Commitment, Patience, Perseverance & GRIT
This is a story about a true "Ironman." One who displays all of the qualities mentioned above and MANY more.
The "journey" highlighted below belongs to Drew Cruz. It summarizes his long and patient journey to achieve his dream: qualify for and become an Ironman World Championship finisher.
We hope you find this inspirational and informative.
What did it take for me to complete my first 70.3 Triathlon?
Experienced Triathlete Decides to Go LONG
Meredith Kursmark is an experienced triathlete. She has finished 7 half iron distance races in the past and has qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals several times. However, she was ready for a new challenge.
In December of 2021, she signed up for IRONMAN Lake Placid. She knew she would need an experienced triathlon coach for such a big undertaking, so she began to search on IRONMAN U® for coaches to interview.
For years, Matt Durkin’s closest friend, an experienced triathlete, encouraged him to sign up for a triathlon. Each year, Matt declined because the commitment to training was daunting… plus, he wasn’t exactly the greatest swimmer. However, in December of 2021, Matt finally took the leap. Matt and his friend signed up for a half ironman the following June. Ironman Eagleman 70.3 was their target race.
Jeff's IRONMAN Journey
Matt not only CRUSHED his first 70.3 Triathlon (& only 2nd triathlon EVER!), but he qualified for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in the process. Holy Smokes!
Needless to say, Matt is a naturally gifted athlete, but he’s not superman. However, he is goal oriented, determined, discipline AND as a happily married, father of 2 young kids, he doesn’t have time to waste. He also knows what he knows and knows what he doesn’t know. Those characteristics are what will make ANYONE successful in the sport of triathlon.
Can you imagine swimming 2.4 miles and riding 112 miles with 1 hand? Me neither! However, despite having only 1 hand, Jim Williamson knew he could do it.
So, with the support of his family and a little guidance from his coaches, Jim set out to prove, “anything is possible!”
Drew’s Motivation Behind His Virtual Boston Marathon
First and foremost, we’d like to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to RTA coached athlete Drew C! He CRUSHED the 2020 Virtual Boston Marathon last month by running a 🔥3:05🔥 with a negative split of 1:30 on the back half. 😯 OUTSTANDING, especially considering all of the circumstances.
This was all done on his lightest run volume ever and in a very limited time frame leading up the the race.
2020 was the year RTA coached athlete, Ryan Astrup, planned to become an “IRONMAN.” He had planned to race the iconic IRONMAN Lake Placid triathlon in July. This race consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. In one day. With no breaks. For those counting, that’s 140.6 miles in total. Due to the global pandemic, this triathlon was eventually postponed and finally canceled.
However, that would NOT prevent Ryan from achieving his goal.
Anything is Possible With Commitment
We first met Brian Moran and his buddy Rob on the day of IRONMAN Lake Placid in 2015.
After talking to them for a couple minutes we quickly learned they were looking to get into triathlon and were hoping to do their first IRONMAN the following year in Lake Placid.
We tried to discourage them from doing an IRONMAN in their first year of triathlon, but they insisted. We gave them our card, parted ways and didn’t expect to hear from them again.
A few days later we received a phone call and the rest is history. After all, anything is possible.
Taking it Outside of My Comfort Zone with Triathlon
Bob Brown is like most of the people we coach. He’s a family man, has a successful career and he is goal oriented. He is the classic, “over achiever,” who decides what he wants and figures out how to go and get it. Perhaps you can relate.
This was the year Bob wanted to break into triathlon. However, he didn’t want to “just do a sprint” triathlon. He wanted to do a half IRONMAN or 70.3.
“I like signing up for things that are way out of my comfort zone and challenging myself to get them done,” Bob told us. “I constantly preach to my kids that they can do anything they want if they try. And I try to lead by example.” We can DEFINITELY respect that!
Meet Jim Hollentein. RTA triathlon club member and super nice guy.
10 years ago a friend asked Jim if I wanted to do a triathlon. He had run a few 5k’s and done a couple mountain bike races so it sounded doable, but he needed to learn how to swim. Nearly EVERYONE looking to get into triathlon has to learn how to swim!
The next day he went to the pool and couldn’t swim 25 yards. Following that first experience, he thought completing a triathlon was going to be IMPOSSIBLE.
That’s when the triathlon journey began.
Commitment and Perseverance
Rohit Sharma first connected with us in November of 2018. He was brand new to the world of triathlon (i.e. had not yet completed a triathlon). However, despite not knowing how to swim, he had his eyes set on IRONMAN 70.3 Atlantic City the following September. The table for his triathlon journey was set.
Finishing a half IRONMAN in your first year in triathlon is a HUGE goal, but it can be done if the athlete is committed. Fortunately, Rohit was 100% committed to his triathlon training and we had 10 months to help prepare him.
Time to get to work!
STARTING FROM SCRATCH
Tommy Nolan was inspired to do a triathlon after watching his sister do the Jersey Girl Tri in August of 2012. The only problem was, he didn’t really know how to swim very well… Oh, and his ultimate DREAM was to do IRONMAN Lake Placid. Minor details. :)
IRONwoMAN: Liz Harsley
Not too long ago Liz Harsley said “Hell no, I’m never doing a full IRONMAN, I don’t want to have to do that twice (referring to the Half-Iron distance)”. As she recalls saying this, she quickly follows up by saying “my old self was an idiot.”
LOL! We certainly wouldn’t call Liz an idiot, but it’s funny how many of us say we’ll never do something only to change our mind later. And more times than not, we’re happy with our decision.
Qualifying for the Boston Marathon
RTA coached athlete, Nick W, qualified for the Boston Marathon for the SECOND TIME! And we couldn’t be more happy for him! However, his preparation this time, was significantly different.
On July 28th, 32 athletes from Team RTA Triathlon Club started the iconic IRONMAN Lake Placid and by midnight EVERYONE FINISHED! We had the most athletes of any group this year so there was plenty of team support to go around.
It’s hard to put into words just how special this event was for Team RTA so instead of trying, we created a short video to help caption the emotion from this triumphant weekend.
RTA Athletes PR on Challenging Course
IRONMAN Mont Tremblant 70.3 was an RTA Tri Club Team Race again this year. About a dozen RTA club members toed the line in Quebec, Canada on what was a beautiful day for a race. Everyone had a great time and all of the RTA coached athletes had outstanding races including 5 PR’s.
IRONMAN Mont Tremblant 70.3 has become a popular destination race among Team RTA triathlon club members. The area is filled with endless entertainment and recreational options for all ages. And the pedestrian layout makes the city inviting, accessible and spectator friendly.
Whether it’s this race or another destination race, there is nothing more fun then racing some place new and exciting with friends & teammates.
CONGRATS to all on outstanding races and a special mention to those athletes below who PR’d. Keep up the good work!!!
How Many Times Will You Get Back Up?
Rohit is new to triathlon. Like many overachievers, he has a “go big or go home” mentality. He signed up for his first triathlon, IRONMAN Atlantic City 70.3 and contacted us soon after.
Rohit had a decent understanding of triathlon, but he didn’t know how to swim and wasn’t sure how to best prepare for the race. However, he understands the value of professional guidance and proper preparation. He’s also determined to be successful and he’s willing to put the work in.
Despite all of this, the reality was Rohit had a massive goal. Like any BIG goal in life, the journey to his finish 70.3 finish line would likely have a couple bumps in the road. And it did.
Test Results (2019)
We regularly test and re-test our athletes throughout their training programs. Positive test results ensure the athlete’s custom training plan is “working.” If results do not show improvement, it allows us time to ask, why, and make the necessary adjustments PRIOR to race day.
Test results provide us with valuable data for creating future workouts in order to maximize fitness gains for the athlete. Ultimately the data will help to establish their race day strategy. Needless to say, the end goal is to put our athletes in optimal position to have the best race possible.
We are proud of our athletes and the hard work and dedication they put toward training. Below are a some of the test results we have seen recently.
Triathlon SWIM Case Study: Jim Williamson
RTA Triathlon coached athlete, Jim Williamson, recently slashed 1:00 minute off of his 500 yard swim test. This equates to 0:12 seconds per 100 yards AND a time SAVINGS of 4:14 over a 1.2 mile half IRON-distance swim or 8:28 minutes over a 2.4 mile IRON-distance swim. Needless to say, this is SIGNIFICANT!
Jim did this in only 8 weeks.
Here are the 5 things he did and what you can do to SHAVE TIME off of your next triathlon swim split.
Jonathan Schwartz has been an RTA Triathlon Club member since December of 2016. He’s a family man, typical type A overachiever and a pleasure to have on the Team.
When Jonathan joined our Triathlon Club in 2016, he had never done a triathlon before, but obviously that was his goal for the 2017 season. Jonathan came from a running background, but was looking for a new challenge. He decided triathlon was going to be it… except things didn’t unfold the way he had envisioned.
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.
Becoming an IRONMAN
In 1990 Jeanne first dreamed of becoming an IRONMAN, but she never really thought it was actually possible.
In 2015 she toed the line at IRONMAN Maryland, but she was ultimately disqualified for an innocent mishap during the run portion of the race.
In 2018 Jeanne got sweet redemption and finally became an IRONMAN!
Her journey wasn’t easy, but no one’s IRONMAN journey is easy. Everyone has a story. And everyone has obstacles they need to overcome along the way. Perhaps that’s why they say, ‘the harder the battle, the sweeter, the victory.’