Athlete of the Month, May 2014 – Mike Reed
Athlete of the Month
Tell us how long you‚Äôve been racing triathlon and why you migrated to the sport:
I began competing in Triathlons during the mid 90‚Äôs. I came from a team-oriented (anaerobic) sports background, had surfed for years, and had taken up road biking. I had a number of knee injuries when I was young and didn‚Äôt want to test the waters by running a lot for training. So, for me, the Sprint distance was appealing. I thought, ‚ÄúI have an advantage in the ocean swim, I can bike pretty well, and I‚Äôll trudge out the 5K when I race.‚Äù I competed in about a half dozen and did OK. Nothing to brag about.
In 2000, our first son, Taylor, was born. Life became very busy. I squeezed in one more event just before our second boy, Dylan, was born in 2002. That was it for triathlons until 2013.
From 2002 to 2010, my wife, Chelsea, and I focused on exposing our boys to a number of sports. All the while, we continued to stay in shape by running (my wife), surfing, resistance training, or doing some core work. Our boys didn‚Äôt take to any organized sports. They wanted to run, like my wife. In 2010, Taylor did his first 5K and was hooked. Of course, Dylan had to do what his big brother was doing, so he followed suit. Before I knew it, Chelsea was into it and I was spending a number of weekends watching from the sidelines as my wife and boys competed in 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, and triathlons.
So, I decided that I was going to jump in and we could make this a family thing. However, as my wife and boys will tell you, I don‚Äôt do anything at less than 100%, and I like to see just how hard I can go. If I was in, I WAS IN BIG and I was going to explore my limits! I began training hard at the beginning of 2013. Did a Sprint in June of 2013 and haven‚Äôt backed off since? I am having a blast!!
Share a little bit about who you are and what makes you ‚Ä¶ you!
First and foremost, I consider myself a family man with absolute devotion to being a good husband, a good Dad, an inspiration to my boys, and mike reed 1a reliable provider for my family. Next, I love caring for people who have spinal disorders. It is a passion. Finally, at my core, is an incessant and unquenchable need for achievement. Everyday, I must achieve. I set goals and go after them with a vengeance. That‚Äôs pretty much it.
Please share your favorite race and why.
St. Anthony‚Äôs in St. Petersburg, Florida at the end of April. Great location, nice accommodations, well organized, many competitors, multiple racing distances for the entire family, and it occurs on our wedding anniversary. In fact, we just celebrated 20 years of marriage the night before we raced!
When you‚Äôve had a really solid workout, what‚Äôs your favorite recovery meal?
A big bowl of oatmeal & cheerios (cooked together) with Ovaltine, whey protein, peanut butter, brown sugar, and a diced banana mixed in. Outstanding!
What inspired you to develop Tri4Spine?
In 1983, I fractured my neck playing football. I was a senior in High School and played wide receiver. I was hoping to be recruited by a D1 school; however, that one hit changed my life. Thankfully, my spinal cord was not involved; I just couldn‚Äôt hold up my head because of the fracture. My physicians advised me that I should never play any contact sports and that I would probably not be able to compete again at anything that involved impact. I took the next year off after finishing High School and worked hard to fully recover.
With that experience, and the inadequate rehab available for an athlete with my type of injury, I decided to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy with a subspecialty in spine care and sports medicine. I completed my education and have spent the past 25 years working only with patients who have spinal disorders. I am a good example of what is achievable despite a severe spine-related injury or problem.
What should our readers/athletes know about Tri4Spine?
I have seen a number of physically challenged athletes competing and succeeding in triathlons. Watching Coach Dave (while we were in Naples together at the HITS Triathlon) work with the young man who has CP inspired me to launch an idea that I have had for a while. Our goal is to establish a non-profit organization called Tri4Spine. We envision identifying 2-3 spine-related challenged individuals who, despite their physical impairments, desire to complete a triathlon. We will help them rehabilitate, condition, train, and achieve their goals. It will require some volunteers, some money for equipment, and lots of patience. But, we believe that the stories will be inspiring and make the sport more accessible to those who believe they can achieve. Also, we hope to garner further recognition for the sport of triathlon.
You experienced an injury recently. What led to you needing knee surgery?
I suspect that the medial meniscus of my left knee was already torn from a sporting injury in my youth. About two months ago, as I increased my volume and speed work in preparation for St. Anthony‚Äôs, the knee became uncomfortable and boggy. I should have known better than to run through the discomfort, but I did. I just went out one day and ran 400‚Äôs as hard as I could. On my 5th 400, it popped, like a gunshot, and I had immediate sharp pain. I walked all the way home knowing that I had blown it out.
So I decide to race in the relay on April 30th in the Olympic Distance. The organizers were terrific. They empathized with my situation and decided to defer my individual registration to next year; and then they allowed a buddy, Marc Brockman, to do the relay with me.
So I did the swim and bike, hopping through T1 and T2, and then handed off my chip to Marc for the run. It was so much fun and very gratifying. Three days later, my surfing friend and an accomplished sports medicine surgeon, Frank Cook, MD, surgically reattached my meniscus, cleaned out my knee, and put me back together. I have a few months on crutches and then another few months until I can run again. But, the good news is my meniscus should be functioning almost like new.
How are you staying sane recovering?
Well, it hasn‚Äôt been easy. I think I drove Chelsea and the boys a bit crazy in the first week. I hate being laid up! However, I was able to get a training session in about three hours before the procedure. That was a good way to mentally prepare. The next day, I started doing some core work along with my knee exercises. I haven‚Äôt stopped building these training sessions since. This past Monday. 10 days post-op, I did my first swim. Pulled the whole way. Felt great. Otherwise, I have been working on various business projects. And, I have been enjoying the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
What race do you have to look forward to after you are through your recovery?
Given the rehab timeframe, I won‚Äôt be able to start running again until October. So, I might try to make the HITS Triathlon in Naples, Florida. I suspect that Dave will wisely restrict me to doing the Sprint distance if I compete. I am hoping he can join my family and me there in 2015 for a repeat of what we did this year. It was great spending time with him and watching him pull the gentleman with CP. Very inspiring.
If you could write a workout for your coach (Coach Dave), what would you have him do?
I think I would schedule an easy, but long, brick. But, he would have to let me do it with him. I‚Äôd set it up so that the pace would permit us to chat a bit and work on some techniques. Just hanging out and training together would be cool.
If you could meet up with a triathlon legend (an athlete, an industry business leader, anyone in triathlon) ‚Ä¶ who would it be?
Where would you like to meet him, and what would you like to talk about?
I‚Äôll travel to New Zealand to meet with him, no problem. I spent some time there in the late 80‚Äôs and I‚Äôd love to go back with my family. Scott and I are pretty close in age and considering his racing era (1982-1995) and tremendous career, I‚Äôd love to pick his brain about the history of the sport, his perspective on training and competing, and gain an understanding of his lifelong passion for the sport. He doesn‚Äôt seem to ever stop.