To help him on his journey, Luke has joined Team Running Free – Milton and will be sporting the very familiar Red and Black of this well represented local squad. His outgoing personality and dedication to the sport make him a perfect match for a team that continues to attract many of the top endurance sport athletes of the area.
When I sat down to create my list of potential candidates for this series, I had a good feeling Luke would be open to share his story. As usual, he did not disappoint so I hope you enjoy learning about another amazing Age Group Triathlete from our region.
10 Questions with Luke Ehgoetz
Q1. How did your triathlon journey begin? Was there an individual sport that led you into this lifestyle?
- I started running back when I was in University, simply for exercise and to try and lose some weight. I moved to Bermuda in 1997 and did my first running race in 1998, I think. My first official road race was the Bermuda Day half marathon. Wow, did I learn a lot that day. It was also the last day I wore a cotton tank top to run in.
I struggled plenty in that first race, finishing in about 2 hours and 5 minutes. After that, I was hooked on running and decided to take it more serious. I did many more races while living in Bermuda, and actually got my Bermuda Day half marathon time down to about 1:40.
I moved back to Canada in 2002 and did some more running races, but nothing too competitive. It wasn't until I started biking to work (New Hamburg to Kitchener and back) in 2005 that I really start to step it up.
In the summer of 2006, I decided to sign up for my first triathlon. It was the Subaru Sherkston Shores sprint triathlon in September 2006. I was pretty nervous at the start and asked to get moved to the last swim wave.
As expected, the swim was a real challenge, but once I got out, I flew through the bike and run and finished with a decent time. After that, I was totally hooked, and for 2007 I got the express pass and did all of the Subaru races except the Peterborough Half.
Q2. Where do you draw your inspiration from for those long, tough training hours?
- I think my inspiration comes from wanting to do better than I have in the past. For the past few years, I've had a spring marathon on the schedule (Mississauga in 2009 and Ottawa in 2010). I have a running friend here in New Hamburg that I run with (Darryl Huras) who is also a very good runner. It is great that we can go out and be equally challenged while training, and since we have had similar race schedules the past few years, it is motivating to get out there and run when you know you don't have to do it alone.
I did my first long distance triathlon in 2008 (Muskoka 70.3). It was a real struggle and I knew when I was done that I could do a lot better. Therefore, I was motivated in 2009 to train hard over the summer in order to improve upon my time. In 2009, I did the Muskoka 70.3 again and placed 5th in my AG and actually earned a spot for Clearwater. Unfortunately, I could not go, so once again, I trained hard in 2010 to qualify one more time so that I could go.
In 2010, I ended up getting 4th place in my AG and qualified for Clearwater. In November 2010, I did the 70.3 World Championship race down in Clearwater, Florida. It was an incredible experience overall.
Q3. Which of the three sports do you believe you need to work on the most to improve your overall performance?
- Well, if you look at my results over the past few years, swimming has always been my weakest discipline. In the winter of 2009/2010, and again this winter, I have spent a lot more time swimming and in the 2010 season, had much better results in the water. Still, swimming is my weakest event of the three. There comes a point where the additional swim time is only going to get me a few minutes faster perhaps.
The additional time spent swimming could be better spent either improving bike or run training that could improve overall performance by a significantly greater time. This is amplified the longer the race is. With July 2011 being my first Ironman attempt, I believe spending more time on the bike and run in the early spring will give me the best overall performance come race day. It is going to be very difficult to improve my swim time between now and July by a significant amount.
Q4. Who is responsible for setting up your training program? If you are, how do you develop the plan (magazine articles, on-line programs, etc.)?
- Up to this point, I have completely come up with my own training plans. They have not been overly complicated and I, more or less, train as much as I can in the available time that I have. Rather than elaborate here on what makes up a regular training week for me, readers can check out one of my January 2011 blog posts where I outline my plan through until the spring of this year. I didn't really base that on anything I found in a magazine or any on-line program. I simply knew how many swim, bike and run workouts I wanted to do in a week, and then I simply put that plan into action. Like many other age group athletes, I have had to work my schedule around other "life" commitments like work and family. It's tough, but if you are disciplined enough, and have the motivation to succeed, it can be done.
In addition, I have a few very experienced resources that I can check in with to get training ideas and feedback. Patti Warr (multiple Ironman AG winner), from Baden, Ontario, is a good friend and I share training ideas with her. I am also a friend of, and swim with Brian Keast (2x Ironman AG World Championship winner), and he has given me some valuable training advice in advance of my first Ironman attempt this summer in Austria.
Q5. You have tried many of the distances triathlon has to offer, do you have a favourite race length? What excites you about that distance compared to the others?
- I don't really have a favourite race distance. Each is exciting in its own way. A sprint is so exciting because it's just so fast. Every second counts here, so things like quick transitions can mean the difference between a podium spot or not. I think the Olympic distance is a very popular distance for me, because it is short enough that you have to go pretty darn hard, but long enough that you have to pace yourself so you don't blow up.
I've done four half Ironman events now, and the key element in this event is pacing and nutrition. If you don't get these right, the run can be a very dark place. As I said above, my first Ironman attempt is going to be this year, and like the Half, you must pace yourself and ensure your nutrition plan is dialed in. I think that the concern for the Ironman is that there is little room for error in both pacing and nutrition, so it makes it that much harder and for a longer period of time.
Q6. To date, which race has been your favourite?
- I'd say that from an overall race perspective, the Clearwater 70.3 World Championship that I did last fall was my favourite. The hype and excitement of race day was nothing I have ever experienced before. The bike ride was crazy fast, and despite the drafting issues, it was still very cool to be biking with so many other guys that are at the same level. It was just 2 hours and 13 minutes that absolutely flew by (at almost 41 kph!!)
Locally, in Ontario, I have always loved going up to Muskoka and doing either the long course triathlon or the 70.3 race in September. I've done every one so far, if that is any indication of how much I like it.
The Lakeside triathlon and Victoria's duathlon are also a favourite of mine because they are the close to my home, and I consider them my "home" races.
From a pure running perspective, I have always really liked the Around the Bay 30K road race in Hamilton. I've done it 3 times now and really enjoy it.
Q7. What accomplishment(s) would make 2011 a successful year for you in the sport?
- Easy. A sub 10 hour finish at Ironman Austria on July 3, 2011. Realistically, I'm aiming for a low 10 hour finish, but one can always shoot high, right? I am also doing the Boston Marathon (qualified at the Ottawa marathon in May 2010 - 3:00:49 qualifying time). My goal there is to simply enjoy the race and try to take it all in, not set a new marathon PB in the process!
Q8. If you were to walk into a bike shop with unlimited funds for one day, what would you buy?
- Another easy question. This would be a Trek Speed Concept 9.9 (picture below). Mine would be totally tricked out with Shimano Di2, Zipp Sub 9 rear disc and Zipp 1080 front. Of course, everything would have to match from a colour perspective too. Throw on an SRM or Quarq power meter and a Garmin 800 to track it all!! I still likely wouldn't have the fastest bike split, but there is a good chance I'd have the best looking and most expensive bike in transition. Now, who has $20,000 you can give me to make this dream a reality?
Q9. Do you have any other hobbies outside triathlon?
- I consider myself very handy around the home (from a building perspective). I have done many things from finishing our basement to building the two decks that we have in our backyard. Below is a picture of the deck and fencing I did around the swimspa that we put in back in 2009.
I also play recreational hockey Sunday mornings here in town during the winter. I used to play softball in the summers, but given my increased training commitments over the last few years, I decided to stop playing and devote more time to the family.
Q10. If you had the chance to sit down with any three people in the world, who would you chose?
- Tough question. After thinking about it for a bit, here is my list of three people in the world I'd like to talk to:
1 -Craig Alexander. Craig is one of the top triathlon professionals in the world, and is definitely my favourite. He's done a number of the local races (including Muskoka 70.3 all three years in a row). I'd love to pick his brain on all things triathlon. Training, life as a pro, traveling the world, etc. etc.
2 - Warren Buffet. Who wouldn't want to talk with Warren Buffet, one of the richest guys on the entire planet? I'm sure his insight into finances and investing would be incredible to listen to, especially since I work in the hedge fund industry.
3 - Oprah Winfrey. I'm not one to be big on celebrities, but Oprah is one classy lady that has everything figured out, I think. She has met so many amazing people over the years herself that I'm sure she could talk to you all day about it, and just barely scratch the surface.
Make sure you visit Luke's blog and add him to your Blog Roll!