Friday, October 11, 2019

Kona Profiles #8: Nate the Great Zarlengo

The Ironman World Championships ("Kona") is taking place TOMORROW, Oct. 12th. We encourage everyone to watch the coverage online!  

As you know, it's incredibly competitive to qualify and a major accomplishment to do so. As we've done the last 3 years now, we'll be catching up with our local Cinderellas... getting to know them better as a tri community and cheering them on as they get ready for the ball!

Unfortunately we couldn't possibly get to everyone this year, but good luck to all locals!

Name:     Nate Zarlengo

Age Group:    M3539

Qualified:     Ironman Boulder

Qualifying AG Place & Time:   5th    9:50:10

Splits:     Swim 1:15   Bike  4:42   Run  3:42

Standard question: what’s your athletic background and how did you get into triathlon?

I grew up doing the standard baseball, basketball and football in high school. College athletics consisted mostly of running from party to party. I got back into actual running in 2009. I did my first mini sprint in 2009 where I nearly drowned during the 300 yard pool swim. I graduated into the longer distances slowly and did my first Ironman (Coeur d alene) in 2013. I did a handful of half Ironman’s until my 2nd full at Ironman Boulder in 2016. I placed 10th in my age group which sparked the desire to Kona Qualify.

I took a year to focus fully on my run and get to the point where I Boston Qualified in 2018. I got back to a fully focused Ironman training program shortly after that and went all in with my commitment to KQ. I’m self coached which shows by my horrible swim times. I use TrainerRoad for bike training and just run consistently 6 days a week.

What’s the vibe like on the Big Island and how are you feeling? Is it an intimidating atmosphere or more low key?

It feels like a Saturday every day here. It’s as Hawaiian as you imagine it to be.

What’s the weather forecast looking like?

Wet Hot Sticky Sauna

Can you walk us through Ironman Boulder? How many Kona slots were awarded to your AG, and were you aware of your position throughout the day?

I did The half Ironman in Saint George in May and felt like I did really well but still placed around 25th in my age group which was surprising. I did some stalking and found most of my age group competitors that beat me so I knew who I’d be dealing with at Boulder. I knew I’d be coming out of the water very far back which I did (35th place age group). To make up for my poor swim times I always bike angry. I ended up with the fastest age group bike split even with 2 mechanical issues that cost me 3 minutes. That moved me up to 7th place starting the run.

Boulder M3539 - Kyle Lewis and Andrew Stasinos are
also locals who had awesome races

I passed one guy in the first few miles putting me in 6th. The first place guy ended up walking the last 3 miles and dropped back to 10th. This put me in 5th place. The other one of my main competitors that beat me in Saint George was running me down and ended up passing me at mile 23. I knew he started the swim before me so I just had to stay close to him. He ended up crossing the line at 9:50:18 and I crossed at 9:50:10 clenching a 5th place spot.

It was a battle but I really didn’t know exactly how close it was until after. I just did the best I could in the moment. I thought there were only 3 Kona Spots so I was disappointed but really happy with my performance.

When did you know for sure you had locked up a spot, and what did you do to celebrate?

I went to the roll down ceremony the next morning and we had talked to 3/4 other top qualifiers and they were going to take their spots. It was looking really dim for my chances. Mike Riley announces that there were 4 spots in my age group instead of 3. This devastated me even more because it was about 5 minutes difference to 4th and 5th.

I started crying from knowing I was so close but missed it. They called up the first couple guys and they took it. Mike announces 3rd place but he ends up passing his spot so it rolls down to 5th place. I went from complete devastation to being on cloud 9 in a matter of 20 seconds. To celebrate I cried like a little child then went and ate some Mexican.

What are you most looking forward to and most terrified about as you think ahead to race day?

Other than the Underpants Run with my 3 boys on Thursday I am really looking forward to actually enjoying this race. The expectations for a time are low so I’m not stressed about my performance. Just like my time in the Boston Marathon Course I feel it is a tremendous honor to be racing here in triathlons biggest and most prestigious race. I am terrified of the heat on the run. I have been consistently sauna training so I hope that helps.

We don’t see you much on the local tri scene – is your focus primarily Ironman or can we hope to see you hitting some Utah Triathlon Championship Series races?

The last couple years I have been solely focused on a KQ (Kona Qualification). Thanks to The encouragement from Rory Duckworth, The Salt lake Tri Club and The Hive Bikeshop I will be joining more local races in the next year.

In addition to some local races 😉, will you be repping SLC West for Ironman St. George 2020?

2 Ironman Races in one calendar year is enough for me so I likely won’t be doing St. George 2020. Ask me late next week though.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Consistency is key! 




Below are links to all the races in the 2019 Championship Series:

Below are links to all Challenger Races:

Thinking about Lasik or have other eye health needs?
Dr. Brice Williams is offering some incredible
deals for fellow Utah Tri Buzz readers

Local triathlete Steve Monson has a stellar reputation
as one of Utah's finest financial advisors

We started a Patreon account (link below) with the hope of raising a few bucks towards awards & swag for athletes of all abilities in our tri community. We've given out a lot over the past 3 years, but would like to continue to expand our offerings & the volume we can do.

If you enjoy Utah Tri Buzz and would like to pitch in, any amount would be greatly appreciated... (there may be something in it for you as well!)

We're also always grateful for talented people who contribute in terms of time... let us know if you'd like to be part of the Utah Tri Buzz team.



No comments:

Post a Comment