Friday, October 28, 2011

NHPR's Keith Shields Talks with Danny and Amber Ferreira

Amber and I met Keith Shields at Sean Snow’s Winter Spin Class. Amber and I were getting ready for Ironman St. George while Keith was preparing for his first Ironman, Ironman Lake Placid.

Welcome to the blog.

Thanks Danny and Amber. I’m a HUGE fan of the irongirlandultrarunningboy blog.

You have a background as a runner, but relatively recently made the conversion to triathlete. What brought about the change and how does it impact your overall training?

I actually dabbled in triathlons about 10 years ago and did 2 ½ Ironmans but did it in regular bathing trunks (for the whole race), a 20 year old ghetto bike (complete with bike rack) and minimal training. Then I developed bad allergies in the water and couldn’t repair a bike tire to save my life. So, I quit the sport resigning myself to the fact that I’m just a marathoner. Then in January of 2010, out of nowhere, a thought re-crossed my mind “I want to do an Ironman!” Three days later I bumped into my future coach Sean Snow at Dos Amigos Burritos and the rest as they say, is history. As for its impact, I’ve run 26 marathons and started feeling the strain on my body. I was very happy at how much triathlon training kept my general fitness up with far fewer miles on the road. I was able to run a 3:08 marathon 2 weeks ago on only 2/3rds of the amount of running I usually do.

What’s a typical training week look like?

When I’m training for marathons, I try and max out between 70-80 miles a week. This year’s Boston Marathon training I did that and 4 spin classes/week which at the age of 42 gave me a marathon PR of 3:05. This summer for Ironman training I swam about 4 miles a week, biked between 175-250 during the peak weeks and ran only 30-40 miles. Now that I know a little more I’d like to step that up a bit for the next Ironman and I have big goals to try and flirt with the 3 hour mark for this Boston marathon which means more running miles, more spins, snowshoeing and getting in the pool earlier. Like many people, I’d love to do so much more but keep a pretty busy schedule

Wow! You do that in addition to taking an anatomy and physiology course and working full-time? Anything else that you’ve got brewing on the side?

I teach a course once a year at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester which is a blast. The course is called “Fundamentals of Audio Production” which my students learn how to record, mix and edit sound along with using the medium of sound to tell a story. I’m working on my first full-length radio documentary which will air this May on the History of Immigration in New Hampshire and I’m the very proud Race Director of a 5K road race in the West Roxbury section of Boston called “Walter’s Run”. It’s not only a competitive race with mile timers, a water stop, awards 3 deep and FREE RUNNING GLOVES to the first 250 runners but it’s got something for the whole family. We have a ton of delicious food provided by local vendors, a huge raffle of prizes, a free kids race, a visit from Santa who will hand out candy canes, temporary holiday tattoos, and Christina the Clown who makes balloon animals!!! All proceeds go toward 3 local charities that give back to the community. The Boston Globe Globe Santa, which provides gifts to children whose family can’t afford them for the Holidays. Also, the YMCA of Boston Reach Out Program that helps those of need afford the valuable programs that the YMCA offers and the Walter Burgess Scholarship Fund which assists local teenagers of need by providing scholarships for them to attend a local running camp. So it’s a great race, a fun day for the whole family and all for a good cause.

And who is this Walter Burgeese of which you speak?

Walter was a member of my running club in Boston, the Parkway Running Club. He was a good friend of mine. Walter had completed 25 marathons and finished his first Ironman in Florida. Three weeks after the Ironman, Walter passed away of an undetected heart condition at the untimely age of 40. In fact, I competed in the Timberman ½ Ironman this year. It was 10 years before that day that Walter and I stood on the shore of Ellacoya State Park with our toes in the water waiting in anticipation for our first major triathlon race. When we finished, I wanted to die, while Walter came up to me with a smile on his face suggesting we should run a slower friend of ours in (I declined). That’s the kind of guy he was, he waited to cheered on every last runner who crossed the finish line of a race and no matter what adversity he face he always had a smile on his face. We really hope to capture the spirit of Walter in the race we named after him.

As a volunteer at Lake Placid this past year, I was able to see you get out of the water into transition. While it may have taken you a little while longer than some of the pro’s, you probably seemed the most excited to be out of the water. My recollection was you saying “thank god that’s over!” How did it feel knowing that you had your least favorite part of an Ironman done?

Photo of Keith taken by Danny as he exited the water at Lake Placid.

It was a huge weight off the back. Despite hours of lessons, practice, videos and even a Total immersion course, I still am a horrible swimmer. Once I train I can go forever but I’m just really, really back of the pack slow. I’ve never been able to figure out why I can’t get faster. So it was my fear that after all that training I wouldn’t make the swim cut off of the Ironman. The day before the race the swim course looked SO much longer than what I had been swimming in the practices. So when I got out of the water with 20 minutes to spare before the cut off, I knew I would become an Ironman. Maybe team Danny/Amber can teach a Jersey auqa-flailer how to be at least a mid-pack swimmer.

That will definitely have to be Amber as I don't think I would be too far ahead of you. As impressive as that Ironman completion is, I was actually more impressed with your 42 miles at 7:40 pace for Reach the Beach. How did the two races compare?

The RTB was nothing compared to the Ironman. Running long distances is my comfort zone. I’ve lucked out to be given a body that seems to be ergonomically made to run long distances without that many problems. Plus that’s under 5 ½ hours of working out with some rests in between. The Ironman was the greatest challenge of my life. I couldn’t fathom working out for 13+ hours. I’m a slow swimmer, still somewhat unsure of my biking abilities, didn’t have a ‘tri-bike’ and every time I ran a marathon I was completely tapered and had not already covered 114.4 miles. Hearing “Keith Shields, you are an IRONMAN” was one of the best experiences of my life.
S2's Keith Shields exultant as he becomes an IRONMAN!

I know you have Ironman Mont Tremblant coming up next year, any Ultras?

Funny you ask that. I was thinking of doing my first Ultra right before I got the ring back in my ears to do an Ironman. The original plan was to get these Ironmen (mans???) out of my system then do an Ultra but a friend has been hounding me a bit to do one. Growing up in the asphalt and brick Jungle of Newark, NJ then spending my formative years in Boston, I’m exclusively a road runner...trails scare me (and I’m clumsy) and a crack in the pavement is my version of ‘off road”. Being that most ultras are on trails I was thinking this may be a problem, but my friend introduced me to this run around the lake in Wakefield. Now there is possible talk of running it next July. My thought is to either 1) Run 50 miles or 2) see how long I could run for 12 hours. That’s still less time than my 1st Ironman.. stay tuned!

So you will be using snowshoeing again to cross-train this winter?

Heck to the yeah! Last year was a total humbling experience for me. Again, I run only on the roads so running on slippery snowy trails was a brand new experience. There was lots of falling (face and back), I ran most of the time with my arms pin wheeling in the air, I used a lot of 4-letter words out on the race course. The last race I ran was the one at night at UNH [aR's Kingman Farm], that was the one that got me hooked, running down those hills with a little headlamp was a huge boost of adrenaline. I will do more snowshoe races this year... a bit of unfinished business.

Keith, as the executive producer of NHPR’s The Exchange, you must hear and get exposed to some of the most interesting (as well as mundane) stories. Tell us a little about one of your favorites.
NHPR's Keith Shields

Hmm, We did do a show a while back on New Hampshire having a larger than average cremation rate. I decided to do a ‘set up piece’ for the show and visited a crematorium in Manchester and had one of the people there walk me through the process. What I didn’t know was that even after being in the oven for a few hours, parts of the major bones (femur, os coxa, humerus) don’t completely ‘ash-ou’t. So what they do is shovel the remains into a very high powered ‘blender’ and hence... ash. I was able to record that and put in on the airwaves..l a little disgusting but definitely not mundane.

After the huge floods that devastated the Southwest corner of the state in 2005, we decided to do a show the next day on it. A guy who had to be evacuated called in live as he had pulled up to his house. He was still on the air as he walked through his home that was now submerged in several feet of water... It was ‘amazing radio’ as we like to say. Those things can’t be planned.

Also when Senator Joseph Lieberman came on the show I told him that I’ve lived for the past 20 years as a Yankee’s fan in enemy Red Sox terrorist and got a full-on, both arms around the back hug from the Senator.

Okay, serious question. We know you’re a Yankees fan so: Who would win in a fight? Mike Dikta or Derek Jeter? How about Jeter versus a Hurricane? What if the Hurricane’s name was Dikta?

Well Jeter was born in New Jersey, not too far from where I grew up so that gives him magical powers... He could totally take Ditka, especially with a bat in his hand. As for the Hurricane... it depends I guess. The storm... I’d totally put my money on Jeter, if he goes against Hurricane Rubin Carter (“Here comes the story of the Hurricane...”), Well Carter is from Jersey as well so that cancels each other out... a tough call. If he went against Danny and Amber... another tough call as they are the Jeter and Jeteress of the New England multisport world.

Thanks for being on the blog!
Thanks so much- this was fun!!!

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