Checking in with one of our favorite pros as he nears the end of the first half of his season.
JS: You’re headed to Ironman Lake Placid July 22, but first you have Life Time Minneapolis on your schedule this weekend. How’d you make that decision?
AP: Minneapolis attracts the top competition and one of the biggest prize purses in our sport. Back in 2010, I was at the race to do some promotional work and I didn’t race. I had this pit in my stomach gnawing at me saying, ‘you know you want to race’ so I vowed to come back.
I like doing an Olympic distance before an Ironman. I’ve done it in the past and have had good success. It helps me stay out of my own way and forces me to rest a little bit. It gives me one last honest effort and, because I get a little sore after an Olympic race, I have some fatigue, so it forces me to recuperate. I’ll have eight days in between Life Time and Lake Placid.
JS: What made you choose Lake Placid? Do you think it suits your strengths?
AP: I looked around on the schedule and I picked it because it’s—I believe—the second oldest Ironman on our continent. It’s got a lot of history as a race, it’s held in a small town with a great vibe, and it’s one of the iconic American races on the Ironman scene that I kind of want to say I’ve done.
It’s a strength course and I’m hoping it plays to my advantage being more of a strength athlete. Because of the undulating terrain and the fact that there is some uphill running, I think it does play to my strengths. When picking a race schedule, there are a few races I’m dead set on doing no matter what. But about 80 percent of my race schedule is based on what’s pulling at my heart to do and where I think I can be successful at the same time. I try to race at least once every three weeks if possible.
JS: What’s your main goal this year?
AP: I’ve got a couple goals. Actually I’m full of goals. When I plan my races I try to use them as lily pads so I can leapfrog through the season. I bring a different fitness into each race. For the first half of the year, I always want start out strong and I did that in California [Potts won California 70.3 in March]. Another big race for me was Escape from Alcatraz—I had a big bulls eye on that race. I really enjoy that race and it seems to suit me. Last, I want to perform well at an Ironman in the first half of the year. I’ve been able to meet two of my goals and the last one is a big one yet to be accomplished—and that’s Lake Placid.
JS: This year you have three championships on your schedule: 70.3 World Championships, the Toyota Cup in Dallas and Ironman Hawaii.
Last year I did Vegas, Hy-Vee, the finale in Dallas and Kona. It was four championship races in six or seven weeks. It was a bit too aggressive, so I decided to pull the plug on Hy-Vee unless there are some extenuating circumstances. Hopefully I’ve got enough fire in my belly to prepare the way I know I need to prepare and perform the way I hopefully can perform.