September 28, 2021
CHAPTER ONE: ORCA PRO TRIATHLETE, ANDREW STARYKOWICZ, TALKS WITH US ABOUT HIS DECISION TO RACE IN SW
Starykowicz tells us about his experience in preparing for and participating in the famous SwimRun NC, which will be held next November in North Carolina, USA.
ANDREW STARYKOWICZ - Professional triathlete
I have always been intrigued by off road racing. I have trained far more miles off road than on road the last decade. This year was the first year in which Xterra events worked into my calendar and my plan this fall was to race Xterra Word Championships in Maui at the end of October. Unfortunately, it was postponed to the weekend that coincided with CLASH Daytona. Still looking to get my off-road fix this Fall, SwimRun North Carolina immediately made it on to the calendar.
The first challenge for SwimRun is finding a compatible partner. That task sounds easy but quickly became a lot more complicated than I expected. I made a list of male and female endurance athletes, that I thought would be compatible swimmers and runners with myself. It was also important to make sure that they would be fun to race with. Then I started crossing them off based on how adventurous I think they would be. Let’s face it, a large portion of triathletes shy away if a course is not perfectly measured and pedicured for their feet.
This process helped shortened the list of candidates. Next up was desire, availability, and proximity. Many have aspirations of racing an event in early November. Though, another challenge for some elite and professional athletes is that this was “for fun” with no prize money on the line.
Finally, I narrowed it down to a list of 3 athletes. Robin Pomeroy, Sarah True, & Jarrod Shoemaker. Robin, who has swim run experience & success. Sarah True who I have competed with since we both entered the sport nearly 20 years ago. I felt we would both have a candid approach to the race and our ‘faux pas’ along the way. Finally, Jarrod, we raced for 15 years against each other and never spoke. Now we chat routinely as Jarrod has moved to adventure racing. In the end, I decided that Jarrod and I would make quite a pair of savages.
Before training for SwimRun, I had to get my head around the rules and equipment. For starters the swims would be with paddles, pull buoy, and wearing running shoes. This sounds like the hellish pull sets I used to have when I was swimming competitively. Then you have to run with all your swim gear on. I am talking paddles, goggles, and pull buoy. That is at least until the 1st swim, which from that point on you are running in sopping wet shoes and socks still with all your swim gear. Oh, that joy of running in shoes that weigh a ton and are all squishy squashy. Actually, it sounds entertaining, and a fun challenge.
From there, I looked at the course. November, North Carolina, there is no way that water will be over 60 degrees. I realized I would need a swim run race suit. The race consists of 16 miles of running and 3k of swimming, broken into 11 runs, and 9 swims, with plenty of elevation. I am expecting the race will be around 2.5 hours. This also means nutrition will play a roll. I will have to keep that in the back of my head. So, now that I have ordered my race suit, and found my partner, and found my race, it is time to start training.
Training to do what? Have fun, get wet, muddy, and WIN, of course!
Follow my Twitter, @starykowicz, for updates on my training for SwimRun North Carolina on November 7th!
ABOUT ANDREW STARYKOWICZ
Andrew Starykowicz has been with Orca for more than 10 years. While with us he has won several 70.3’s, Ironmans, a few of them leading wire to wire. He was the 1st American to ever go under 8 hours in an Ironman (2013). Not only does Andrew represent Orca on the race course he helps with product development keeping Orca at the forefront of speed.