Athlete of the Month
The Team Sheeper Athlete of the Month award is handed out to a member of the team on a monthly basis, 7 or 8 times a year. The AOM is someone who made a notable contribution to the team or did something remarkable. Selection is made by nomination and voting by the membership.
You can nominate anyone and the nomination period is usually during the first week or two of the month. Look for notification that nominations are being sought. When nomination close, the voting starts and once all the votes are tallied, the new AOM is crowned.
Besides bragging rights for a month, our AOM gets some goodies from our gracious sponsors, such as free shoes from TRH, a massage from SMI, gift certificates from GoRide.
SMI is proud to sponsor this month's athlete who embodies the spirit of Team Sheeper. SMI is a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of overuse injuries, optimization of human function and enhancement of athletic performance.
July 2009 Athlete of the Month
"Ian had a great performance at IM LP, qualifying for Kona in the process."
"Ian paced me during a Sunday run a while back, motivating me to hang on as long as possible. I will always remember his help."
- Fellow Teammates.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Hard to remember – I changed my mind a lot. I do remember wanting to be a billionaire by the age of 30; too bad I turned 30 long before Google.
Do you have a spouse or children or pets to tell us about?
Some on the team know my wife Jeanne Cooper; we were college sweethearts at Rice and have been married since 1993. She's a journalist who's retired from the daily newspaper grind but still writes a daily blog about Hawaii-related travel and events. I know – tough gig. We have no real kids but have two "fur children", our cats Mieke and Fiona. Extra points to those who know where the names come from.
What other hobbies do you have?
You mean besides tanning? We like to travel, and I am trying to learn to play the ukulele. I also have been known to engage in karaoke. And I am kind of an oenophile – that actually feeds my willingness to do karaoke. In general, I think of myself as a bon vivant with a little self-discipline thrown in.
How did you become involved with Team Sheeper?
In 2006, I did my second Ironman training on my own, and I decided I needed a masters program to improve my pathetic swim. I wasn't really looking for a tri group per se, but was attracted by the concept of the team once I browsed the web site. I showed up to a couple of workouts, liked what I saw, and the rest is history.
What is your athletic background?
I started running my freshman year of college back in 1980, at first to purge toxins. But then I tried a 10K race on campus and got hooked. I ran my first marathon in 1982, which was a miserable "hit the wall" crampfest, by the way, and then did my first triathlon in 1983. I did an Ironman in Holland on a lark in 1985 – again, under-trained and under-prepared – in something like 11:50. I did tris off and on for another 11 years, but then I gave them up in 1997 when I moved to the Bay Area (I know, I move to a training mecca and give up triathlons) to focus on running and setting PRs before I got too old. A chance meeting with the Ironman Germany race director on a flight from Frankfurt to SFO in the fall of 2004 got me back into tris.
What motivates/inspires you?
I am kind of a soft-spoken guy, but underneath that calm exterior, I'm pretty competitive and very goal oriented. Getting to do Kona, for example, has been the main goal ever since I got back into triathlon. But day to day, week to week, improvement is really what I'm after. There are lots of teammates whom I admire and am amazed by; if I can be as strong as them in a workout or maybe even stronger sometimes, that shows me that I'm improving – it’s not about beating them, but instead about raising myself to their level. Pierre in particular is a great training partner (and friend) – we’re the same age and on somewhat the same level. A good day is when he's the bug and I'm the windshield, but more often than not it's the other way round.
What races are you planning for the remainder of this year, or the future, that you are gearing up for?
Kona, baby! I finally got in, through a lot of strategy and a little luck as well. After that, I don’t know – having achieved the big goal, I need to think about my next one. But of course, I need to finish Kona first...
What is your favorite Tim Sheeper quote/story?
Tim is such a cool, laid-back zen character for whom the workouts and results seem to come too easily. So my favorite moment had to be in the middle of the night during the 24 Hours of Triathlon when he kind of lost it and was not a happy camper at all. Then I realized he's mortal like the rest of us.
What is your favorite Team Sheeper workout or memorable moment?
First, I have to say that I love the swim program – I took 17 minutes off my Ironman swim time in just 6 months of it. The workouts are fun and inventive. But I like the group events most of all, especially the ones that challenge you beyond what you thought you could do. The various Fearsome Tris and some of the Grinder rides (eg, Mt Madonna) definitely got me out of my comfort zone in a very fun and memorable way.
What would you choose as your last meal?
I'm not sure I'd enjoy my last meal if I knew it was my last, but on the other hand, maybe I'd go out with a bang. I’d have to say a 9-course dinner catered by the French Laundry, held on a huge yacht in the Mediterranean (maybe Monaco) with a wine flight that included Krug champagne and some nice Bordeaux (a great year of Petrus and also Lafite). Sounds over the top and pretentious, maybe, but it's my last meal... hey, the cats don't need a college fund.
What scares you?
Mass swim starts with 2000+ athletes. I never really get used to them.
Oh, and I am extremely needle-phobic. Good thing I'm disqualified from giving blood in the US because I've spent too much time in Europe.