Athlete of the Month, December 2013 – Keith Trammell
Athlete of the Month
Success is easy in triathlon. All you have to do is work hard, not miss many workouts, work on your nutrition constantly, be willing to suffer, and be able to know your race day plan and execute it to a T. Sounds easy, right? Exactly. It‚Äôs not easy.
This month‚Äôs Athlete of the Month is a great example of doing all of the above and more. In addition to triathlon, his high-pressure corporate legal job which includes an intense travel schedule, his two young sons and wife, along with his devotion to the Denver Broncos are all at the top of his list of priorities, but he focused and balanced it all! This month‚Äôs AOTM should really be the Rookie Ironman of the Year as far as D3 is concerned. He‚Äôs had an awesome year of training, getting out of his comfort zone and nailing the plan at IMAZ. We are genuinely proud of Keith Trammell and his great season. Congratulations, Keith!
What inspired your start in triathlon?
I‚Äôve always enjoyed endurance sports and wanted to try triathlon for years. A few years ago, my younger brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer when he was 32. His cancer diagnosis motivated me to finally give triathlon a go, and I‚Äôm happy I did.
Of the three, swim, bike & run, which is your favorite and why?
Like many, I started out in triathlon terrified of the swim. But with a lot of help from Coach Mike and Coach Dave, I‚Äôve gained confidence and strength in the water. Rather than starting the swim with my stomach in knots, I actually find the swim thrilling and get a little giddy at the start line. Being able to relax and enjoy the swim has helped me avoid needlessly wasting energy from pre-race jitters.
Of all the equipment in triathlon, what is your favorite?
The bike, of course! Who can resist all the technology and gadgetry?
What two races helped you prep for IMAZ and why?
The SOMA Half-Ironman in Tempe, AZ and the Harvest Moon Half-Ironman at the Aurora Reservoir in Aurora, CO. SOMA is held in October, just a month before IMAZ on the same course. It gave me a great chance for race recon and to test my fitness on the course. Due to that experience, I was able to set realistic pacing goals for IMAZ and prepare mentally for the race.
If anyone is looking to train and race in conditions that are sure to challenge the fittest athletes, then the Harvest Moon Half-Ironman is the course for you. The bike course is loaded with never ending rollers and flat sections with strong, persistent head- and cross-winds. The run course presents many of the same challenges, and offers very little shade. I spent over two months training on the course as I prepared for IMAZ, and even though I got sick the week of this year‚Äôs Harvest Moon and was unable to race it, training for it on the course paid huge dividends for my fitness level in preparation for IMAZ.
Describe a moment or two from your IMAZ race experience?
This was my second season of racing triathlon, and one of my goals heading into this season was to learn the ‚Äúprocess‚Äù of a successful race. If I learned that process, I hoped that the race results would take care of themselves.Keith T at finish
IMAZ was my first race where I was able to accomplish this goal. In the lead up to IMAZ, I was trying to prepare mentally for the challenge of racing my first Ironman. As I imagined what race day would feel like, and having never run a marathon before, I knew I was going to need a moment after the bike to gather myself for the challenge of running a full marathon. I was incredibly nervous that, during that moment, I would lose focus and collapse mentally. To counter this, I spent a lot time before the race talking with Coach Mike and Coach Brad to develop a detailed pacing and nutrition plan for race day.
On race day, I had a good swim and a solid bike, but ran into strong headwinds on the way back into Tempe on the third lap of the bike course. As I came into T2, I was five minutes behind my goal time for the bike (all the pacing charts in the world can‚Äôt account for headwinds!). Rather than pause for the internal pep talk I thought I would need for the marathon, my only memory of T2 was reminding myself of my pacing and nutrition plan and not to go out too hard too early. I was so focused on the process of the race, I didn‚Äôt freak out about the run like I feared (and didn‚Äôt realize this until I crossed the finish-line with a 3:41 marathon split!). Mission accomplished.
What have you learned about racing iron distance?
I‚Äôve learned that it‚Äôs critical to enjoy everything about the race and the work that went into it. I‚Äôm a very busy husband, father of 2 boys, and have a demanding practice as a corporate lawyer. A lot has to go right for someone like me, with so many competing demands on my time, to have the good fortune to show up on race day fit, rested and ready to go.
First, I couldn‚Äôt have done it without the support of my wife who, along with my step-father and mother, were my support crew throughout race week. Second, Coach Mike helped me get the most out of my training ‚Äì which on average was just 10.5 hours a week! Third, you can‚Äôt race iron distance without paying a lot of attention to nutrition ‚Äì throughout training and right through race day. At Mike‚Äôs suggestion, I worked with Coach Brad on my nutrition, throughout the year, leading up to the race. Heading into IMAZ, I didn‚Äôt lose any lean body mass and came to race day feeling charged up and ready for the challenge.
Who is your coach at D3 and how has your coach helped you with your goals?
Coach Mike. For busy people like me, triathlon should be a fun and manageable outlet to enjoy yourself. If Mike were the kind of coach that insisted his athletes go for a 6 hour bike ride, followed by a 3 hour brick of running hills, I would have quit triathlon a long time ago. Mike understands my goal is to kick butt on race day, but have fun doing it. His training plan allows me to balance the competing demands in my life while still enjoying the fun that comes with successful racing.
What keeps you busy when you are not training or racing?
Spending time with my beautiful wife and two young boys!
Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I love to cook and eat! My mom was a caterer and chef, and I worked my way through college as a line cook in an Italian restaurant. Thanks to triathlon, my calorie intake fuels a steady diet of racing!