Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2005

LTMS Wiebe’s summer running down

July 28, 2005

The way Ryan Wiebe sees it, he killed two birds with one stone this summer.

The Lexington Trails Middle School associate principal always wanted to try his hand at competing in a triathlon but for whatever reason never got his feet wet in the sport.

After some coaxing from his sister Renee, the 34-year-old finally dipped his feet in the water when he competed at the 31st Annual Coronado, Calif., Independence Day Run/Walk. Then Wiebe took a full plunge in becoming a three-sport athlete.

"After I did that 15K I thought what the heck, I'm finally going to do a triathlon," he said.

Once Wiebe committed to the Merrill Lynch Race for Sight in Columbia, Mo., as his debut triathlon, the De Soto educator decided he'd better pay the entry fee so he couldn't back out of the event.

Both of Wiebe's 2005 races were his first of their kind after he began training with Renee last August, and they have to be considered successes. Wiebe set a goal to finish the 15K in 90 minutes and ran it in 87 minutes. He set a goal of two hours for the triathlon, and finished with five minutes to spare at 1 hour, 55 minutes.

It's not surprising that swimming is his strong suit. He's been involved in the sport for 15 to 20 years. Even now, Wiebe teaches private swimming lessons when time allows.

Wiebe said he would have competed on a swim team when he attended Goddard High School in the 1980s. But the school didn't offer the sport.

He attended Kansas State University and quickly involved himself on the school's intramural swimming team and as a lifeguard. Wiebe was also employed as a swim instructor with the Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department.

While competing for the K-State intramural swim team, Wiebe often gave his opposition fits during the breaststroke and freestyle races. In fact, he usually won those events.

Wiebe was the 331st competitor to make his way across the finish line out of 439 athletes and finished 52nd in the 30 to 34 age division. After the swimming portion of the race, Wiebe stood in 76th place.

He doesn't mind running, but discovered during the race that biking was his weakest link.

"I discovered that I need to do more biking," he said. "I'm going to put in more time on the bike. I've also got to hit more hills -- especially if I go back to Columbia. Columbia has lots of hills."

Wiebe said it's important for triathletes to know the course ahead of time. He also said it's important for him to set individual goals in the swimming, biking and running phases of his races.

"That's why I'm doing this -- to set goals," he said. "I have to train for something. It's great to get in shape and have fun doing it, but I want to have an event every so often. It breaks up my training."

Wiebe has now raised the bar. He wants to complete a sprint triathlon (short course) in about an hour and a 15K somewhere in the 46- to 47-minute range.

When asked if he would ever forego the sprint triathlons and attempt an event the likes of an iron man, Wiebe simply responded with: "Heavens no, that would take too much work and too much time. They get sponsors. It becomes a full-time thing for them."

Wiebe tried to persuade his sister to try a triathlon, but she politely turned down his pleas. His sibling prefers to stick with running only.

Wiebe's wife, Breanna, works out at the YMCA as well, excelling in activities like aerobics and kickboxing.

Wiebe has his sights set on one more triathlon this year, but said he is running out of time. The triathlon season ends in late August or early September.

Self-fulfillment isn't the only reason Wiebe enjoys the thrills of competitive activity. He enjoys the spirit of the event as well.

"Everybody cheers you on," he said. "It's such a positive experience. It's something, that when adults start working and get out of the competitive scene, they don't have a lot of."

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