Friday, June 4, 2010

Interview with Tyler Wright

Earlier this morning, former NHLer Tyler Wright took a break from his current duties as Development Coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets to talk with me for a few minutes about his preparation for Subaru Ironman Canada.
Tyler Wright
Tyler is participating in Ironman Canada as a fundraiser commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Hats for Heroes program he founded in conjunction with the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation. This will be Tyler's first triathlon of any distance, and he has about 2 1/2 more months to train before race day (8/29/2010).

Becoming Timberman: What is it about the Ironman that drew you and how long had you been thinking about competing in the event prior to committing to this as a fundraiser for Hats for Heroes?

Tyler Wright: Since I retired (3 years ago), it’s been something I’ve been thinking about. I don’t know exactly what it is about it, other than the challenge, a personal feat, and an accomplishment. I talked to Wendy Bradshaw (Executive Director, Blue Jackets Foundation) last year about it, but not very seriously. This year, I told her if she got me in, I’d commit to. She called me back not much later to let me know I was in.

BT: In general, how has your training been progressing so far?

Tyler: I think it’s going pretty well so far. After I retired I didn’t do a whole lot, so it took some time to get back into athletic shape. After I got to the point where I felt like I was back in shape to start training, I feel like it’s gone pretty well. My bike and my run are probably about where they should be, but my time in the pool is behind. I’ve been going all over the place for the NHL scouting combine and other things so it’s been tough with the travel to time in the pool. I’ll have to start making the swimming up pretty soon.

BT: Have you spent much time on the time trial bike (Equinox TTX 9.0) donated by Trek yet? If so, how different is it from riding the exercise bike or your personal road bike?

Tyler: It makes a world of difference. When you’re on an exercise bike, it feels like it takes forever to do 90 minutes of riding. On a performance bike like the one Trek has been kind enough to let me ride, you look down, and suddenly you realize you have been on the bike for 90 minutes. Plus, triathlons are expensive, and the cost of the bike, the helmet, the uniform, all that stuff costs money, and when you’re doing a fundraiser having that stuff provided is really great.

BT: Hockey jerseys are universally seen as cool. Spandex triathlon outfits are generally not. Have you tried on any of the racing gear yet, and if so what did you think?

Tyler: (laughing) They’re not the most flattering outfits are they? Trek’s been great. They gave me some really great custom outfits that say Team Tyler, and I figure it’s the least I can do to wear them.  I figure by the time the race comes around and I’m done with training, I’ll be in good enough shape where I won’t be embarrassed to be seen in an outfit like that. But at the beginning of my training, I don’t think I’d want people to see me dressed like that. (more laughter)

BT: It was reported by the Dispatch that you’ve taken some ribbing from current CBJ players, some of whom have put money on the line on how well you’ll do. As development coach, have you challenged any of the guys to come train with you as a way of firing back at them? 

Tyler: The guys have been great. Derek Dorsett just got a road bike, and Jared Boll is looking at getting one. It’s a big difference between training for an 82 game NHL season and training for an Ironman, so they have to be careful. But I’ll probably at least get them out on the bikes to try and judge their fitness levels. It’s true that Commie (Mike Commodore) and I have a wager going, and I might have to bring my goal time down to  bring in some more money for the cause.

BT: Are you setting any specific time goals, or just looking to finish?

Tyler: I’m not out to win the thing, and whether that’s 13 hours, 14 hours, or 15 hours, I’m just hoping to finish without having to stop along the way. I have a bit of a goal number in my head, but I’m not ready to put that out there quite yet.

BT: Most people who do triathlons find that they get a passion for it, and just one is not enough. Do you plan this as a one time thing, or do you see more triathlons in your future?

Tylers: Oh absolutely. I wouldn’t say every year, and I want to see how my body responds to this, but I think there’s a possibility of doing more of these. I’m getting older, I’m 37 now, so I’m not a young guy anymore, so we’ll have to see how this goes. But I can certainly see how people get addicted to it. It’s like a tattoo; once you get one, you have to get another.


My focus for this interview was on the process Tyler is going through in terms of training and preparation. Of course, the real focus of this is to benefit Hats for Heroes, and if you want to find out more about Team Tyler, Hats for Heroes, or if you're considering making a donation to this effort, visit the Blue Jackets Foundation page for more information.


- This morning, the alarm went off at 5:30, and Rach hit snooze. It went off again at 5:35, and this time she said to me "If you want to sleep in, I can swim at noon." She gave me the option to stay in bed... and I didn't take it. It's the Morning of Temptation after all, topped off by the fact that we're flying to Wisconsin tonight with a big family dinner of pizza waiting for us on the other end of the flight. 1800 yards and a little less than 1 hour later, and I was really glad I'd gotten up.

- In a swim where I exceeded my expectations, I also may have figured out where the shoulder pain I have been getting during swimming is coming from. I seem to have a problem with bending my left arm as I reach out during my freestyle stroke. I started doing zipper drills (where you run your thumb up the side of your body during your stroke like you're zipping a zipper), and found my arm didn't bother me when I bent my elbow. It doesn't feel natural and I was fighting with it for the last half of the swim, but it's something I'll work on next week.

- I weighed in at 313 this morning, so I'm still going the right direction. We have the big family weekend ahead with 2 dinners out and a graduation party as well, so I'm going to have to really watch things. Especially with our next triathlon now just 2 weeks away.

- I'll be gone this weekend, but will pop in to update on the 5k we're doing as a family tomorrow, and respond to any comments about the interview. See you monday!

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