Summary In this episode, Coach Mike Ricci interviews Mike Reed, a long-time D3 athlete and accomplished triathlete. They discuss Mike's background as an athlete, his journey into triathlon, and his recent breakthrough race at Ironman Maryland. They also talk about the importance of working with a coach and the challenges and rewards of training and racing. Mike shares his experiences and insights, highlighting the role of mindset, perseverance, and strategic planning in achieving success. The conversation concludes with a discussion of Mike's upcoming race at Ironman Florida 70.3 and his goals for the future.
00:00Introduction and Background
03:00Getting Into Triathlon
09:00Working with a Coach
12:00Breakthrough Race: Ironman Maryland
20:00Recovery and New York City Marathon
24:00Preparing for Ironman Florida 70.3
Hi, coach Mike Ricci here with the D3 Triathlon podcast with Mike Reed from Florida. Mike has been a long time, I mean a long time D3 athlete and so happy to have him on here. He's such a busy guy with so much going on. Just finished New York City Marathon, which was on the heels of Ironman Maryland and this guy doesn't stop. So glad to have you on Mike. How's your day going?
Mike Reed (00:18.874)
Mike Reed (00:23.17)
Hey, Mike, thank you. It's an honor to be here with you. Always and my day's going great. Everything's good. I'm starting to I feel about 80% recovered from New York City. So and I've got Iron Man Florida 70.3 in three weeks. So I'm ready to go.
Awesome. That's great. So let's, let's go back a little bit. Like even before triathlon, you've been a lifelong athlete, right? And, uh, did it start with surfing or swimming? I know you're, you're a big surfer.
Mike Reed (00:47.174)
Mike Reed (00:51.79)
Yeah. So it started with skateboarding. Um, right. It did a lot of skateboarding and then, um, and you know, my father wanted me to play football. So I played football. Um, so it was sort of half for my, my dad and half for myself. And I really did well playing football and, um, I was a senior in high school with aspirations of playing D one football as a wide receiver. And I went across the middle and got hit by two guys and I broke my neck.
Mike Reed (01:20.538)
And that was the end of my football career. Um, I didn't need surgery, but, um, I came like millimeters from. Severing my spinal cord. So it was a big wake up call. And at the time in 1983, when that happened, I was told, uh, I can't play any sports ever again. And so I thought skateboarding was over. I thought everything was over. Um, he was wrong. Um, but that interest that, that. Experience helped to inspire me.
Mike Reed (01:49.758)
to go into physical therapy, field of physical therapy. I actually was gonna go to medical school and become a spine surgeon, but I really became very enamored because I was always an athlete and I liked the physical training aspect of it. So I ended up pursuing a degree in physical therapy, ended up getting an operational management doctorate in the field. And in that experience, realized that I was probably misguided with respect to what I could and could not do.
And so in college, I got back into running and then I moved to South Florida. Um, I had done a, uh, internship in, in Perth, Australia and thought maybe I had out there, but, um, headed to South Florida because Australia required, required you to work for two years in the field before you, um, you accept the position out in that country. So I moved to South Florida and took up surfing and like everything I do, I was like,
100% into it and then continuing to work on my career and I fully expected to go to medical school. But I ended up loving South Florida. I met my wife. We're going to celebrate 30 years next year and I never left. And so I've been down here in Florida for 30 years and at that time just got really into surfing and skateboarding and I was biking and running and but I was traveling all over the world surfing.
Mike Reed (03:15.878)
big waves, whatever I could do. And yeah, that was my history. But as I said, when there weren't waves, I was biking and running. And so triathlon kind of made sense.
Yeah. So what year did you do your first race?
Mike Reed (03:31.458)
I did my first race in 1984, 1994, 1994. I did my first race. Yep. And that was just a sprint and for fun, right? And, you know, it was, it was just kind of a local thing. It's big down here in South Florida. So that's what I did. And then, but, but everything for me then was just about surfing. So it was really just for, just for fun.
Wow, wow, so it's 29 years ago, right? Yeah, right on.
So do you still surf a bit?
Mike Reed (03:57.526)
I do, I still surf a little bit, but no, it's all about endurance racing now. It's completely shifted. So yeah.
Thanks for watching!
Right, right. When I met you, I mean, it must have been, I don't even know at this point, 2008 or 2009 maybe, your boys were young. I mean, they were, I don't even know if they were 12 and 10 at the time. Maybe, maybe. Right?
Mike Reed (04:11.654)
Yeah. Well, you, you know, Mike, you played a huge role in, and I know you don't realize this, but you know, I want to give you big props. So I, um, started getting into racing because when my oldest boy turned 10, uh, despite us introducing him to organized sports, he really just wanted to. Surf swim.
bike and run and he wanted to get into triathlon and I said, you know, this is something I can actually do with you. So that'd be kind of cool. And you know, me, I just wanted to really get after it. And so I bought one of your programs online because I want to do an Olympic distance race. And it was awesome having that whole, um, that whole plan played out. And I think I probably was one of the early adopters of training peaks. And
Mike Reed (05:10.03)
I just kept on reading these articles about Mike Ricci, Mike Ricci, Mike Ricci, and then you know, University of Colorado, Buffalo's, and you were coached there. And I just, you know, and that's, and so I, you know, I never worry about taking chances. So I emailed you and I said, Hey, I want to do more of this stuff. And you said, well, geez, we've got to, you know, we've got to, we've got a company and we train athletes. Would you like to be involved? And I was in. And so you, you helped me become.
Mike Reed (05:39.694)
um, way more than I thought I could achieve in, in this sport. And then my kids were so inspired. They've done your programs for certain races. So it's very cool. It's very cool.
That's great. And then you started working with Dave in somewhere around 2012 or so. Right, so it's been 10, 11 years, yeah.
Mike Reed (05:55.718)
Yep. That's exactly the year 2012. Right. Yep. So, um, I think you realized that I was a little bit nuts. Uh, and you also realized that I had some things going on in my life that were very similar to Dave. I mean, that was so brilliant of you to make the connection between, and this is something that you've always preached. It's not just about the training. It's about what your life experiences. And Dave Sheenan and I same age. Um, kids are similar in age.
Similar ages, yeah.
Mike Reed (06:25.546)
Um, you know, we're both married. We, we both serve in very similar roles. He's, you know, he's chief of staff and chief operating officer of a company. I'm chief of staff, chief strategic officer of a company. We just have very similar things. So he was the perfect match for me. Cause he understood what was going on outside of my training. And I think it just was a recipe for success. We've been working since 2012 and it's been awesome.
That's great. You know, it's funny. I always, uh, people will call me and looking for a coach or something. And I'll say, they'll say, do I get to pick them? And I said, well, no, I pick them because I'm the matchmaker here. Right? Like I know I can get a sense of people in the 10 to 15 minutes. I talked to them. I know the coaches really well, who they're going to work with. I know that better. Probably. Um, you know, if someone's super technical, I know which coach, if they need to have a swimming deficiency, I know who they're going to connect them with. If it's a running issue, um, or if it's someone who just needs a lot of handholding, I know which coach to give them to say, this person has a lot of
Mike Reed (06:57.703)
Ha ha ha.
empathy and this is the coach that's going to work well with you. You know, so that's, um, you know, that's a little bit, I always say, I don't have a hundred percent batting average, but I'm like 98, 99% pretty good that most of the relationships we have are, you know, in that decade plus. You know,
And I'm glad I was able to do that because I was early on for sure. But you've had so much success and I will say this. I think starting out, you know, you definitely showed signs of, you know, big things ahead, but it took a little while to get there. Do you think?
Mike Reed (07:50.662)
Yeah, I was a little cautious, right, because of my previous injuries. And, you know, I, because of the field I was working in at the time, which was medicine, um, I really had a very, um, strong understanding of adaptation, uh, physiological adaptation. And I, and I realized that if I went from A to Z too quickly, I could get hurt. I could burn out. There are a lot of things that could happen. So I was one of those people that.
just very methodically, you know, race to sprint distance, couple of those, worked Olympic. I actually, that was one of the first experiences with you was doing an Olympic race. I actually did it at the time when Chris McCormick was very famous and I attended his camp in Miami. And then we did the, we did the, the international distance race there with him. And boy, I tell ya,
Mike Reed (08:50.71)
I learned some lessons there. I went out hard on the bike. I think I was averaging like, you know, I was 25, 26 miles an hour and I couldn't run. I just cramped up and I just started to learn that it's not individual sports. It's one sport and you need to think about it all the way through. And so, yeah, so that's, so I just kind of was very careful. I did my first half Ironman in 2015, that was in Miami.
Mike Reed (09:20.97)
Um, and just continued to work my way up. And so to this point I've done, um, well, I've entered 16 half iron mans. I finished 15. I had a terrible crash in one of them. Um, and then I've done seven full iron mans and qualified for Kona three times. And, um, but you know, I'll race for the first time in Kona. Hopefully it all works out in 2024.
Yeah, I was going to get to that. So, you didn't get to go last time because they did that. Is it because they moved it or because something else happened? Yeah.
Mike Reed (09:55.27)
So I qualified in Tulsa at that race. And then we had COVID. And so that caused the cancellation. And then I was to race in 2022 when they had the men's and women's race on two days. And I was in getting ready for that year, which was 2022. I raced in Panama City, Florida.
then you had COVID.
Mike Reed (10:23.538)
golf coast Ironman 70.3. And unfortunately mile 53, I was coming down the beach road towards transition, fully tucked at about 26 miles an hour. I was just behind the lead pack. So we had a big lead pack and then I had some distance between me and them about 200 yards. And unfortunately this, um, ATV hauling a jet ski decided to try to make it across the road and I didn't see him and I hit them at 26 miles an hour. And.
dislocated and broke five ribs and you know, that was the end of my day and because of that act it was scary but and then There was just no way I could get ready for Kona and you know Iron Man rarely does this but they said listen We're gonna defer you to next year. And then of course the race was moved to Nice and I had a choice and I said Well, I want the Akona experience. So yeah, so 2024 across my fingers is my year
Yeah, I'm sure that was scary.
Awesome, awesome. So let me ask you a question. What was your first half Ironman time compared to where you've brought it down? Because now you're on the podium. I mean, it's pretty consistent for you.
Mike Reed (11:31.77)
Yeah. So my first half Ironman race was 507. I've now seen, I've done a couple of the challenge races, which may not be exactly, you know, a half distance, but I've had a 436, I've had in a full Ironman, a sub 445. So that's been great. And then full Ironman, I started off, my first race was
Mike Reed (12:01.91)
And my lowest has been actually not far off of that 1029. Well, then came Iron Man Maryland where it all changed.
Yeah, but you know, if you think about that, right? Like even if you are, so how old were you in 2016? You were 52 or something?
Mike Reed (12:17.386)
I was 50. I was wait, we're on 50. I'm 57 now. So 2000. Yes, I was 50.
50 and you're keeping the same speed as you age. What does that say? You know, really that means you're getting faster, right? It's hard to comprehend it because the numbers aren't showing up, but you know it. I mean, you know how you feel, right? And you feel great every day probably. Yeah, so let's talk about a little bit about Maryland. But first, was there any difference and that was a breakthrough race for you. Was there any difference for you in the buildup to that race versus the other race or has everything been pretty consistent?
Mike Reed (12:27.494)
Yeah. Yep. Yeah.
Mike Reed (12:36.007)
Mike Reed (12:52.902)
You know, I think that experiences like I had in that crash and then subsequent to that six months later getting ready for Iron Man Florida because I decided to enter that, I had another crash and broke my collarbone. And I think what that did was it maybe sort of reevaluate what's important in my life and really what I wanted to achieve. And I put less racing on the calendar.
I used to race like every month, right? It just had to, you know, I had to have something on the schedule. And I, and I stopped doing that, you know, uh, Dave and I talked a lot. Um, he has been phenomenal and helping me through some tough times. And, you know, we just decided, listen, let's not be so busy with racing. Let's focus on, um, some really important races and take the time to train and recover and, you know, nibble at the margins. And I think that made all the difference. Um,
Mike Reed (13:50.682)
You know, of course you run the risk when you don't have as many races, you run the risk of like, if you're sick or something and then you lose out. Um, but that made all the difference was being able to just take my time and, and really not be, we sometimes think that the racing is helpful to the big a races, like the C races and the B races. And I think sometimes they can take away from the buildup.
That's a great point. So, you know, as an experienced racer, I would say that racing all the time is detrimental almost, right? When I get new people or people new to the sport and you know, they're like, Oh, I'm doing a 70.3 and then I got my Ironman. I'm like, you need more experience. You need more time in transition, more time in those swim waves with the groups of people drafting. And, you know, one of the things I have to get across to my athletes is, uh, when you see those draft packs, don't let that charge you up mentally. Like just know those people are doing their thing. And that's fine.
Mike Reed (14:21.819)
Yep, I agree.
If you can, you know, you can draft legally and get a benefit from it. Sure. But if you want to back off, like you probably were at that race, you're talking about a Gulf coast.
back off and just ride your race and keep your distance. That's fine too. But don't let it affect you, right? Cause that just draws energy from you and you get to the run and you're so amped and mad and adrenalized that only lasts five miles. I mean, you still got eight miles to go. Okay, so that sounds like a change in a little bit of coaching strategy going into Maryland. And then tell me about the day and how it went. Cause I mean, it just seemed like it all clicked.
Mike Reed (15:22.198)
Yeah. So, um, it was, uh, it was pretty extraordinary, um, for me, uh, Dave and I were really looking forward to it. And I, um, I went up early, um, actually Chelsea had some things that she had to handle here in the city. And then I picked her up from the airport the day before and she was able to be with me for the race, which was great. And so race morning, um, there were some pretty profound moments. Of course, the.
swim was cut a little bit shorter because of some really rough currents. The kayaks couldn't stay upright, but they did allow us to do the swim. It was shortened, but that was great. I wanted that. I remember standing there with Chelsea and of course there was a pro field, both men's and women's, so yeah, the vibe was pretty great.
And I remember standing there and saying, cause I was already qualified for Kona. I already had my Kona slot. Um, and I just was standing there, uh, doing a little warmup and looking at everybody. And I said to her, geez, you know, 90% of these people are just here to do the race and have fun. And I'm sitting here and all I want to do is, you know, like my mind is saying race, go as fast as I can. I want to get on that podium. And I just don't know if I want that stress anymore. I said that to her. I said, you know, I just don't know if I really.
Yes, just pressure. And she looked at me and she said, shut up. You're going to go race. You'll hit that water and you're just going to race. So just shut up and go race as fast as you can. I'm like, okay. And so.
So let me stop you right there. So I see two things right there. First of all, the raw emotion of being on the beach and getting ready to race, right? All that stuff's bubbling to the top. Maybe it's insecurity. Maybe it's just truth, right? Truth doesn't, you're ready to, and then here's someone who knows you better than you know yourself saying, dude, just shut up and get in there and go. This is your thing. This is your day. Go get it. Right. And that's all the inspiration you need. Like I'm almost welling up. I mean, that's, that's phenomenal.
Mike Reed (17:06.426)
Yeah, yeah, yep, yep.
Mike Reed (17:17.359)
Yeah. That's right. That's right. Yep.
Mike Reed (17:27.41)
That's exactly what happened. And I was actually, I embarrassed to tell you this, but I was actually emotional. And she was like, you know, get ahold of yourself. And so I lined up to get in the water and she was probably more excited and more engaged in the whole thing than I was.
Yeah, of course. Yeah, yeah.
Mike Reed (17:54.766)
And she was right there when I was just about to go in the water. I blew her a kiss and boom, I was in and it was, it was, it was on. And I just remember just saying, you know what? I love this and just went at it. Um, and it just was one of those perfect days. Um, I kind of knew on the bike is a two loop bike. And I, I knew at the time I looked at my, uh, I don't
Monitor my speed it's on my second screen of my garment what I monitor is I monitor I monitor my normalized power Because I know where I want to be right and I looked at my and I really felt I was holding a good arrow position the whole time and I ended up peeking at my speed halfway through and I was averaging like 22.5 miles an hour for the race and I'm like, okay, this is on and I and so
Mike Reed (18:47.134)
It was, I didn't know where I was though. And you don't know where you were or where you are. So I came off the bike and, um, Of course I saw Chelsea literally a hundred yards out of the tent. And, um, I started running and you know, you're not supposed to give your athlete splits and she's good. She's here. She's careful, but she kind of runs beside me. She says, uh, you're in the lead. I said, Oh,
Mike Reed (19:14.826)
Excellent. Let's go. So and that's kind of how it played out. And in Maryland, it's a three and a half loops on the run. I got to see her quite a bit. And there was one guy that was chasing me. And she would tell me she'd come past her and she'd say, you need to speed up. And I'd look at her go, what? I'm running, you know, I'm at an Ironman. How can I speed up? She said, you might want to speed up a little bit.
So anyway, it was just a special day and I didn't, I don't think I would have allowed myself to imagine years ago that I could ever win an Ironman race. And I was coming down, I was at mile 24, and I think the guy who was chasing me, a couple of his buddies were in the crowd and I didn't realize it. And one of them pointed at me as I was coming around a corner. And I kind of just figured, I think he knows the guy.
that I'm like competing against. Cause he came in second place 16 minutes behind me. And then the third place was 45 minutes behind me. So he looks at me at with two and a half miles to go. And he says, you did it. You won. He said, good race. He said, you got this done. And I realized, okay, this is actually happening. And so that last two miles was just so much fun and came across the finish line.
You could hear Chelsea on the video screaming at me. So it was just, it was great.
That's incredible, Mike. That's congratulations. That's amazing. So what did the, what did the recovery look like? Cause now you're, you know, you've got your eyes set on New York city marathon. I mean, you're, you don't stop. So what happens then is it just a lot of rest the next couple of weeks, but I mean, you still probably had to get a couple of runs in, um, get the build back on and, and get ready to race, right? Mentally, obviously kind of decompress a little bit and it's a big high to come off of.
Mike Reed (20:46.29)
Mike Reed (21:08.378)
Yeah. So, you know, I always believe, um, one of the things that I've learned over the years is that, um, you need to stop and smell the roses, right? You need to celebrate that, um, and be careful not to get too far ahead of yourself because you miss out, you missed the moment. Um, so I came across the finish line and literally five minutes after I finished across the finish line, I took Chelsea's cell phone and I called Dave Sheenan. And I said, Dave, we did it. We did it. And he was so excited. We both were so excited.
I love it.
Mike Reed (21:38.062)
And then he said, okay, he said, um, I need you to recover. Um, you need a week, just take it easy, follow my plan, and then we'll get ready for New York city marathon. I said, I'm, I'm on it a hundred percent. And so, yeah, so it was really, it was a typical recovery week, very light stuff, nothing intense at all and New York, New York city marathon. So I've done Boston three times. I've done Chicago. Um, I think I've run loud. Like.
20 marathons, but New York City is special and I didn't want to screw it up. I didn't want to get hurt. And this is when you can get hurt right after an Ironman. You can get hurt easily, pull a muscle, whatever. I've been through that. And so I really was so careful not to do anything more than what he prescribed. And we just slowly built up. And then about a week and a half before the marathon, we did a couple of good long runs at a good pace. And I think the biggest difference.
Yeah, of course.
Mike Reed (22:35.878)
The thing that was the hardest for me in getting ready for New York was, people don't realize when you run a marathon, just a marathon, it's so different than doing an Ironman. The marathon in the Ironman is a very different experience than a marathon, just a marathon. And I knew that I wanted to run about a 315, 320 marathon. And so you had to get your speed. And that was the hardest part was getting my speed back.
Yeah, was that more rest or was that actually trying to get some speed work in?
Mike Reed (23:05.518)
It was a combination of rest, lots of nutrition. Um, and then, yeah, just, um, having a couple of sessions where he pushed me, you know, we did a couple of, um, 20 minute blocks over, you know, an hour and a half, two hour sessions at, you know, like a seven, actually we did a six 50 pace, a couple of them just to really get my speed back and yeah, yep. Yeah. That was hard.
So 30 seconds faster than race pace maybe. Yep. And then just for comparison, what did you run the Ironman marathon in?
Mike Reed (23:33.998)
I ran the Ironman Marathon in a 338, so about an 821 pace. I did have a cramp a mile 20, I had a side stitch. And I've learned not to run through those things, manage the moment. So I stopped, managed it, and it was great because two minutes later I was back on my pace. So I ran an 821 pace in Maryland, and then New York City Marathon was a 731.
Beautiful. And, you know, I watched you the whole way on New York City. I was watching the whole day. We had some athletes and I'm checking in here and there you were super consistent with, you know, by five case. I mean, it was on, uh, not a lot of, um, disparity at all. I mean, it was great. Do you, um, did it feel like it was pretty mechanical or did you feel like a lot of work? I mean, the crowds are huge, a lot of energy there, or did you feel like you had to work for it? Or is it just the last 10 K like take me through that a little bit.
Mike Reed (24:29.83)
Yeah. So, um, New York city marathon, as you know, you start at the Verizon or bridge. So you go up a mile and then you go down a mile and you know, that's, um, not easy. Uh, I think it was, it was, it was not easy. I mean, I was definitely, um, pushing a little bit, but I felt like I could have gone faster. Um, but I had slotted myself. I told Dave, I said, you know, I think I'm going to do a three 20 because I've got iron man, Florida, 70.3.
December 10th and I just don't want to blow myself out and he said well He said just you know see how you feel and if you want to go for it you go for it But you really can't in New York City because if you slot yourself for a certain time and you decide, okay Well, I'm feeling good. I'm gonna go faster. You've got millions of people to you got to try to run around Yeah. So I picked my lanes made up time where I could ended up running a
Yeah, it's a wall of people, right? You can't get through them. Yeah.
Mike Reed (25:26.694)
just a little bit more 316 high and it was a good day. So, but it was, it was definitely, I still felt a little bit of Maryland in those legs.
I'm sure. I'm sure. So now you've got a 70.3 and how many more weeks? Three weeks? Four weeks? Three weeks. All right. So legs recovered.
Mike Reed (25:41.286)
Yeah, three weeks. Yep. Yeah. No, no, they're about 80%. I went for my first run yesterday. You know, Dave has me run on Thursday after like a Sunday race and I just ran 20 minutes. I'm like, oh my God, I feel like I'm at mile 24 of the marathon. They were really sore. So yeah, but I think I'll be ready. I'm looking forward to it. You know, I want to get my all world gold status back.
Mike Reed (26:10.974)
because I lost it when I was injured because I couldn't race and they just won't, you know, if you don't race, you don't get the status. So I'd like to get that back so I can go into Kona with it.
Beautiful, beautiful. Well, we wish you luck in Kona. I mean, that's gonna be a great event and hopefully we can make it out there and see in person.
Mike Reed (26:27.13)
Yeah, well, I just listened to your interviews with, I'm trying to remember the names of the two. Yes, Karen Rice and Kaylee and God, I just, I was so excited. I just, I was actually on the bike this morning, just kind of doing an easy session and I was watching Kaylee and I'm like, oh, I can't wait to be out there. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I wanna take her with me.
with Karen and Kaylee. Yeah.
Yeah. She has so much energy, right? And then I have one more coming to Kathy Casey, who did, uh, she did Kona as well. And she, she's been racing for 20 plus years and she qualified and it's kind of a crazy story. It was like, it involved a Margarita, uh, Friday night and her texting me at like nine o'clock at that night saying, should I do Ironman Texas? And I was like, go for it. And that's how it all kind of came together. It was pretty wild, but it's, it's a good podcast. You'll have to listen to it once it's out.
Mike Reed (27:12.51)
Okay, I definitely will. Ha ha.
It's, uh, you know, but yeah, good luck to you, Mike. And thanks so much for the time and we appreciate it. Uh, you know, you've got so much, uh, energy and positivity and I love that about you and, uh, we really appreciate, you know, your loyalty to D3 over the, so many years, so thank you so much.
Mike Reed (27:30.13)
Well, I appreciate you guys. You've made a huge difference in my life. And as long as you're around, I'm going to be an athlete for D3.
Oh, thanks Mike, we really appreciate that. We'd love to have you. Thank you.
Mike Reed (27:40.25)
Yeah. Okay, thank you.