Interview with Ron Matsui

From my very first Sprint race in Southold I was immediately aware of the variety of athletes there.  Triathletes come in every shape, size and age.  I distinctly remember reading the back of a man's calf (where your age is displayed with marker) 71! This guy was 71 years old and racing triathlon, amazing. I can only hope to be particpating in the sport until 71.  As my triathlon career develops I'm no longer shocked by the single 71 year old rather the numerous triathletes in that age range competing in and completeing everything from Sprints to Ironmans races.  These older athletes not only provide inspiritation but also provide a unique insight into the sport.  Here is my interview with, Ron Matsui, my Dad. 

"Can you tell me about your athletic background and love for the game of tennis?"

"Well, athletically I would say that it started obviously with High School sports, playing on varsity teams but not necessarily tennis. As a "young athlete" I was involved more in the "classic American" sports of football, basketball and baseball. Tennis in my generation's time was pretty much looked at as a sissy sport that real athletes didn't play. In terms of playing tennis I didn't start playing until probably I was out of dental school."

"Why at the age of 60 did you decide to take a turn at triathlon?"

"Obviously because of your love of triathlon and because I think in the back of your mind you wanted me  to get more fit, and not necessarily be more competitive in triathlon but use it as a medium to become physically in better shape and fitness."

"It’s very obvious that you’re addicted to triathlon, what has made triathlon so addicting for you?"

"I'm not as addicted as you are (laugh) but I think number one is the camaraderie of doing things with you and having father and son time is important. Now that I'm getting more into it the benefit of just physical fitness is becoming obvious and just the physical feeling of being better. I don't have the delusion of being a top triathlete it's just the participation and actually meeting of other people in the sport that are very dedicated and willing to help novice triathletes like myself."

"Based on all the multi facets of triathlon, what is your favorite part?"

"For me the favorite part is obviously you and I participating together and finsihing as father and son."

"What would Dad of today tell Dad of yest er year about triathlon?"

"You should have started earlier." (laugh)

"As of recent there always seems to be news of people actually dying during triathlon. What health benefits have you found during your tenure as a triathlete?"

"The health benefits are that you feel better and have more energy. I really don't dwell on people dying during triathlon, You can die crossing the street or walking to the car so I really don't think about that aspect much at all."

"Could you speak to what your cardiologist has said."

"My cardiologist was impressed in terms of cardio fitness and my general health, He actually considers me one of his shining stars of his practice. My blood pressure and cardiovascular health have all improved.  He first considered taking me off all my medications but then he said lets not go drastic and start at half the amount of medication, monitor you for six months then re-evaluate."

"Every first time triathlete is guaranteed to make a mistake, what is the biggest or most embarrassing noob mistake you have ever made?"

"Luckily I have had someone next to me for most of my triathlon career so, you have prevented me from making too many mistakes. My first mistake though, not necessarily in an event, was not knowing what to expect swimming in cold water and trying to emerge from the water and then feeling pretty faint and unstable."

"While most of your friends are retired and playing golf you still work full time and find time to train on top of that. With that being said what are your friends reactions when they find out about you training and racing triathlon?"

"They think I'm crazy (laugh) I think in the same respect they are kind of impressed that I'm doing it period and surprised that I have stuck to it and didn't stop after the first event."

"For the past three years you have spent days on the bike, in the pool on the road and have raced a handful or races.  What is your most memorable experience during all that time?"

"The most memorable experience was at the first event and crossing the finish line with you ( yeah that was awesome), and seeing the smile on your face, I wasn't smiling (laugh) but you had a big smile."

"Any advice for the first time older triathletes?"

"Don't have delusions of grandeur and just enjoy the journey."


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