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  • John Bye

Shawn Eckardt First-Ever IronMan (Arizona) First-Ever Half-IronMan (Montauk)

Shawn is a big dude and one of the Timber Wolves coming in over 215 pounds. Key to racing big is to figure out how to load in the run volume without getting hurt by ensuring there is ample recovery time built into the plan. Therefore, getting ample bike volume and intensity to be able to get off the bike feeling good prepares you for the opportunity to lay down a solid run. Shawn is a "follow the plan guy" which drove him to take 4th M40-44 at Montauk,


hence the nickname, "Lighthouse"; i.e., a large tower that functions in a consistent, perpetual manner... :) My favorite comment was one he shared with me was when a friend told him to cut a workout short and Shawn's response was, to paraphrase "No. I want to have a good day in Arizona and this is what John told me to do." Racing the iron distance is really hard to train for. Therefore, you either put the time in to put yourself in a position to have a good day or you periodically train and mail it in on race day ( Hence, my Kona prep... :) ). The challenge of course for first time IronMan racers is that you don't know how your body will react deep in the race. I told Shawn prior to that no matter how miserable he felt deep in the race when the Darkness Demons start to creep around you, just remember you outtrained 95%+ of the people around you.

As per the swim, as he lives on Long Island, Shawn has easy access to the ocean and does a lot of Open Water swimming. The volume was there, but, as it is difficult to vary pace in open water, therefore as Fall came, we took advantage of the colder weather and were able to move indoors and, along with help from a Master's swim program, was able to crank up his speed a bit. At Montauk 70.3 he swam a 36, so we were expecting a 1:15 +/-5 minute swim. To our surprise, Shawn popped out of the 60 degree water in a 1:09 (26th M40-44). The bike course is a 3 lap out and back with each loop having a, roughly, 18 mile false flat that kicks during the last mile or so, followed by a return to start, then you do it again and again. This year, the "climb" was met with a 20 mph headwind, not different than what he faced at Montauk, but not as cold or rainy. Our goal was to, for each of the 18 mile "outs" increase power and decrease time with each lap. Shawn's bike training has been great, however, as Shawn has a road bike with clip-ons and he would be riding a relatively flat and fast course with a 20 mph head wind during the hard part that is better suited for a TT bike, we expected, with the upright position, he'd lose about 18-24 minutes and roll in around 6:00. Shawn came in with a 5:59. :) As everyone knows the IronMan Marathon is the key to the race and our goal was 4:25 +/-5 minutes. He started out holding 10 minute miles, seemingly, got seduced into speeding up a bit during the first half marathon as we were seeing mile splits in the 9's on the Tracker, but sadly, around Mile 15 or so, we started to see the times drop as nausea set in and Shawn had to quickly reassess how to hold it together to finish strong as 12:00 to 12:30 was no longer on table. He came up with a closing strategy of Coke, water, and pretzels followed by walk/runs for the final 10 miles and crossed the finish line with a solid 12:47:51! Incredible time for anyone, but amazing for a first-timer which landed him near the Top 1/3 of his super-competitive M40-44 group. So happy for him!


Shawn is a big dude and one of the Timber Wolves coming in over 215 pounds. Key to racing big is to figure out how to load in the run volume without getting hurt by ensuring there is ample recovery time built into the plan. Therefore, getting ample bike volume and intensity to be able to get off the bike feeling good prepares you for the opportunity to lay down a solid run. Shawn is a "follow the plan guy", hence the nickname, "Lighthouse"; i.e., a large tower that functions in a consistent, perpetual manner... :) My favorite comment was one he shared with me was when a friend told him to cut a workout short and Shawn's response was, to paraphrase "No. I want to have a good day in Arizona and this is what John told me to do." Racing the iron distance is really hard to train for. Therefore, you either put the time in to put yourself in a position to have a good day or you periodically train and mail it in on race day ( Hence, my Kona prep... :) ). The challenge of course for first time IronMan racers is that you don't know how your body will react deep in the race. I told Shawn prior to that no matter how miserable he felt deep in the race when the Darkness Demons start to creep around you, just remember you outtrained 95%+ of the people around you.

As per the swim, as he lives on Long Island, Shawn has easy access to the ocean and does a lot of Open Water swimming. The volume was there, but, as it is difficult to vary pace in open water, therefore as Fall came, we took advantage of the colder weather and were able to move indoors and, along with help from a Master's swim program, was able to crank up his speed a bit. At Montauk 70.3 he swam a 36, so we were expecting a 1:15 +/-5 minute swim. To our surprise, Shawn popped out of the 60 degree water in a 1:09 (26th M40-44). The bike course is a 3 lap out and back with each loop having a, roughly,18 mile false flat that kicks during the last mile or so, followed by a return to start, then you do it again and again. This year, the "climb" was met with a 20 mph headwind. Our goal was to, for each of the 18 mile "outs" increase power and decrease time with each lap. Shawn's bike training has been great, however, as Shawn has a road bike with clip-ons and he would be riding a relatively flat and fast course with a 20 mph head wind during the hard part that is better suited for a TT bike, we expected, with the upright position, he'd lose about 18-24 minutes and roll in around 6:00. Shawn came in with a 5:59. :) As everyone knows the IronMan Marathon is the key to the race and our goal was 4:25 +/-5 minutes. He started out holding 10 minute miles, seemingly, got seduced into speeding up a bit during the first half marathon as we were seeing mile splits in the 9's on the Tracker, but sadly, around Mile 15 or so, we started to see the times drop as nausea set in and Shawn had to quickly reassess how to hold it together to finish strong as 12:00 to 12:30 was no longer on table. He came up with a closing strategy of Coke, water, and pretzels followed by walk/runs for the final 10 miles and crossed the finish line with a solid 12:47:51! Incredible time for anyone, but amazing for a first-timer which landed him near the Top 1/3 of his super-competitive M40-44 group. So happy for him!!

Shawn rolling at Montauk


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