01.21.2019

Meet Ken V. He is a dad, husband and triathlete. He is also a 3 x Half IRONMAN finisher and soon to be IRONMAN.

He first became involved in triathlon about 7 years ago and has been a member of Team RTA triathlon club for most of that time.

Ken has slowly worked his way up in distance and improved his times over the years. Most recently Ken finished his 3rd IRONMAN 70.3 distance race in Atlantic City, NJ.

Shortly after, he “pulled the trigger” and signed up for IRONMAN Maryland, which will take place in the fall of this year. It will be his first “full” IRONMAN triathlon. He will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles all in one day and in less than the 17-hour time limit.

So how does a regular guy get caught up in these crazy “shenanigans” (LOL)?!?!? Find out why and how by reading about Ken’s triathlon journey below.

 

Getting Started

I got involved in triathlon about 7 years ago. After running in some local 5K and 10K races for a few years, a friend and I decided to try our local sprint triathlon.

It consisted of a 300 meter swim, 10 mile bike, and 5K run. At the time, it sounded IMPOSSIBLE. However, after what seemed to be a lot of training, I finished.

When I crossed the finish line I felt a HUGE sense of ACCOMPLISHMENT. I was hooked, but when I look back now, I realize how little I knew about the sport.

 

HOOKED!

The following year I continued to do a few “sprint” triathlons until my friend and I decided to start training for longer races. We gradually stepped up to longer “sprints” and a few Olympics before finally getting to the “70.3” or “Half IRON” distance. I’ve now done 3 races at the 70.3 distance and I literally JUST SIGNED UP FOR MY FIRST FULL IRONMAN Triathlon!!! I guess you can say I am officially hooked!

 

IRONMAN 70.3 Atlantic City

I recently raced IRONMAN 70.3 Atlantic City for the second time and had a totally wonderful experience.

I have always found triathlon to be such a positive and supportive community. There is something really special about sharing a major race day experience with over 2000 other athletes.

Most of the 2018 IRONMAN Atlantic City 70.3 was spent in the water… Obviously the swim was in the water, but it was raining pretty hard for most of the bike and run.

However, in the end, none of that mattered at all – you just race.

 

Hardest Part

The hardest part for me in this race was that my GPS watch had several malfunctions, so I did not know my full race time (until I saw the results), nor could I accurately pace myself for the run.

Instead, I had to rely on my stopwatch and the mile markers to keep my pace steady. I kept doing calculations in my head.

I think that might have actually helped me in the end, because this was my first 70.3 in which I felt GOOD all day long. It’s so much more fun to be able to go through a long race and actually feel good the whole time (even though you really ARE tired).

Other years I would think to myself, “God, NEVER AGAIN!” but this year I had a plan, stuck to it, and wound up having almost a perfect race for me.

 

Crossing the Finish Line

When I crossed the finish line I was so pumped! I knew that I had given it my 100% best effort and CRUSHED it!!!. I’m not sure people can quite understand it if they haven’t done it. IT IS A GREAT FEELING!

 

It’s a Lifestyle

While races are amazing experiences, I have come to really love the triathlon “lifestyle.” I feel like I’m always thinking of my next training workout or how I can get better and how I’m going to squeeze it in with work and family obligations.

I really enjoy the training and I like that it makes me so much healthier. When you think about it, you have to love it to do this sport.

You train for countless hours for maybe 3 or 4 or 5 days a year when you race – which involves getting up at 4 AM and pushing your body to the limits. It doesn’t sound like fun but it really is because the sense of accomplishment is extremely gratifying.

 

What More Do I Love About Triathlon?

There are a couple other aspects of triathlon I have come to love.

First, I like that it’s all me. I’ve played on team sports my whole life and wouldn’t change that for anything, but your accomplishments in triathlon 100% your own. I love when you are talking to people and you tell them that you biked 50 miles on Saturday and ran another 10 on Sunday. They look at you like you are crazy! But if you love it, that’s fun.

Next, having people to train with and share your experience with is so important. It is part of what makes it so much fun. It also helps to hold you accountable.

While triathlon is an individual sport, it should still be a shared experience.

Passing RTA teammates out on the course – even if you don’t know them – is always a boost. I love it when the blue and green takes over a race. Team RTA Triathlon Club has definitely been an asset in my triathlon journey.

I’ve also been lucky enough to have a training partner for all of this from day one. We live in the same town, are the same age, do all of the disciplines at basically the same speed, and do tons of workouts together. Having that accountability to someone else and the shared experience is very motivating.

 

Great club! Everyone in the club is super supportive and positive. Being part of the club is a great way to stay motivated year round. If you are thinking about doing your first tri and are nervous in any way, joining RTA is a great resource!  – Ken V

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