yourself to an event once or twice a year and constantly train. It does not have to be something incredible. Even if it is a heart walk or 5K, it is still better than nothing.

What is your daily workout routine?

I just try to do something daily, even if it is only for 20 minutes. Everything counts.

What is the most important lesson being active has taught you?

Being active is more than losing weight or decreasing your resting heart rate. It is really about feeling good about yourself. Exercise releases endorphins that help with pain, improve mood, and create an overall feeling of well-being.

What is one thing you wouldn’t race without?

Water and a change of socks.

Favorite way to wind down from a busy week?

Get outdoors!

Favorite book?

I drive a lot so I listen to audiobooks. I love nonfiction stories about adventure and survival.

Favorite ways to relax?

Meditate. Stretch. Yoga

Go-to meal/restaurant in Gainesville?

Cooking out with my family or date night with my wife at Bangkok Square.