Friday, November 22, 2013

Tri-Friend: Mike Hebert - Chicagoland, IL

Mike has been a friend of mine for a few years long before ListofTriathlonBlogs was formed.  He helped me lauch ListofTriathlonBlogs twitter and facebook and we have raced a few events together which has been fun. (him finishing long before me btw).  Anyways, after 8 months of the site going I finally asked him for an interview.. mostly b/c he just started blogging when we launched and I wanted him to have more than a few posts when I interviewed him (keeping it real :)  So, without further adieu, Mike's interview.   

1. Tell us a little about yourself in a few sentences
Well, I'm a Staff Sergeant in the Army. I've spent 3 years in Anchorage, AK jumping from planes with one tour to Afghanistan in 2009 and I'm coming up on 3 years in Chicagoland, so it's about time for me to move on to the next adventure. I'm married to my best friend, Marnie and we have a wonderful 10 month old little girl, Genevieve. I started racing in 2011 and would eventually like to get placed with the Army Triathlon team and to be an age group contender at 70.3 and 140.6 distances.

2. What was your A-Race this year and how did it go?
Kinda funny. I went into 2013 with the goal of a sub-5 hour 70.3 at Michigan Titanium. I'd been riding my bike a lot more and had been running more regularly so I could start into a training plan. The Army told me that I was going to be at a 7-week training in Fort Sill, OK during the summer, so all of my heavy training was basically stopped. I did get out and do some bike racing, a sprint tri and a 5k while I was there, but nothing near what I wanted for the 70.3. All in all I was happy with how I did on the swim and bike, especially considering that I didn't swim but a handful of times in 2013. The run I blew up on. Plain and simply blew up. So, I turned the run into a social event and got to know some of the other runners. That's kind of what I do when I race, I'm a pretty social guy.
3. What is your biggest challenge about being an active duty soldier and balancing triathlon.. any hidden perks?
I'm kind of in a different situation right now, being a recruiter. I typically have more control over my workout schedule since I'm not with a regular Army unit. Where I find difficulties are the last minute "hey you..." things that come up. They typically are bringing an applicant somewhere at 6am or needing to do a uniralysis for our company. Right now for the most part the biggest balance is family and training. Having a 10-month old who can vary her wake-up time from 630 to 800 is the biggest thing. I like to let my wife sleep in, so when she wakes up at 630 it makes it difficult to get out for a morning session, but my wife has been pretty gracious to let me go for 1-2 hours in the evening with my coach, Jason Restuccia, at the YMCA.
As for perks, the Army places a huge value on Soldiers who perform well physically. It's nice to be ackowledged by my leadership and peers after doing well on a PT test, some units will give more leeway to Soldiers who are training for and performing at different levels, so I may be able to get a day or two a week at a regular unit to go for a long run or a long ride instead of what everyone else is doing.

4. For some of us that are newbies to the trainer, what training methods do you use indoors and why?
The winter is some of the best time to get hard intervals done and to increase your cycling (And running!) performance. There are a few different options depending on your budget abilities. Hands-down, the best way to train indoors is in conjunction with TrainerRoad( and The Sufferfest( TrainerRoad is software that takes the power curve of your trainer (fluid trainer i.e. CycleOps Jetfluid Pro, etc) and reads your speed using a Garmin speed/cadence sensor, then it translates that speed matched with the power curve and some crazy math that I don't understand and gives you a virtual power output. You can also work with a powermeter, but those are a lot pricier. TrainerRoad will have you do a threshold test and then you can choose one of their free training plans and work through it. I also use The Sufferfest when I truly want to get my butt kicked. Using their motto "I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow" they truly beat you. The intervals are incredible and you'll get a great workout. You can use The Sufferfest with or without TrainerRoad, but when used with it can bring your targeted training to a whole new level. The equipment does cost a bit, TrainerRoad is on either a monthly ($10/mo) or yearly ($99/year), a trainer can cost you anywhere from $100 to $500+ and the Sufferfest videos are generally $12.99 each, but you can get deals if you purchase all of them together. I was able to get my equipment before my daughter came, so that was nice.

5. You are moving to california soon, for what? how will this change your endurance sports routine?
I am! I was able to transfer my job in the army from Field Artillery to Military Intelligence, and with that I need to learn Arabic. I'll be there for about a 1.5 years learning 8 hours a day, a total of about 5 years of college in all. I'll be focusing on qualifying for the 2015 and 2016 Boston Marathons while I'm attending the school. Focusing on one sport will make the stress of learning the whole new language and having a 1 year old a whole less stressful. I also find that I am a lot more clear headed after a hard run, so I think it'll help me learning as well.
From Mike: I would just like to thank ChiTriBloggers for the opportunity. I'd also like to thank my family and friends for supporting me and EnduroPacks for helping me to reach new levels in my performance without all the fatigue.  
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