Athlete StoriesMiTi Sponsors

Interview with Ryan Leestma, Owner & Founder of MI Titanium’s New Title Sponsor ISI

This year the MI Titanium welcomes a new title sponsor, ISI.  Founded in 2002 by Ryan Leestma, ISI is a small, family-owned business that has built its reputation on providing excellent service and expertise. A premier IT service provider throughout West Michigan, ISI specializes in Cisco products and solutions.

Ryan Leestma is not only the founder and owner of ISI, but he’s also a Team USA Long Course World Championship qualifying triathlete.

Ryan got involved in triathlons four and a half years ago after his third child was born. He noticed that he had “started getting fluffy” and his wife encouraged him to work out. He joined MVP sports and got connected with a friend who taught him how to work out properly. At that point, Ryan says, “Working out became enjoyable, instead of being about beating myself up.” It was then he did his first sprint distance triathlon at Bear Lake Triathlon.

Being the owner of a successful business, the father of four small children, a husband, and training for half distance triathlons is not always easy. That’s what Ryan says is his biggest challenge as a triathlete, “Coming up with time and getting it all in.” It’s not easy to balance a business, family, friends, and his own pursuits. But he’s figured out how to make it work. One way he’s done that is to combine his bike training with travel. During the week he will bike from home to the office sometimes. On the weekend instead of driving up to his cottage in Muskegon he takes three and a half hours to bike up there and does the return trip home on Sundays. He’ll use a couple hours on Friday to get in a long run and an hour on Saturdays to get in a good swim. During the week his workouts are shorter and he splits them up doing one discipline in the morning and another in the evenings. He has a plan that covers every day of the week, but if something comes up those are the times he takes for a rest day.

When asked what discipline he is his favorite he says, “The swim, because of the great group of people I train with at MVP. I enjoy the camaraderie. It’s also the most relaxing. There’s something about seeing the sunrise out there first thing in the morning when you’re in the water.” Although he has no race day rituals, he always makes sure he has a full breakfast when racing. And to reward himself for a race well done he’ll treat himself to a 6 pack of beer.

Ryan’s biggest triathlon highlight came this year at the Grand Rapids Triathlon when he qualified for Team USA in the USAT Long Course National Championships. This came just one day after his youngest child was born (what a weekend!). Ryan plans to head to Motola, Sweden for the June 27th, 2015 World Championships. His number one triathlon goal for 2015 is just to have a great race in Sweden and enjoy being part of Team USA. Farther down the list, but still a goal in mind is getting below a 4:30 half.

Ryan is excited to have ISI involved as the title sponsor the MI Titanium. He sees it as an opportunity to give back to West Michigan and to support the local triathlon community. It’s also given him the chance to build a healthier company. Ryan has encouraged his employees to get involved and participate in the event. He’s done this by covering their entry fee and supplying them with equipment and training needed to participate. He wants his employees to have that same rewarding feeling he’s gotten through the personal achievement of being a triathlete.

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