Nate Straathof will be trying his hand at his first full iron distance triathlon! He works for, the title sponsor, Kreis Enderle. A graduate of both Aquinas College and Davenport University, Nate has always had a love for accounting and running. He has always kept a little gas in the tank for couple road races a year. However, this year him and his wife have teamed up and they have put in more training volume than ever (less intensity, though). When they are not training or working, Nate and his wife enjoy spending time outdoors, usually playing some type of game.
Q: What is one thing you are looking forward to on race day?
A: Celebrating with an ice cold beer at the Score!, with my friends and family but, as far as the race goes, I’m looking forward to the run, it’ll be my strongest discipline and I’m interested to see how my body holds up.
Q: What inspired you to begin participating in triathlons?
A: I experienced my Tri as a spectator at the Reeds Lake last year, watching my wife compete in her first Triathlon. The atmosphere was great, my wife had a great time, and I thought I’d better give it a try. A few weeks later we caught word of the MI Titanium and thought maybe if I could learn to swim! My first time to the pool last December, I couldn’t go 25meters, but I just kept at it and now I’ve become a very mediocre swimmer
I am a pretty competitive person and think I chose the Iron distance triathlon because I believe that is the distance which I’ll be most competitive.
Q: Do you have a favorite training or race day story?
A: Wow, I’ve had a lot of key experiences while training and racing. Our first 50 mile ride, we went out on the MITI course, and about 20 miles in it started to rain and continued to rain for the rest of the ride. We were cold and miserable for 30 miles. It’s always the difficult times you draw on for strength during a race.
In May I started doing my long runs on Thursdays after work, 15 miles to home. My first week was the first 90 degree day we had in May, so hot. Then the next week it was 60 and constant rain the whole way. It’s always interesting to see what I’ll get on a Thursday (with the current heat wave, we’ve changed to Thursday mornings).
Q: How has being a triathlete changed your life?
A: Haha, I call it our baby. My wife and I get up most mornings and take care of the baby (workout). Then we get home from work take care of the baby again (workout). We schedule everything around our baby, we talk to people at work about our baby, and we spend a lot of money on our baby. Overall it has been really fun and it’s something my wife and I love to do together. Although it does take up a lot of time, most days that time would have been wasted otherwise.
Q: What would you say to encourage others to participate in Triathlons?
A: I would tell them to go watch a triathlon and to start doing the training. It’s great because you can go all out without slowly building a base or getting hurt.
Q: Any other information, stories, thoughts, inspirations, tips, goals, etc., you would like to share with other participants?
My training for an Iron is very different than my training was as a collegiate runner. 1. During this training cycle, I feel like I can push my body harder and longer than ever before. 2. However, I have yet to feel like I’m ready to really ‘race’ 100% of this event. I’ll push hard the entire day, but there will be times where I wish I was stronger.
Goals: At this point, I feel like finishing my first Iron distance tri would be a great accomplishment. However, my competitiveness has me hoping to place as well as possible. I have little idea what place I’ll be in when I get off the bike (I know I won’t be up front), but I hope to run one of the fastest marathons that day and it’ll be interesting to see how far I move up.
Tips: 1. Have a mantra, mine is “fast and relax”
Big thanks to Kreis Enderle for headlining this event and taking me under their wing. I’d also like to thank the hosts from Grand Rapids Tri, all the volunteers, and all of the event’s sponsors for making this event possible – right in my own backyard, beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan.