Michael Lindley, Senior Vice President of Regional Marketing for Huntington Bank, was not a triathlete until Huntington Bank came on as a title sponsor for the Grand Rapids Triathlon the first year. Like most of us who have become triathletes all it took was a little peer pressure and he was hooked. Since then his triathlete career has really taken off and now he has hopes of using this year’s Long Course National Championship at the Grand Rapids Triathlon to qualify for Worlds in Sweden in 2015. Check out his story.

Q: How did you get started in triathlons?
When Huntington signed on as the first year sponsor for the Grand Rapids Triathlon, some of my co-workers who were active triathletes convinced me to try to get in shape to compete in the Sprint Distance. This was my first triathlon. I enjoyed the training and the event so much that I went on to compete in seven more races that year and over 20 over the past three years including qualifying for and competing in two USAT National Championships at the Olympic distance. Triathlon has become a part of my lifestyle and I’m really looking forward to my fourth season ahead.

Q: What’s your favorite discipline and why?
I enjoy all three disciplines, but find the most excitement out on the bike course. It would be even better if I could see more of the countryside when I’m down in the aero bars! And of course, the run is always such a grind, who could say they really enjoy that!

Q: What was your triathlon highlight moment?
I decided that 2013 would be the year for my first full Ironman distance race. I trained all year and competed in October at the Beach2Battleship 140.6 race in Wilmington, North Carolina. The feeling of accomplishment and exhilaration crossing the finish line that day is indescribable. Getting out of bed the next day was also interesting!

Q: What’s been your greatest challenge?
In my Iron distance race last fall, my goal was to keep a good pace in the swim and bike and leave enough to be able to run the full marathon without walking other than brief breaks at the aid stations. I was able to do that and beat my goal time for the day, although much of the last mile was downhill and on cobblestones and I couldn’t feel my legs.

Q: What does your weekly training schedule look like?
I’ve been ramping up for the Half Iron distance at the GR Triathlon in June with a number of races scheduled through the summer, including the Michigan Titanium. My training plan has me working out six out of seven days each week. I do two swims at 2500 and 3000 meters; two bike workouts including a shorter interval/hills ride and one long ride each weekend of 2-3 hours; two runs each week including a faster interval workout or brick combined with my short bike day, and a long run on Sunday of around two hours. I also have two days of core and upper body strength workouts each week. Every fourth week is a recovery week and the workouts are dialed back a little.

Q: Any pre-race rituals?
I’ve become really fanatical about getting fueled properly on race morning at breakfast and leading up to the start. I like a big bowl of oatmeal with honey, a bagel with peanut butter and honey and a can of Ensure a couple of hours before the race. Then I always eat an Expresso gel to get the juices flowing when I’m leaving to go down to the water for the swim start. I also spend a lot of time stretching and jogging to get loose and energized.

Q: Who inspires you?
I’ve watched Craig Alexander win three Kona Ironman World Championships on television and I am so impressed with his mental toughness, even when he is clearly in considerable pain. He also seems to one of the nicest gentleman on the pro circuit.

Q: How do you reward yourself after hard training or tough races?
I try to stick to my nutrition plan very closely in the months leading up an “A” race on my calendar, so I always reward myself after the race with a trip to Wendy’s for a double cheeseburger, fries and a Coke!

Q: What are your race goals for 2014?
With the GR Triathlon named as the USAT National Half iron Distance Championship, my goal is to set a new PR and hopefully finish in the top 20 in my age group to qualify for the USAT World Team in 2015. I’m also trying to have a high finish in a qualifying race to make the trip again this year to the USAT Olympic Nationals in Milwaukee in August.

Grand Rapids Triathlon

Grand Rapids Triathlon

We are the largest independent triathlon and proud host of five USAT National Championships over the course of our nine-year history. While our event brings in some of the best athletes from across the country, we have also been named one of the Top 5 Best Triathlons for Beginners in the country according to Triathlon Business International. This triathlon event is a chance for athletes of all skill levels to compete on a scenic riverside course, perfect for the novice through the seasoned triathlete. Offering Sprint, Olympic, and Half distance Triathlons, Aquabike, Swim and Relay events, this USA Triathlon sanctioned event promises heart-pounding excitement from start to the finish.