Athlete of the Month, April 2010 - Ketill Helgason

Triathlete swim, bike, run
January 31, 2017

Mike Ricci



D3: Can you tell us a little bit about your sports background? Which sports did you do as a kid and as you got older?

Ketill:If any, then that would be running , because when I was a kid I used to be sent into the hills to send sheep out of the forest, that my grandfather had grown. All other sport, I couldn't do, I was the last one to be picked into the football team, could not pull me up on the ropes in gymnasium, or jump over the stuff. As I grew older I tended more to sport like snowmobile or salmon fishing, watch F1 on the TV.

D3:What is your current job and what do you do?

Ketill: I do run my own companies, processing fish in China and import to USA and distribute there.

D3: Where do you currently live, and how is the training in the area?

Ketill: I live in Dalian, China. I live in suburb, on the beach. It is very good to run around there, lot of space and half a mile from me is a great track, 1km long. After bike for 10 min. I am out of the traffic and can bike for hours without stopping on all sorts of roads. From May I can swim in the ocean which is a 5 min walk from my apartment. I have about 6 pools to choose from, 6 of them are 50 meter pools.

D3:What was your motivation to get started in triathlon?

Ketill:After doing my first race ever, in middle of April last year, which was half marathon, then I felt so high that I was sure that I could do Ironman so I decided then that I would go for one.

D3:When and where was your first race?

Ketill:My first Triathlon race was Olympic distance in Beijing in July last year. I lasted for MAX 10 minutes, then I could not swim more, got too stressed, got some panic attack. This is how great I was. Beginning of Sept last year I did finish an Olympic distance first and only time.

D3:You recently completed IM China for your 1st IM. Why China and how did your day go?

Ketill:One of the best in my life. Even though I got so bad cramps that I was starting to think about pulling out, simply because I could not walk. Still this was greatest day . I did Finish 3 hours later than I had planned, but that was very OK due to what happened there .

D3:What workout or workouts do you feel prepared you the best for race day?

KEtill: Hard to tell, I believe they were all vital. I would not have wanted to miss any. If something , then those long bike tours, 6 to 7 hours. They became pretty handy after I had biked some 140 KM and had 50 to go .

D3:What are your long term goals in triathlon?

Being honest, of course I want to go to Kona. But while I am waiting for that, then my realistic goal would be to finish an Ironman by doing the swim all freestyle ( I did all breast stroke this time ) and run the marathon , not walk or walk and run, just run.

D3: What's in your race future?

Ketill: There is an international marathon in my city this month so I will do half distance. One year anniversary. Then there are some 5 official OLY distance Triathlon races here in China this year. I intend to go there with my club and in Sept. we have half IM distance race as well in China.

D3: What's your favorite workout?

Ketill: Hard to say, this all started because I was biking with my son ( he was jogging ) . I have had progress in swim for last months and like that now a lot. But bike with good friends in good warm weather, not too much head wind, that is nice.

D3:What your least favorite workout:

Ketill:Cant say I like them all just none, if anything, then stretching

D3: Tell us something interesting about you!

Ketill: I am 46 years old born 1963 in Iceland. At 18 years old I started to work on the trawlers and was there for 7 years or so. It was there where I got used to work like 18 hours in row, sleep for 3 hours and keep on working. That came pretty handy racing for Ironman. After that I started to run fish factory in Iceland. In 2000 I moved to China and have been here more or less since.

One and half year ago, I got tired walking up few steps of stairs. I was smoking about 3 packs of cigarettes on a good day and had done that for 30 years. I was eating more or less what was on the table. I did not think about it at all what I ate. As well I did drink quite a lot of beer and stronger stuff as well .  I did change all those things, step by step, and today I don't smoke, think about what I eat and drink from nothing a week to max 1 or 2 bottle over a whole week.

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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