On the eve of Happy Valley 70.3 (2023), we wanted to spotlight a couple of our members competing in their very FIRST 70.3 distance triathlon race. Coincidentally, we have another Penn State Alum racing Happy Valley!
Happy Valley 70.3 will be Chad Leck's first 70.3 distance race. Chad's enthusiasm and willingness to be patient and learn during his build for this race really shines. There has been no question on if he will finish his first shot at a 70.3, just a matter of when!
1) Why did you pick Happy Valley as your first 70.3?
Maybe a long answer but I started racing the end of 2021 and focused only on running. In 2022 I started doing a race every month and wanted to try different formats. I did half marathons, Savage races, a 30 mile hike, and everything in between. Around March of 2022 I asked a buddy if he would do a race with me. He had just started swimming as a way to help his own life stresses, and he asked if I would be interesting in trying a triathlon. To that point it was not on my radar, but I said ok and I jumped in the pool and taught myself how to swim and do so more effectively. In July we did the sprint distance of NJ State Tri and I was hooked. Many around me were doing longer distance races and it made me want to strive for more. I decided right then that I wanted to do a race that would scare me in terms of something being hard enough that I would need to train more and really commit to. It was then I decided a 70.3 would be my scary race of 2023. I spent 2022 looking into options and then State College announced they would be hosting their first 70.3. As a Penn State Alumni, there really was no question in my mind that this was the race for me. Finishing on the 50 yard line of Beaver Stadium after running around campus just can’t be over stated.
2) Tell us about some things you learned preparing for your first long course race.
My body does not love long endurance activities. I really struggled to build my mind and body to be ok with Long runs and rides. I also learned that having training partners and a group like PTC behind me for advice and motivation, I could grow and it was not all a mystery. I am thankful to the group as well as my training partners and mentors for their constant education along the way
3) Describe a moment during training where you experienced a set back and how did you overcome it.
There were many and most were around just not hitting my own aggressively set milestones. Struggling to get up to a full 50 mile ride impacted my mindset and I had to keep reminding myself of where I was in the process. I overcame this really by talking to people who have done this before and making sure my expectations were in line with reality. Even just having people share routes and their plans I was able to reset and I finally hit that magic milestone for me.
4) What has been your favorite triathlon-related purchase so far this year?
Has to be my bike and then my pedals and aerobars. I was riding a heavy hybrid in 2022 and to start this year and could not fathom how much a lighter bike and the ability to use the pull stroke could help me and my confidence. She is nothing special, but she gets me where I need to go.
5) What are you looking forward to the most on race day?
Just celebrating all the hard work over the past 6 months. I am going to try to enjoy the experience even though I have no illusion I will hit many points of pure suck. Also entering the stadium and seeing that finish line will be very exciting.
Go Ge Em Chad!