Richard Pady wins age group at Ironman Arizona
Richard Pady, Tony Frost, Murray Macpherson and Bob Knuckey all won their age groups at Ironman Arizona. Pady had his fastest Ironman to date. The Mono, Ont., native swam 55:07, biked 4:51:18 and ran 3:16:07 to capture the M35-39 category in a blazing 9:08:51. We caught up with Pady to discuss his race and racing future.
TMC: Tell us about your race in Arizona. How did you execute it so perfectly?
Richard Pady: I did a lot of research on the course before going and did a combination of riding it on a CompuTrainer along with a lot of simulated runs based on the run course profile.
TMC: Were you there for an age group win?
RP: I was not there for a win. The goal was strictly to get a Kona spot. I knew the time I needed to do, which was roughly around nine hours, and I knew that would get me a top three spot based on the history of the race. Once I was on the run, I was given the update that I was in the lead for my age and amongst the top three age groupers overall, so that definitely motivated me. Late in the race I was passed, though. I was happy with how I raced and the age group win was a special add on.
TMC: Did you go through any rough patches?
RP: I was literally one minute into the race and I had a calf cramp so bad that I was unable to kick with that leg. I actually had to let my leg hang for the rest the swim. I normally have a nice rhythmical kick, so this really threw off my swim stroke. Coming out in 55 minutes was one of my slowest ever swims – I was in shape to swim 52 minutes. I was really proud that I didn’t let it bother me too much. I got on the bike and the calf didn’t bother me at all. However, when I got to the run, it got stiffer as the miles progressed. I started out really well and right on pace. I still felt great half way, but the calf just felt tighter and tighter. I was proud with what I was able to accomplish there.
TMC: You last raced Ironman in 2009. Why the four-year break?
RP: I was in Kona in 2009 and in 2010 I was in phenomenal shape going into the early season when I was hit by a car at the Welland Triathlon. I spent nine months in rehab. I tried to use 2011 to get back into shape. It was a year filled with reoccurring injuries because of the accident. I had a lot of rotator cuff issues and I shattered my tibia, so I was dealing with both those injuries that kept causing me problems. In 2012, I made it my goal to really hammer out some Olympic distance races. I won the Multisport Canada overall series racing against some great competition. I made it this year’s goal to move on from that and challenge myself to getting back into shape for Ironman, with the ultimate goal of getting back to Kona for my 40th birthday.
TMC: How did you get involved in triathlon in the first place?
RP: I got into triathlon back in 1998, but I got my start in the endurance world as runner with a half marathon. In April of 1998 there was a local race and I found out about the race about one week in advance. So as a 14-year- old I thought it would be great to go run 10 km on the Tuesday, and I ran 11 km on the course on Thursday and ran the half marathon on the Sunday. It went really well. It was an eye opener because I wasn’t your classic racer. I was never a great cross- country runner, so I didn’t think I’d be good at it. On a very difficult course I ran 1: 45 – I later broke the course record at 1:14. At that race, I learned about a triathlon that was going to be in my hometown. It consisted of a 1.5 km swim, a 42 km bike and a 12 km run. A local lifeguard taught me how to swim. I got a Body Glove wetsuit and bought a Bianchi road bike and thought the run part would be easy. I was so far behind after practically swimming breaststroke the entire way. It was an incredibly hilly bike. And when I got to the run I pretty much walked it. I think my overall time was 3:10. I’ve done that race since in 1:55 to 2 hours. It was not a stellar performance, but I thought that this was really cool, and that started me on the path of progressing and getting into the sport. Racing locally, nationally and with the Canadian junior team.
TMC: What’s next?
RP: The 2014 season will really be the wrapup of my high performance career. Triathlon will always be in my life. But, I will be changing roles. I think I’ll have a really tough time rolling into a multisport race where I’ve been known to be in the top three or have won the race. But I know now that those days are over. I won’t really gain the satisfaction for myself, but where I gain so much satisfaction is teaching younger athletes, like Cody Beals and Angela Quick. I get a great thrill out of coaching. I look forward to that change.
Richard Pady racing the 2013 Ironman Arizona in Tempe, Ariz.