Monday, December 6, 2010

Question and Answer Session

As I continue to get some early work in for tri season, which happens to be the last bit of my ski season training, I figured that some people are going to have some questions about me, and why I've decided to venture into the Suffer-fest.

Unlike Bill Simmons, these are not actual questions from actual readers. However, if you have some, feel free to shoot one along to ryanheisler at gmail dot com. (Spelling it out to avoid the dreaded robo-emails.)

1. What is your athletic background?

In a word, non-existent. Although in the previous blog entry, I mentioned how I got my own life going. I've always been kind of a recreational athlete, but nothing more than that.

2. So, then, what are your sports?

Well, I've been skiing for the better part of the last decade. I've been a season passholder the past three years at Sugarloaf. This year, my good friend Josh and I will be passholders over at Saddleback. I've also been running a bit, but with only one true race under my belt: Boston's Run to Remember, in 2008.

3. OK, so what makes you want to enter triathlons?

I can remember, quite vividly, getting excited for the Christmas season when I was younger. And my father and I would always sit down and watch a bunch of the NFL games. (This was back when NBC actually *cough* had honest-to-God football during the afternoon. And no Faith Hill singing some craptastic song to kick it off, either. But I digress.)

Well, one of those afternoons there was no 4 PM football. Instead, coverage of some crazy event in Hawaii had me transfixed to the TV for the next two hours. They swam how far? In the ocean? And then...biked over a hundred miles? In 100 degree heat? And then RUN A MARATHON?!?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?

I was hooked. Talk about in awe of people. How could they do this? Well, that memory has stuck in the back of my head. And now it's time to go ahead and open up that can of worms. I'm fond of a quote, that's become part of my motto:

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.

4. Why now?

Why not?

Outside of the snark, there really is no better time for me to get into the sport. Triathlon, as you may have heard, is not a cheap sport. You have equipment to buy for three sports, really: swimming, biking, and running. None of the equipment carries over between them. Nor does that equipment really translate over onto snow. So...part of it came down to affordability.

5. Only part of it? What's the rest of it?

This will probably be the hardest section of the blog I'll write.

I learned one hell of a hard lesson this summer: do not take a single day you have on this Earth for granted, for it may be your last. I know it's a well played out phrase, but there really isn't a better way to put it. My father-in-law had a brief, intense battle with a rare kind of sarcoma, which itself is a rare type of cancer. He fought like hell. Yet this was one beast his body could not take.

(Brief aside: He, too, embodied one of the key components of Jimmy V's 1993 ESPY speech: It could not take his mind, his soul, or his heart. It ravaged the vessel that those things were harbored in, but it never, EVER touched that.)

Every single day was a gift. And you never truly appreciate those gifts till they're gone. Or, maybe you do appreciate them, but you never realize how much.

At any rate, it was this kind of appreciation for life that got me going. It's the appreciation of the things around, is there anything better than a ride in late fall, when the trees are ablaze in color as you continue to grind out the miles? Or a run where you get to see the sunset over the ocean? It's those kinds of moments in training, too, that fuel me.

6. Wow. So where are you racing next year?

I haven't decided on yet my tune-up races are looking like in full. My race schedule so far:

May 14, 2011: Waldoboro County YMCA Family Triathlon (sprint race)
August 21, 2011: Ironman 70.3 Timberman, Gilford, NH (70.3)

7. So how will we know who you are if we're watching you race?

I'll be the really tall skinny dude.

Oh, you mean that describes more than just me? OK, fine: I will be rocking the colors of Team Sports Bistro for 2011. Sports Bistro is an online sports nutrition retailer and educator, helping figure out what will help fuel you to a better performance. Considering my own nutrition story, it seemed like a perfect fit. (Shameless mid-thought thank you to Ton, Mike, and the rest of the team for agreeing to sponsor somebody with essentially no experience in one of the two sports I'll performing in this year...)

I'll also be the guy on the bike course rocking a 2011 Felt B16 named Kermit.

8. The bike has a name? Say what?

Yep, the bike is named Kermit. It's not quite Trogdor the Burninator (Jordan Rapp's name for his bike), but it has a ring to it.

9. Erm...why?

Well, there's the patently obvious: the bike has a flat black carbon weave finish to it, except for splashes of frog green on it.

It's also another tribute to my father-in-law. Muppets Christmas Carol AND Muppets Family Christmas remain staples in this household.

And, of course: it's not easy being green.

10. So when does your training begin?

Well, right now I'm in base training mode (follow me on Twitter for the latest updates). I've done all 3 sports to the distance I am racing at for 2011. I've also done a 1.2 mile swim, backed up by a sprint-distance bike and run.

Training officially begins on January 17th for Rev3. I'll be mixing up my plan with some ski days as well. I'll post more details on the training plan as it becomes finalized.

Whew! Hope that helps out quite a bit in terms of where I am headed with this whole venture. And I hope you stick around for the entire ride.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

What's up Ryan? Nice way of doing your post with the Q & A. Inspiring story about how you actually got into Triathlon as well. Maybe I will see you on the Tri scene this year. I'll shoot you an email and maybe we can get some workouts in.