Honolulu, HI, September 13.
There is about a month to the big show in Kona, The Ironman World Championship.
Ben Williams is one of the local athletes who earned his way to the prestigious race.
Age: 28 (turning 29 this year)
Started with Tri: St. Petersburg, Florida on April 20, 2002. A local sprint triathlon. I remember doing ok on the swim and run, but got smoked on my old steel bike. It was so much fun I had to come back for more. I raced one or two sprints per year on no particular training program until I moved to Hawaii in October 2009.
Years in Hawaii: This October will be three years. Shortly after arriving I was introduced to Pacific Velo. The guys heckled me from the get-go and it has been love ever since. There is so much talent and experience on that Team, they make it look so easy. I was inspired to make my own Ironman attempts after watching them race IM Kona in 2010.
Occupation: I am so grateful to work with everyone at Island Triathlon and Bike. It is a dream job. Frank and the entire crew could not be more supportive of my racing (and training). Race day is the easy part when hopefully everything comes together. It is the day-in, day-out regime that everyone at the shop wholesomely supports. It is also really nice to have such understanding customers: I get to wear compression socks and eat constantly while explaining the latest Cervelo aero-advantages.
Best Race in 2012 So Far: Each race comes with a lesson. It is tough to not be excessively critical of yourself when you put so much into preparation. Considering the lessons learned, Honu went well for me this year. It was a tough day.
How Did you qualify for the Ironman: This year I qualified for Ironman Kona at Honu, the Hawaii Ironman 70.3. Well, that is “where” I qualified. “How” I qualified is more of a story involving early bed times, earlier rise times, and a very supportive network of friends. My biggest supporter being my girlfriend, Rae Bastoni.
What will you be training up to the Ironman: For Kona in 2012 I am working with a triathlon coach. This is a stark change from the book plans I used in 2011. It is amazing what a load it removes to have a coach. I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to enjoy the sport to its fullest potential. It turns this into a real team sport. To have some you trust taking the mystery out if daily routine allows you to focus on the part you enjoy: the ocean swims, the long bike rides, and the sweaty runs!
Hours/mileage/sessions: Last year was a good year, but based on what is possible my totals were relatively low. I am writing this on my rest day (Sunday) after calculating last week’s totals, approximately: 13K swimming, 290 miles cycling, and 60 miles running. With a little more swimming this would have been my biggest week last year. This year I will likely peak with a 30% increase on these totals. The challenge has been keeping the quality workouts beneficial and using the other miles for real recovery. There is no doubt that I feel the strongest I have ever felt in my life. Even if the race doesn’t go to plan I have tremendous satisfaction knowing that I have never been fitter or more on-form.
Goals for this year and the future: I have set a steep goal for Kona this year that I am excited to shoot for. Locally my goal is to race well and keep racing fun. With guys like Sean Sullivan, Kirk Fritz and Penn Henderson up front it will always be a chase. And of course we take our shots at Tim Marr who always does a great job.
Equipment you use: For Kona 2012 Island Triathlon and Bike and Felt Bicycles have helped me shift to a Felt DA One. I’ve already put about 1,000 miles on it and every ride blows my mind. It is equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and Zipp Fire Crest 808 wheels. For the swim I will be in my Xterra Velocity-M Speedsuit. Running I am typically an Asics guy, but this year the Brooks T-7 racing flat has been working well for me. I secretly tried them because Chrissie Wellington races in them, she makes a compelling argument. The most under-appreciated piece of equipment is Planet Sun. I will certainly apply when I wake up around 4:20am, again before getting in the water, and will have a tube in each transition bag. That stuff is a life saver!