After a dramatic 2012 season, pro Andrew Starykowicz has learned to take things one day at a time.
This article was originally published in the March/April 2013 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.
Most pros have ups and downs to each season, but 30-year-old Andrew Starykowicz truly experienced it all last year. In the spring he was detained in Abu Dhabi for six weeks after accidentally colliding with a course volunteer during the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, even spending a night in jail—and seriously injuring himself in the crash. Yet late in the year he fully recovered, raced two Rev3s and two Ironmans in 36 days, winning two of them and setting the new Ironman bike course world record in November in Florida on his way to the victory. Less than two weeks later, he got married and went on his honeymoon.
“In the past I’ve ridden a roller coaster, but that’s been more like a Tilt-A-Whirl compared to 2012,” he says.
Requiring surgery on his broken collarbone and injured humerus and labrum once he was finally allowed to leave Abu Dhabi, Starykowicz was told by doctors he wouldn’t race in 2012. So he did what he could all summer, which meant starting out walking—anywhere from five to 20 miles a day, every day. And he kept one eye on his race calendar. “As soon as I got cleared to race, I said, ‘I’m doing ’em all,’” he says.
And while Starykowicz is the first to admit that his training wasn’t ideal, and that all the stars aligned for his record-breaking Ironman bike, he’s typically matter-of-fact about his accomplishment: “I knew I was gonna do it. I’m serious,” he says about that 4:04:39 split.
He also managed to publish a book last year (For Swimmers 365 Main Sets), filled with hundreds of swim sets he’s been keeping track of since his high school days as a swimmer. Naturally, after Florida, people ask when he’ll publish his bike sets—which he works on whenever he has significant time off.
But despite his spectacular run of results in the fall, make no mistake—he’s no long-course-only specialist. “I love just the pure suffering of the Olympic distance,” which, he says, is his favorite. His race schedule this year will include a mix of short and long.
Heading into 2013, Starykowicz takes with him all the highs and lows of 2012, but also a whole new perspective. “You really don’t know how long your career is,” he says. “And now for me it’s like, you take every day because you never know when it could be your last day.”
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