While spectating at this year’s Boston Marathon Craig Zelent (CZ) had this conversation with Ironman triathlete and TCSD Vice President Bill Gibbs (IM).
CZ: When did you do your first triathlon and tell me about your
experience at the event?
IM: My first triathlon was a TCSD club race on Fiesta Island. I thought I was ready but I was in for a big surprise. It was in 1995, I think. I barely knew how to swim. I think I was the last one out of the water. At one point I was swimming in the opposite direction of where I was supposed to be going. I was fairly new to cycling also. It was quite a challenge and I had a lot of fun. It made me want to do more and do better. Although I didn't perform very well I felt a great feeling of accomplishment upon finishing my first triathlon. I was hooked.
CZ: When did you start thinking that you could take on the Ironman?
IM: I never really considered doing an Ironman distance race until I
finished a Half-Ironman. In 1999 I did Wildflower and Vineman. They were fun. My training buddy and great friend, Bob Rosen, called me from Canada that year after he completed his first Ironman there. He said that he's doing it again in 2000 and he could enter me in the race also. I was lying in bed sick with the flu. I told him I didn't feel up to it. He said that it's not for another year and I'd probably be better by then. I asked him if I could think about it. He said no, he had to go sign up immediately. He kept bugging me to do it so I finally told him to sign me up just so I could go back to sleep. I knew, though, right then and there, that I was now training for an Ironman and things would be different.
CZ: Was there anything specific that made you see the light and get you
to believe you could be an Ironman?
IM: I knew I could do it, but it would take lots of training. I think
anyone can do an Ironman if they are able and willing to make some sacrifices and put in the time. Good friends and faith in God also helped me get to and complete the Ironman.
CZ: What Ironman did you do?
IM: Ironman Canada, 2000.
CZ: You finished so you were certainly successful. Congratulations. Now that it is a couple of years later, what comes to mind when you think about your Ironman day?
IM: I'll never forget the Ironman race. It was a blast. I remember almost every detail. More importantly, the summer leading up to it, training with friends and by myself, will be remembered as one very special time of my life.
CZ: What types of workouts were the most beneficial to prepare you for
IM: Long, long, long stuff. Long rides, and long runs are invaluable.
Remember to do them slow. I also did long swims, in the pool and at the cove.
CZ: You've told me that you did 1 marathon 20 years prior to your Ironman. Did it help you in the Ironman to have a marathon under your belt?
IM: The only marathon I ran seems like a lifetime ago. I don't think it's necessary to run that distance before an Ironman. It takes a lot of recovery time after running that distance and there just isn't that time when you're training. There's always biking or swimming or more running to do. A few slow 2-1/2 hour runs was enough for me.
CZ: Is there another Ironman on your "to do" list?
IM: I'm signed up for this year's IM Canada again, and if all goes well I'll be at the starting line in Penticton on August 25th.
CZ: What will you do differently to prepare for your next Ironman?
IM: More long, slow runs, and maybe a few more rest days in between heavy training.
CZ: What are your short term and long term goals with the sport?
IM: Short term goals--to have fun, get healthy, and do some races. Long term, to have fun, stay healthy, do some races, and help others who are getting involved in the sport.
CZ: With your perspective and outlook I’m sure you’ll achieve those goals. The good looking women are going by now so we better concentrate on why we are here.