November 2010 CNY Triathlon Club-Member Profile
Name: Mike Gasparek
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Camillus, and upon high school graduation enlisted in the Marines. After four fun filled years there, I decided to go to school – as cool as running around with a steel pot on your head, backpack on your back, and a rifle in your hands may be – it got a little old. I went to SUNY Canton, Clarkson University, and Syracuse University ending up with a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering. I work at SRC; it is a great company to work for and they have fitness friendly policies.
My wife Jodi has been an outstanding supporter through the years. We have two children: 18 year old Jenn (SUNY Geneseo) and 16 year old Matt (J-E high school). Without Jodi’s support I would never have the time to train; this year the IM 70.3 took a BIG chunk of my free time. We reside in the boonies between Jordan and Weedsport.
Last year I have had the pleasure of doing a couple of triathlons with my son, and this year my daughter swam in a relay team for the Syracuse IM 70.3. Being able to go to an event with my kids is a great feeling. My wife likes to work out and run, but swimming isn’t her thing. My daughter likes to swim and bike, but running isn’t her thing. They are considering doing Iron Girl Tri together, so I will help them in any way that I can.
This summer the highlight of my work week was the Wednesday night Jamesville series. Being a new member, I didn’t know anyone and volunteered to help work the first few events of the year. It was a great time and I met many of the members. Unless work got in the way, I was there early to help set-up and at the end to tear-down for the entire season.
How long have you been involved in Triathlon and what made you take it up?
I started Triathlon two years ago, kind of a mid-life crisis. It was originally going to be a one-and-done bucket list thing to do. A bunch of like-minded members from the Skaneateles Community Center (now a YMCA) formed a team (shout out to Tri-Fecta!), hired a trainer (shout out to Roman!) and we trained together. After I did my first triathlon, I was hooked.
Who is your Hero?
I really don’t have a single hero. All the wonderful people that I have met along the way have really been an inspiration to me as I learn the sport. I will not name them, but I know people who have overcome health issues, struggle with balancing work and family and triathlon, overcome self confidence issues, and a raft of other things. These people, like me, may never see the podium at an event but they go to each race putting in their best effort.
What is your athletic background?
I never played high school sports, but being in the Marines is the ultimate team sport. I am not fast but I have always loved to run and ride bikes.
What are your Triathlon strengths and weaknesses?
I am one of the middle of the pack types, so I am equally good/bad at all events. I have taken a lot of ribbing from friends on how long I take in the transitions. I really need get better at that.
What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most?
In 2009, I did the mini-Musselman in Geneva. Everyone hears about not trying out a new thing on race day, but I ignored that advice. It was my first open-water swim, and the first time that I had my brand-new wet suit on in the water. The wetsuit restricted my arm motion so much that I could barely swim and I nearly lost my goggles from a few kicks to the head. After I completed it, I went home and signed up and did Caz and the Skinnyman – hooked completely. I also traded the full-sleeve suit for one without sleeves.
What is your favorite race and why? What was your worst race and why?
I have no favorite race, and no worst race. Each has good points and bad points and I try to learn from every event. So far I have always completed everything I have started so it is all good. Ask me this again after Placid in 2011.
What are this year’s goals?
I went from a sprint tri in year one to an IM 70.3 in year two. So the logical conclusion would be a full IM 140.6 in year three, right? I didn’t volunteer at Placid last year but saw the emails about the Ironman Foundation from the club. So – what the heck – I signed up that way. Placid is going to be a challenge for sure! As long as I finish in 16 hrs 59 minutes and 59 seconds or less, I will be standing on the podium with gold around my neck.
In five years you hope to … :
Keep on going, and with luck improving at all three sports.
Something most people don’t know about you:
In preparation for Placid, I just completed my first (very slow) marathon -kind of apropos – the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. Ignoring my own hard learned lesson from the mini-Musselman, I tried something new on race day – the PowerAde that was handed out at the water stops. I trained all summer with Hammer Perpetuem (shout out to Rich!) and that worked great. I just was caught up in the moment and it seemed like a good idea at the time…… I will NEVER EVER drink anything red again!