by Marlys Kruger, Messenger Sports
When Tim Goers graduated from Colfax High School in 2000 after a rather successful track and cross country career, he knew running would always have a place in his life. After competing at the college level for a year, he moved up to running marathons, then decided to challenge himself even further by competing in the Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon held in Madison Sept. 9.
For those of you who aren’t sure of what a triathlon involves, it consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run – all in the same race. In this case, the swimming leg took place in Lake Monona, the bike race went 16 miles out of Madison before two 40 mile loops through Dane County with plenty of hills and turns to maneuver, and the running portion included a trip through Camp Randell Stadium. Goers finished a very respectable 113th out of 227 competitors in the men’s age 30-34 age group and was 734th overall out of a total of 2,452 competitors. His time was 12 hours, eighteen minutes and 27 seconds, three hours behind the winner of his age group. Many of the competitors are considered to be professionals.
Although running 26. 2 miles is certainly not easy, it was the most familiar part of the three components for Goers. His interest in running began around sixth grade, he believes.
“I remember asking Colfax coach Joe Doucette if I could run with the high school kids during track practice,” he said. “That experience opened my eyes wide. Running with the older kids on that huge, rubber track was great. Coach Doucette encouraged me to run cross country and track in middle school which led me to run in high school and college. He, along with my family have been a big influence on me, and his passion for running rubbed off on me which is a big reason why I coach high school cross country and continue to run myself.”
Goers ran three years at the WIAA state track meet during his high school years and was instrumental in them winning the state championship his junior year. He was also a two time conference champion in the 400 meter race during the track season. After high school he ran cross country and track one year for the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. After earning a teaching degree, he eventually took a job at Edgewood High School, a private, Division II school in Madison where he teaches tech ed and is an assistant coach in both cross country and track.
Getting his start
The path to the triathalon started when a running partner of Goers competed in the 2011 event.
“I was there watching him and I saw him four or five times during the race and again after it was over,” Goers said. “He looked terrible, but I had to ask him if he recommended I do it. He, of course said I should try it next year. Another friend of mine wanted to do it and he asked if I wanted to try it with him and I couldn’t say no,” he added.
Finding time to train for such an endeavor was a little tricky, Goers discovered. And improving on his biking and swimming skills was a definite must if he wanted to be successful.
“I didn’t really start biking until this past January when I bought a bike from a place I used to work at in Madison,” he said. “Training for the swimming part came close after that. I have to admit I am an awful swimmer so that went on the back burner for a while. I ran the Green Bay Marathon to start building endurance in the spring but it was cancelled when I hit mile 21 because of the extreme heat. During the summer, I trained 20-30 hours a week and I did a mini-triathlon in June in the eastern part of the state. That consisted of a 400 meter swim, a 26 mile bike race and a 5K run. I took second in my age group and received an invitation via an e-mail from the U. S. Triathlon to compete at Nationals in Vermont in August. I turned that down to train for the big event, though. Then I moved on to a half-ironman, and that’s where I discovered I needed to put a lot more time into my swimming training. I had taken the usual swimming lessons when I was young but that wasn’t enough to be competitive so I asked another guy who was training for the same thing if he could help me. I spent the next month, one to two days a week with him, getting comfortable in the water and really working on the freestyle stroke, which is the stroke everybody uses in the competition. I’m still pretty slow but I’m at least more confident now.”
And Goers found out what happens when a few hundred competitors enter the water at the same time.
“There are arms and legs flying everywhere, so either everyone was kicking or smacking someone or they were swimming on top of each other. That part wasn’t fun,” he said with a laugh. “And during the running leg, I got sick a few times and just tried to make it to the next station.”
Goers uses his running abilities not only to stay in shape but also to motivate his high school runners.
“If I can run with them and show and tell them things on our run, they really seem to appreciate it,” he said. “I learned from one of the best coaches in the state, if not country (Doucette) about how to treat people and runners. He was always positive and he got real when you needed it. I am lucky I can still call him and pick his brain about my team, training or how to handle different situations.”
The triathlon was a great experience and a very humbling one, according to Goers.
“I think I will do it again, but not next year,” he said. “I might just volunteer at it next year and try again in 2014. The weather was perfect and I had a lot of family, friends, co-workers and members of my cross country team cheering me on and encouraging me. But next time I will know more about how to fuel my body so I can finish stronger. I would really like to qualify for the Boston or New York Marathon in the next two years, and if all goes well, I would like to qualify for Kona, which is the Ironman championship in Hawaii. But right now I will continue coaching and try a couple of smaller races around the area,” he concluded.