So here’s the background:
The first guy I encounter at my first triathlon turns out to be the friendliest — and my primary competition at the back of the pack.
He doesn’t laugh at my ridiculous garage sale mountain bike, probably because his road bike, though much sleeker, is at least a couple of decades old.
He doesn’t laugh at my sidestroke, because he didn’t get out of the lake much faster than I did.
He doesn’t laugh when he blows by me on his bike after I hustled out of transition ahead of him. Nor does he seem particularly upset when I later catch him near the end of the run.
Not knowing any better, I assume he’s a beginner seeking midlife adventure and weight loss. In my newspaper column, I refer to him as a “genial, well-padded guy”– little realizing he’d give me a ton of grief for that misstep when I ran into him at another race the next month.
How was I to know that he’s a veteran of seven marathons who’s planning to tackle a 100-mile race next spring? That he is, in fact, a race director, the founder of the Gator Gallop, which has been around for 12 years now?
Yeah, I’m an idiot. And yet Chad not only welcomed me to his race, he even consented to an interview…
Q. What brings people back to the Gator Gallop?
A. I think people come back to the race because we offer a family
atmosphere, and genuinely care about how we put on the race.
Q. Do you put on any other races?
A. I help behind the scenes on several races. I will be putting on another
race this year for the Knights of Columbus festival at Headwaters Park on
Q. So how long have you been into running?
A. I have been running all my life. My training the last several years has been
up and down due to injury and job changes, but I am happy to report I am back
to training a little more regularly.
Q. What makes you think you can run a 100 mile race? Why would you want to?
A. The 100 mile race is a “bucket list” thing. Mentally I feel that I can complete
this race. I have 9 months to prepare physically.
Q. So how do triathlons fit into this picture?
A. The triathlon is just another way to test fitness. Several of my friends no longer
just run in races. It was not enough or they got bored. With the Tri, training is not as
numbing as just logging miles and the three tests seem to be easier on the body than say running a marathon.
Q. How’d you do in that weight-loss contest you were participating in?
A. In March I entered the Public division of Fort Wayne Smallest Winners. I weighed in and had 15 weeks to use the tools that were given to me by the founders of the program. We (the members of the Public division) had 2 Public workouts and 3 nutritional classes during the 15 weeks. The winner of the Public division lost an amazing 69 lbs in the 15 weeks. I lost 10 lbs.
Q. Any diet tips to pass along from that experience?
A. Food diary is critical and water, water, water. Exercise and training or lack there of will directly be shown on the scale. There are no “bad foods”, but portion control and moderation are key.