Endurance Sports Rock Stars — Christian Sadowski

Type: Easy Ride
Distance: 20.0 miles
Time: 1:00:45
Average Watts: 171 watts
Normative Power: 180 watts
Average Heart Rate: 154 bpm
Total Work: 665 kJ
Average Speed: 20.0 mph

The above ride was this morning, but what I didn’t tell you was I snuck in a 21 miler outside yesterday afternoon. It was excellent. The temps jumped up to 40°, so about 3:00 I left my desk and went out for a ride. I didn’t go too tough, but I did manage to throw in a couple of sprints. My time was a little slower than I wanted when I set out, but man was it a great ride. The Reader’s Digest version: 1:08, 822 kJ, 211 average watts, and HR of 165 bpm for the ride. I invited some of my pals, including the two who registered for the Double Triple Bypass with me, but this ended up being a solo ride.

So I gave myself the license to take it a little easy on my ride this morning. For 2011 my mileage is about the same as it was in 2010 for January, with the exception of the swim. Without any triathlons scheduled in 2011, I will dial back the swimming a little and substitute a couple of runs instead. Right now I am happy with my run and bike fitness. I am hoping the people I am planning on riding big events with this summer are also training.

A big shoutout to my pal Dirty Curty. He and I rode CASVAR together in 2010 and are trying like hell to get into LOTOJA. Curt lives outside of NYC and does some really cool stuff for people. I had posted on Facebook about the ride and even invited a bunch of people who could not go. When he called, Curt made me get out on the road. I don’t know how he did it. Thanks Dirty…

Profile in Being a Rock Star

I know I throw this term around from time to time, but when I do, you need to know that it is for someone who has done something exceptional. One such person is Christian Sadowski. If you don’t know his name yet, please keep on reading.

In 2004 Christian registered for an won a lottery spot in for Ironman Kona. For what it is worth, I register for the lottery for that race every year and haven’t won yet. He is one lucky sucker. I swear it is triathlon’s Golden Ticket. Along with being lucky, Christian is quick. He finished the race in 2005 in 11:10 and went sub 11:00 at Ironman Florida in 2008. Anyone who goes sub 11:00 in my book is fast.

Let’s go back to 2004. He was at mile 105 of the bike and was hit from behind by a motorcycle that ironically had been volunteering all day for the race and recently had finished their shift. The motorcycle was going about 45 mph when it hit him. Obviously there were huge problems from the crash — both with his body and with his bike.

Christian’s left calf was displaced, meaning it had spun around to the side of his shin from what I assume was the impact of the motorcycle. He immediately pushed it back into place. On the way down he hit his thumbs and elbow, making it difficult for him to grip anything. He did miss hitting his head, which I can tell you from experience can be nasty. A good head shot during a bike crash can really rattle your brain around in your skull.

While his physical problems were huge, his bike had been crushed. The frame was broken, which meant his bike was unrideable. Instead of quitting, his decision in the next couple of minutes is why Christian is a rock star in my book.

He took a couple of seconds and collected all of his gear. He took off his cycling shoes and hefted his bike on his back and started walking. Christian walked with his bike the remaining 7.0 miles of the bike course with his bike on his back and no shoes. He crossed the finish line for the bike leg of the race in 9:59 and entered T2 with a marathon in front of him.

The marathon was no cakewalk. Like I said, his thumbs and hands were really beat-up. He could barely hold water cups. But he would not be thwarted by a motorcycle running him over. Nope. He finished the race in 16:39, making the 17:00 cutoff.

Could you imagine how many chances he had to quit the race? How many times would you have thought, “It will be alright to call it a day. People will understand.” But in a subsequent interview, Christian mentioned he never thought of quitting, not even once. I am sure the thought entered his mind through his internal voice and self-talk, but each time he squashed those thoughts and kept on pounding. He is former military, so he had some mental toughness training there I am sure. But this experience goes beyond that. Somehow he knew that if he kept on moving he was going to finish before the cutoff. Here he is…


All I can say is wow. So when your workout gets tough, remember Christian Sadowski, that dude who got hit by a motorcycle and walked his bike to T2 during Ironman Kona. Use his strategy to make it to the end of a workout or the finish line of a tough race — positive self-talk can help carry you through anything. You are better than you think you are. You can accomplish more if you just keep moving…

Next week I will talk about one of my persona hero’s, Rudy Garcia Tolson. There is another rock star if I have ever seen one…

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...