Al has been an athlete all his life, which translated to Ironman success. Since joining EN, he has set three consecutive Age Group course records, qualifying for Kona and even setting an Ironman PR time at age 60! He attributes his success to the Team, a group of people across the world who are positive, supportive, and eager to communicate and learn together.
Al “The Veteran” Truscott
There are four things which make EN essential to my life as a triathlete:
- The coaches know what they are doing, are continually improving their training plans and race advice, and provide over the top customer service. No limits to email or other conversation, on course at all US IMs, honest and transparent about their thinking.
- The training plans value the athlete’s time and goals. Based on the athlete’s own tested performance, they provide a steady progression thru the season, and are modular, so one can “plug and play” or “mix and match” to make the perfect plan for a whole season.
- Race execution, especially at the IM and HIM distances, is a science unto itself, and here EN shines. It’s one thing to get fit; it’s another thing entirely to know how to use that fitness. EN provides both elements for racing success.
- Finally, and most important, EN is a team. I knew early in my career as a triathlete that the support and encouragement of others is as valuable as a low resting pulse. In EN I found a group of people across the nation (and world) who are positive, supportive, and eager to communicate and learn together. The network is robust, using a Facebook-like dashboard, an email forum, a user generated wiki, Twitter, a Facebook page, special events together, not just two coaches telling folks what to do. Without the team, my recovery and return to racing may not ever have happened, and my success in races owes much to their support, and the natural desire to not let them down.
I was on age group, high school, and college swim teams. I was always the worst swimmer on the team, and a breaststroker at that. But I like the work and racing in meets. Then, in college, I became a skier in the 70s, I spent two years as a ski bum, @ age 21 and 29, and got very good – powder, trees, bumps, speed. In the 80s, I was also a recreational cyclist, mainly hauling my kids around on those seats over the rear wheel. In the 90s, I took up mtn. biking, and started doing multi-day bike tours, cycling across the country in ’97. I never ran a step until age 50, ’99, when I broke down and gave into the urge to do a triathlon I’d had since reading Barry McDermott’s article on the Ironman in Sports Illustrated, 1979.
I did my first triathlon just to scratch an itch, but after I survived, I decided to keep doing them, cause I found I like to race and I wanted to show, to myself and to others, what was possible as we get older. I tried all the distances and venues, doing Xterra in Maui 2001-08, and trying IM FL in Nov 2000. I discovered IM was tricker than it seemed, and struggled for years trying to put all the pieces together.
In 04/05, I perused the old Crucible Fitness site and finally the pieces of race execution started to click. I got to Kona and won my AG in IM CDA, and realised there were still more levels to try for. Since the Crucible race plan got me that far, I looked into how EN might help me take myself to the next level.
Training and racing are hard enough, and those are my thing; designing a season’s training plan is most definitely not my thing. I’m lazy enough to just follow the plan. Luckily, EN training plans are the real deal, with good progression and challenge built in. And if I want to go off for a week of more biking, the wiki and the coaches are supportive and help make it work.
Then, 3 weeks from racing for my third time @ Kona, I biked chin first at 25 mph into the rear of a pickup which was going 5 mph. That put me in the ICU for 10 days, damaging my spinal cord, crushing my larynx, knocking out 9 teeth, and breaking 7 bones. I lost 15 pounds, and all my strength and fitness. And I was pretty angry that I didn’t get a chance to race again in Hawaii (I’d dropped out of my last race there at mile 10 on the marathon, after overcooking myself).
I had some unfinished business there, but when I started training five months later, and then went two hours slower at my first IM in June, I worried that I might never get back. I seem to have permanently lost 10% of my speed swimming, my weight gain and training keeps getting interrupted by repeated oral surgeries to repair the damage to my mouth, and I have swallowing issues which make nutrition a bigger challenge than usual during a race. But it never occurred to me to not come back and race again.
In the fours years before I’d joined EN, I had done 7 IMs, with two Kona qualifications, and placing 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th (twice) and 8th in my AG. In my first 3 races after joining EN, I won my AG each time, settting a course record for my AG each time, and (@ age 60) a PR for the distance. Then, a year after my accident, still not able to swim as fast as before, and running a bit hobbled, I won once again to get back to Kona.