KC Craichy’s SuperHealth Podcast: Fueling Olympic Dreams – 10 Years for 30 Minutes

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Posted on 12th July 2012 by admin in Super Health |SuperHealth Podcasts

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In today’s episode, we’ll journey from Manny’s childhood dream to compete in the Olympic Games, to training for more than ten years at the Olympic level in three sports—all to cut 30 minutes off his finishing time to compete with the world’s best. How did he do it?

Audio Transcription:

KC: Welcome to Living Fuel TV. I’m KC Craichy with special guest, Manny Huerta. Manny, welcome.

Manny: Thank you.

KC: Have you ever done something that you really liked, and you wanted to be great at it, and then you just finally figured out that it wasn’t going to work for you. Well, there’s two ways to do that. You can just move on, or you could stay with it. Now, Manny, you’ve been doing Olympic distance for a decade, Olympic distance triathlons for a decade.

Manny: Yeah.

KC: Success didn’t happen overnight, did it?

Manny: No. It’s been a lot of work. It came down to one race to make the Olympic team. It’s been a whole life of hard training and a lot of hours, a lot of sacrifices, too, but eventually it paid off. I’m very happy that I was able to finish within the top nine at Olympic trials, which was our criteria to make the Olympic team. Here I am, I’m going to the Olympics now.

KC: So, staying with it for ten years, what kept you going here for ten years? Did you have a dream of the Olympics? What kept you going?

Manny: Yeah, ever since I was a little kid, I told myself, I watched my first Olympic games. I watched it on TV back in Cuba, and it was the 1992 Barcelona Games. I saw all of these great athletes in one place.

KC: How old were you? How old were you in 1992?

Manny: Oh, I was eight years old. I remember watching that and I told myself, “One day, I want to be there.” I want to be one of those guys. That’s just a dream of a little kid. But, you know, it never changed. It just grew bigger and bigger in me, and I never gave up. I’ve been preparing for this race for my whole life. I’m very happy that I stuck with it. Many people, they choose or they have to go other ways, but it’s never give up, never give up on your dreams. When you work hard, good things happen.

KC: That’s a great story. When you think about it, you were 17 when you did your first Olympic distance. This is high school and now, here it is a decade later, actually 11 years later, and you qualify for the Olympics. How cool is that?

Manny: Yes. Back then when I was 17, I did it, I finished it. In my first race, I was just used to doing the sprint distance. But now I did my first Olympic and it was tough. I wasn’t enjoying it too much, but afterwards, I’m like, “Oh, I can do this,” and I’m going to one day race all these professionals at the biggest sporting event. The following day, I was so sore and I was so tired. But I was out there in Key Biscayne in Miami, riding my bike. Once I did the first one, I couldn’t stop training more to get even more motivated to train and race and to get all the way to here.

KC: Sprint distance is a great sport. I think that there’s a lot of weekend warriors out there that end up training for a marathon or for an iron man distance race when they really probably out to be trying the sprint distance. You know, the amateurs finish in, what, three hours?

Manny: Yeah, sometimes even more.

KC: OK. So that your body can handle as an amateur, for instance. Your body can handle that long of a stress, but when you extend it out, and these guys are doing triathlons, they are doing 14 hours, the human body was not designed for that. In fact, when the pros do it in eight hours, that’s really a different race than an amateur doing it in 14 hours. You have to fuel differently, you have to train differently. But everybody reads their books, so they try to train the same as the guys doing the long race. They don’t realize that the guys doing the long race couldn’t run for another six hours at that pace. So, it’s very interesting. I think it’s interesting that you start with sprint, but then you went to Olympic. Do you remember your times, just interestingly, back when you were 17 versus your time when you just qualified for the Olympic team?

Manny: I think my first Olympic was around two hours, 15. I think now for the Olympic trials, I did an hour, 45, an hour, 50, around there. So, it’s almost a half an hour that I dropped.

KC: So, you worked for a decade to shave a half an hour off of your time, and that particular accomplishment gets you to the Olympic games in London.

Manny: Yes. Yes. Yes.

KC: That is fantastic.

Manny: Yeah, I think that everyone out there has different goals and different dreams. I think that the smartest, easiest way to do it as a triathlete, start doing your local sprints and then work your way up. Don’t just jump on an iron man for your first race. Listen to your body. Just because the book says you have to go out and do a three or four hour bike ride, if your body is very fatigued and you’re in the borderline to get hurt, you are OK just riding an hour and a half. It’s very important to listen to your body in this tough sport, like, you have to train three disciplines to be able to even compete and finish three disciplines..

KC: For our next segment, we’re going to talk about how you fueled yourself. How do you fuel yourself to perfection in these rounds and how that has evolved, say, over the past decade?

Manny: Yes.

KC: It’s great having you with us. God bless you. Manny: Thanks, KC. KC: Hope you enjoyed it. We’ll see you next time.


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