Saturday, October 23, 2010

May Magic on Market Street #3: Jim Harrington, The Woodlands

Editing these profiles is already a real joy.

By the time the inaugural Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas gets here, we all will have learned many things about our fellow athletes and hopefully it will generate better bonds within our local multisports, running and cycling communities.

There are those people in our sports that when you mention their name, the first thing that comes to other's minds is: "They're really a good guy or woman."

Finish Strong Racing's Jim Harrington is one of those people that meets and exceeds that definition. Didn't the Astros have a campaign recently about "The Good Guys"?

Drayton McLane could have promoted Jim the same way.

When I started running in 2003, Jim was one of the regulars at the twice monthly Run The Woodlands 5K.

Then after awhile, Run The Woodlands' loss was triathlon's gain.

Jim definitely got hooked on triathlons and Ironman Texas, as he explains below, will be his sixth career Ironman. -- By Jon Walk

Jim during Labor Day's Avia Triathlon in Austin.  (Photo courtesy of Jon Walk)
2010 USAT age? -- 46.

Birthplace? -- Cleveland, Ohio, but grew up in Huron, South Dakota.

You've been identified as registering for Ironman Texas. What motivated you to sign up? -- We have home field advantage.  You will never find more incentive and support than when you get to race in your backyard.

Will this be your first attempt at an Ironman? -- This will be my 6th full Ironman.

If not, how many IMs have you completed? -- 5 completed:  Florida twice, Wisconsin, Arizona and Idaho.

11:26:50 - HARRINGTON, JIM, M40-44, The Woodlands, FLA, 2006
10:57:15 - HARRINGTON, JIM, M40-44, The Woodlands, FL, 2007
11:40:46 - HARRINGTON, JIM, M40-44, The Woodlands, WIS, 2008
10:59:47 - HARRINGTON, JIM, M45-49, The Woodlands, AZ, 2009
11:44:09 - HARRINGTON, JIM, M45-49, The Woodlands, CDA, 2010

Will you/did you get an MDot tattoo after your first Ironman? -- Got the approval to get one, but I do not have a tat.

What triathlon/running/cycling clubs do you belong to? -- Lonestar Multisport, Conroe Triathletes, and Team Inspiration.

Do you train with anyone (i.e. training group)? -- I have groups for each of the three capacities that I train with along with a significant amount of time that you have to go it alone.

Are you coached by anyone? -- Yes.  Dana Lyons has been my coach since I signed up for my first Ironman five years ago.  Simply put:  the accountability helps get you there.

How many hours a week do you spend training (overall and at each discipline)? -- I average 12-15 hours a week in total and reach 18-20 on peak weeks.  The training time breaks down into 3-4 hours of swimming, 4-8 hours of biking, 4-5 hours of running and 1-3 hours of core/strength.

When was your first triathlon? -- The Cinco Ranch Sprint Triathlon in August of 2000.

How did you do? -- Seriously thought I was going to drown in a duck pond but survived and finished with a respectable time but left plenty of room for improvement.

Why did you get into the sport? -- I joke that I have sick friends that lured me into it but friendships, healthier lifestyle and the sense of accomplishment are what really get you hooked.

What have you learned about yourself while pursuing triathlon/Ironman? -- Every race teaches you something new but overall and without question you learn that you are capable of FAR more than you can ever imagine both mentally and physically.

Which of the three disciplines is your strongest? -- The bike is where I am most comfortable, but the swim has improved a lot in the last year.  Problem is it all comes down to the run and we are all going to suffer through it.

What's your favorite triathlon distance? -- I like the Olympic distance because it’s fast and doesn’t take all day.

Favorite race? -- CB&I is by far the best sprint race in the area and Coeur D’Alene Ironman for the long stuff.

What's your bucket list race? -- Well Kona is out there but I think the Leadville 100 mountain bike race is just as big of an accomplishment and I don’t even mountain bike…yet.

One piece of gear or gadget that you can't do without? -- Definitely the heart rate monitor.  Proves that I actually have one.

What's your favorite training routine? -- Eating whatever I want for breakfast after a morning workout.

What are some of your favorite routes (biking or running)? -- Biking through the Sam Houston National Forest or out in the Chappell Hill area top my favorite bike routes for training and the Nature Trail is my favorite area for running in The Woodlands.

What foods are most critical in your training? -- Depend on oatmeal, grits, bagels, chicken and pasta a great deal.

Who or what gets you out of bed to train on bad days/freezing rain/100 degree heat? -- Have a bad race and you have a ton of reasons for training on less favorable days.  You don’t control the weather but you can control if you are ready for it.

What has had the greatest impact on your progress as an athlete? -- Other athletes that have a great attitude and set a good example.

How has triathlon changed your life? -- The obvious part is I’m healthier.  I don’t take any type of medication and for the most part stay injury free but it has also allowed me to be a good example for my kids and created unbelievable opportunities to help others in ways I would not have imagined.

Favorite website(s)? --, and

If you were the God of triathlons for one day, what change would you make? -- Well you don’t mess with creation but crystal clear water would sure be nice to swim in.

Favorite triathlete? -- Chris Lieto because he is from The Woodlands and I occasionally run into his dad and can get fantastic race reports.

Favorite athlete to watch in another sport? -- Albert Pujols is a baseball machine.

Favorite city to visit? -- Boston, Massachusetts. Tons of history and great food!

Bucket list (1 to 5 things):
1.)  Leave a positive legacy – help my kids realize their full potential in life.
2.)  Give back to the sport - help Trace Sherer finish the CB&I Triathlon.
3.)  Appreciate health – always be able to go and see and do. If I can swim like Bruce does in his 80’s then I’ve done something.
4.)  Be a better person. Sure I want to be faster, place more, go to Kona, watch the Tour live but life gets sweeter when we get better no matter where we go.

Favorite quote or motto? -- "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Emerson


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