Random AG Sean Bartlett
Written by: Herbert Krabel
Date: Mon Jul 02 2012
Slowtwitch: Thanks for being with us.
Sean: My pleasure. Iíve read several of the profiles in the past but never figured that Iíd be one of them.
ST: It is actually quite random that I reach out to you via Twitter and you actually barely live an hour away.
Sean: Twitter is a pretty amazing vehicle for connecting people. Iíve been on for several years and the people you meet both professionally and personally is rather remarkable. I moved to North Carolina about 18 months ago.
ST: Were you surprised that we wanted to have a chat with you?
Sean: Yes, though I suppose you need to profile the average working guy with a family to offset all of those world-class athletes on the slowtwitch forums.
ST: That sounds like you are familiar with the site.
Sean: Iíve been a visitor for years, though mostly to keep tabs on industry news, race overviews, and read posts about gear and training. I would say that my consumption far outweighs my contribution at this point.
ST: What is your day job?
Sean: I lead mobile strategy for one of the largest retailers in the world.
ST: Not everyone might be familiar with mobile strategy. Cold you expand on that?
Sean: Sure. My team is responsible for advancing the customer experience through the use of mobile technology and services. For our customers, this includes the mobile website and applications for iPhone and Android. For our associates, we have deployed iPhones to the stores and we provide tools to enhance customer interactions and manage job related tasks.
ST: You mentioned that your training has been put on hold because of your busy job. Is there an end in sight of these 60 hour weeks, or will you have to find the time otherwise?
Sean: Time constraints are certainly a major factor in deciding to tone things down a bit this year. Iím taking a break from racing, but still getting in six to ten hours per week of training so that I donít completely lose the fitness that I gained over the last several seasons. In addition to work, I have a two-year old son and seven year old daughter so spending time with them certainly takes precedent when time gets prioritized.
In addition to cutting back on training, Iíve optimized in other areas. When we relocated, I specifically looked for a home within a short commute of the office, television is most often watched less than five hours per week, and yard care has been outsourced.
Sean: It certainly can be if youíve got a fair amount of free time. However, taking care of the yard after a long run or ride takes time away from family and recovery. I learned this lesson quickly in the Arizona heat and again when I mowed the lawn in the southern humidity.
ST: Charlotte is a long way from Phoenix, Arizona and even further from the Bay Area, both in distance but also in culture. How have you adapted?
Sean: Itís certainly been an adventure since we left California in 2005. I grew up on the Central Coast, went to school in the wine country, and spent the first part of my career in Silicon Valley. Phoenix was a bit of a shock to the system but it was great for my career, we made lifelong friends, and itís where I got my start in triathlon.
North Carolina reminds us more of the Bay Area than Phoenix and weíve adapted quite well. Weíve found people to be very friendly and the local community is fantastic.
ST: Where do you swim, bike and run now?
Sean: I live in Davidson, so my swims are done at the local YMCA or the Aquatic Center in Huntersville. They have a 50m pool that I used a lot last year when getting ready for IM CdA. The majority of my road rides are done in the Davidson and Mooresville areas. I also added mountain biking to my training so I head out to Lake Norman State Park, Fisher Farm, or the Whitewater Center in Charlotte. The majority of my running is done in Davidson, either on local roads, the reenway, or on the cross country trails at Davidson College. I also travel with my running shoes and have recently run in Brooklyn and along the lakefront in Chicago.
To this point, 100% of my training has been solo. This is a bit of a departure from my training in Arizona, which was probably 80% solo and 20% group.
ST: Have you just not met the right group of people to train with yet?
Sean: When I got here last year I was in the midst of Ironman training, starting a new job, and living in a hotel for seven months. Clearly this wasnít the ideal situation for finding training partners. The local community is extremely active, but the organized triathlon scene is relatively light compared to Phoenix.
In Arizona, there are several large scale clubs, including the Phoenix Triathlon Club (I was a member), Tri Scottsdale, and others. These clubs have workouts throughout the week which make it easy to join when you have time.
Sean: It does and doesnít. In my mind it doesnít seem that long ago, but the idea of attempting that distance given my current fitness seems a world away.
ST: The race in Coeur DíAlene did not pan out as you would have liked.
Sean: Not at all. I had worked with coach Brian Grasky, who put together a tremendous plan to get me prepared, and I was confident heading into race day. Leading up to the race I had two PRs in half marathons, a podium at the Olympic distance, won my age group at a local sprint, raced a 70.3, and done lots of speed and endurance work. Unfortunately it just didnít come together in Idaho.
I have a history of nausea issues in longer races and am fairly confident that itís from not ingesting enough calories and/or liquids on the bike. I had to take two lengthy breaks on the run and got a visit from an ambulance as I shivered while laid out in the grass on the side of the course. I eventually got them to let me walk it in, but it certainly wasnít what I had in mind.
It still beats my attempt at IMSG in 2010 where I ended the day in the ambulance, fainted a few days later, and then spent four days in the hospital getting the full battery of heart and brain tests.
Baby steps I suppose.
ST: But Rev3 Anderson seemed to have worked out despite little training.
Sean: After IM CdA, I definitely took some time to relax, then started back on light training in the three to eight hour per week range. Anderson was a last minute decision and I relied solely on residual fitness to get me through. Things went well until the last couple miles of the run when I got passed by a few folks and finished sixth. Given the preparation, I had no complaints and Rev3 events are top notch.
ST: Does golf sound more palpable right now?
Sean: I canít wait to play a round. Golf was a major passion of mine and I essentially gave it up when I transitioned to triathlon. I havenít played in almost two years and before that had only played once in the previous year. Iím looking to give it a go in the next couple of weeks.
ST: Any tri events on your radar?
Sean: I had actually mapped out the entire 2012 season before deciding to take a break. I may do a late season race to remind myself of what an open water swim feels like. Maybe Iíll give an off-road race a try.
ST: Anything else we should know?
Sean: Weíve covered most of it. I would like to take a moment to thank my wife and kids for the support and understanding over the years. The time dedicated to training and racing certainly involves some level of compromise from family and friends.
ST: You are a smart man. Without the support of family and friends we would not be able to do what we do.
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