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Athlete Spotlight: Roger Mathieu

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

Name | Roger Mathieu

What is your favorite sport/activity?

This is a tough one, because there is so much stuff that I love to do, from hiking to hockey, rock climbing, photography, spending time with my family and friends, any type of fitness activities, and any type of race from the beer-mile to Ironman 140.6. If I have to pick one, I would say traveling, because I can incorporate all of my precious responses into it.

If you're looking for a sport answer only, then it would be racing triathlons.

Outside of training with Tri Fitness, what are some of your favorite hobbies?

Ha! See above. Hiking, climbing, photography, physical fitness, traveling as much as possible, challenging myself by stepping out of my comfort zone. Most importantly, spending time with my family and friends!

What is your favorite motivational quote?

"Believe you can and you're halfway there." - Theodore Roosevelt

Favorite gear for summer/winter racing?

Summer would be my Cervelo P2. I love that bike, and have faired fairly well on it. My winter racing has mostly consisted of running races, so I would have to say my Craft running jacket. They make awesome winter running gear.

What keeps you going when you really don't want to?

I am a firm believer in "trust in the training, trust in the process," so when I have days where I'm not feeling it, I remind myself of the importance of following the process, and how following it will reap rewards down the road. I usually feel much better after doing these workouts I really wasn't feeling. We also have a saying in training, SWTFP, which stands for Stick With The F%&*king Plan, and this applies to much more than just sports in life.

What got you started with training/racing?

In my early 30's, I was gaining weight as my metabolism slowed down. Something had to change. My options were to alter my lifestyle, stop living large, and having so much fun, eat better, drink less, etc., or start exercising/working out, and bring some balance to my lifestyle. I chose the latter, of course. A few years after that I signed up for my first triathlon. That was 15 years ago.

When you told your friends/family about beginning your journey, what was their reaction?

My current journey (Ironman racing), started about 3 1/2 years ago. My friends and family were supportive — some obviously thought I wasn't quite right for undertaking such a challenge in my early fifties.

How long have you been training/racing?

Racing since 2005, but I only started real training, with a coach and a plan in October of 2017.

Were you involved in other competitive sports prior to your adult years?

I played youth hockey growing up in Maine, but that was about it.

Best tip for a newbie?

Set goals, make a realistic plan, and stick with the plan. If possible, get a coach or join a club that supports whatever you're pursuing.

What is your favorite pre/post workout snack/drink?

Before workouts really depends on how hard and long a workout is going to be. I prefer to workout in the morning (which happens to be when most races start). I usually go with my routine breakfast of granola, walnuts, blueberries, and almond milk about 2 1/2 hours prior to my workout. If the workout is longer than an hour, I take additional nutrition according to a pre-workout plan that is usually similar to what I would use during races. I have had great results with Hammer Recoverite immediately following workouts ranging from m1-8 hours. After races, it's pizza and beers!

Who is your biggest inspiration?

People in life who have significant challenge and rise above them regardless of their situations.

What is your biggest struggle?

For the past 15 years, I would have to say swimming. Until I started training with Vicki 3+ years ago, I couldn't swim one lap in a pool without having to stand up and take a break. The thought of doing a 2.4 mile open swim in an Ironman race seemed insurmountable. It is still my least favorite discipline; however, I recognize how much my swim has, and continues to, improve through dedication to completing the necessary training. The more time you spend in the pool, the stronger you become as a swimmer.

What is your pre-race routine?

Wake up 3 hours prior to the race, eat breakfast (as listed above) along with one cup of coffee, get to transition preferably no later than 90 minutes prior to the race. Check transition setup and do final pre-race setup. I then walk through the transitions and visualize mentally exactly how each transition will play out. Then I do my pre-race warmup run and bike before heading to the swim start.

Goals for the upcoming year (2021)?

In all my years of racing, I think I have only had one triathlon race I would consider perfect, and that was Ironman Wisconsin 2018 (my first Ironman). Because it was my first Ironman, I played it conservative, which was the plan, and it worked. This year, I am seeking to nail that perfect race again while pushing harder than in previous years.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I approach racing as not necessarily trying to be the fastest person out there (because that's not realistic), but rather to be at my very best personally and peaking at the right time. In essence, when I race, I am racing against myself and trying to reap the maximum results possible from all the training I put in. If I feel I achieve that goal, then I have won — no matter what the race standings are. I also could not have done any of the above without the support of my wife, Teresa, and my kids, Ryan, Sam, and daughter-in-law, Kate.

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