I recently spoke with good friend and frequent training partner and Souplantation diner Mike Drury (MD) about triathlon and the Ironman. I thought you'd enjoy some excerpts from that conversation.
CZ: I know you ran track at Ohio State. What other sports have you been involved in?
MD: I was raised playing football, basketball and baseball. Guys running around in tights and Speedos were sort of looked down upon in Ohio. Track at Ohio State was a good humbling experience. I walked on my sophomore year and proceeded to get my ass kicked all season. I only made the top 7 of my team once and ran in 2 cross-country meets the whole year (they let everyone run in our home invitational). I think half the team was sick with the flu or injured the week I made the top 7. I then ran indoor that season and continued to get my ass kicked, lucky for me they let everyone run in home meets. I got a lot faster, but after indoor I had had enough of running, so I quit. I seemed to have a problem staying sober on the weekends, therefore making 10-15 mile training runs @ 6:00-6:15 pace on Saturday and Sunday mornings very difficult and not much fun. I had a lot more fun doing keg stands and tailgating before games. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it exactly the same way, except for that time I got arrested! Go Bucks!!!
CZ: What was your inspiration that got you started with triathlon?
MD: I moved to San Diego in March of 1998. That first week I went to Road Runner Sports to buy some running shoes and saw a Tri Club newsletter or something. Anyway there was a 10-mile run that weekend at Fanual Park in PB, a few blocks from my house, so I went. Two weeks later I bought a 51 cm used road bike. I’m 5-10. I was clueless on size, but it got me started. The rest is history.
CZ: Once you got the triathlon bug, how long did it take before you wanted to tackle the Ironman?
MD: It was my second year racing and in San Diego and I was working at QR with the now defunct USTS Race Series. I traveled to all the races in about 10 different cities. In July I realized that Hawaii was on my birthday that year and I thought it would be cool to do, but the only qualifier left was the Full Vineman in August, it had 4 spots in my age group. The problem was that I had to work at a race in Detroit the same day as Vineman. Anyway a few days later they changed the date of the Detroit race. So I signed up for the Full Vineman. Needless to say Vineman was tough and I didn't qualify. I would not reccomend having your long training run for an Ironman be 10 miles. I ended up doing “The Great Floridian” that year instead. It was the same day as Hawaii and my Birthday.
CZ: What Ironmans have you raced and what were your times?
MD: 1999 Full Vineman – 10:44
1999 Great Floridian – 10:03
2000 IM California – 10:16
2000 IM Hawaii – 10:25
2001 IM California – 9:40
2001 IM Hawaii – 11:04
2003 IMCDA – TBD
2003 Hopefully Hawaii if not The Great Floridian (It’s a great race and I would recommend it to all)
CZ: One of my favorite races ever was that 2001 Ironman California race. I finished in 9:49 and vividly remember trying so hard to catch you during the run. For me, it was the race within the race and I had a great time with that even though you still beat me in the end. Was being chased by me any motivation for you during that race?
MD: Hell yea! After kicking your ass all year in training, there was no way I could let a 40 year old man beat me. Just kidding. Definitely one of my favorites too. For that race I had no expectations, I was in so much better shape the year before. I kept waiting to die on the run like in the past, but I never did. But that’s the thing with Ironman, you just never know? As for our little race, I remember Tom Pitzkin kept updating me where you were. On the second lap he told me that I dropped you and I never saw you again. I was worried that you had nutritional problems again (as you skinny guys often do!) and didn’t finish. It was a great feeling when I found out that we both qualified.
CZ: Ah yes, but a better memory for me was passing you on the run at Kona that year. MD: Not for me.
CZ: But seriously, you've had plenty of success training and racing the Ironman. What do you recommend for people attempting their first Ironman race?
MD: Have fun and make it an enjoyable experience. Find a good group of people who you like being with for those long rides and runs. And whatever you do, JUST FINISH! I was told that it hurts a lot more after if you don’t finish. Additionally, If your back is ever killing you on the bike, don’t take five 800 MG ibuprofens on the way to Hawi or Craig will run by you while you are in every Port-O-Potty between mile 10-26.
CZ: What do you recommend for people trying to qualify for Kona for the first time?
MD: Everyone will tell you something different and what is right for one person is not right for the other. However for me I feel that you need to do a lot of high miles and build a good base. I think it is important to be able to run off the bike. Which for me usually means running for 7-10 miles after long rides once a week from about 8 weeks out. It’s all in the run. If you are contemplating swimming for a 4th or 5th time that week, skip it and go run for an hour. Don’t taper to long, it’s too easy to get fat. I like 10 days. Finally, during the race, especially the bike and 1st half of the run - STAY IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE! Don’t chase Hanz Van Speedo who passes you at mile 35 going 27 MPH. If you race your race you’ll see him again on the run.
CZ: Last August we both raced Nationals and qualified to race for Team USA at the World Championships. How do you think the Tri Worlds experience will compare to your experiences at Kona?
MD: I think it will be a lot more intense. Not that Kona is not intense, but half of it is just getting there and you are battling the elements and yourself more than the other competitors. At Nationals and Worlds everyone there in your wave is so fast and the race only last 2 hours. The difference between 1st and 50th is only minutes.
CZ: What will racing for Team USA mean to you?
MD: It will be a great experience to represent my country and race. It is something that I am proud and honored to do.
CZ: Thanks for the time, Mike. I wish you the best in Idaho this June. It would be great if you can qualify for Kona again so we can renew the duel in the lava fields. I also can't wait for our Triathlon Worlds experience in New Zealand in December.