Athlete Spotlight: Yunior Romero
POWERHOUSE ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT
What got you interested in training for multi-sport races like triathlon and how long have you been training and racing?
I first became interested in 2007 when I was part of the Cuban National Shooting Team. My friends and I from all kinds of disciplines, including triathlon, were looking at a magazine that showed the Kona Ironman Championship. The conversation turned to be about how hard it was to complete an Ironman. After I heard about all things required to finish an Ironman such as, nutrition, good bike, shoes, discipline, hours of daily training, swimming in open water, and more, I said: I will do it! Based on their experience they told me: “You can do it, but not here”, referring to Cuba due to the poor conditions in general.
Back then I was not able to run more than 4k or swim 100 meters, so it was just a very far away dream. Many life changes happened afterwards like leaving Cuba and my shooting team to start a new life here so the Ironman stayed at the bottom of my bucket list. Years went by and I had developed back pain, gained extra weight, was drinking every day, and even smoking sometimes due to stress. Eventually I became aware that this situation was not acceptable anymore for me and I started running on my own. In 2018 I finished the Kemah Duathlon, came 4th in my age group, and my result here motivated me so much that without thinking twice I moved Ironman from the bottom to the top of my list. The Next day I Googled triathlon training near me, found the Powerhouse, met my coach Scott, got a new bike, and the Ironman journey began.
What are your current short term / long term goals in multisport training and racing?
On the short term, I want to fully recover from an IT band injury I have carried for a few months and become more disciplined in order to prevent new self-limiting injuries. I want to improve my 70.3 personal best, and complete a full Ironman.
About the long-term goals, perhaps on a year or two from now, I would like to finish a 70.3 in less than 5 hours and a 140.6 in less than 10 hours. It requires a lot of training, especially in the water, which I consider my weakest leg. Overall, I want to stay fit/healthy, enjoy the workouts more, train in new places and meet other athletes to feed my motivation from their experiences.
What are some of your favorite things about training with your coaching team?
I love the Tuesday spin, particularly the after-work out chat: everyone around the table telling stories while having a beer. I admire how each one on the team deals with different/challenging jobs, family, situations in life in general, and they still make room for training. We always support and encourage one another, in and outside of the training time. The team is like a big family to me.
Can you share some of your best racing or training memories?
In August 2019, I traveled to Panama for my first time ever Duathlon (swimming and running the 70.3 distance together) as part of my training for Waco 70.3. I came in last! People were getting ready to leave, everyone have gotten their medals, enjoying their post-race meal, and I was ready to DNF. I was physically and emotionally destroyed! Then something happened that saved me: right there before my last loop it was my mother cheering for me, overly excited as if I was in first place. I immediately thought, “I am not alone.” I finished the race with a full heart. That was and is still my best racing moment by far.
What keeps you motivated?
I get bored easily sometimes but since we deal with three disciplines (swim bike run) knowing that there is so much room for improvement keeps me on top of the physical training. On the other hand, to keep myself on top of my game psychologically, I watch real life inspirational videos about how this sport changes people’s lives. But most importantly, I consider my greatest motivation the feeling of finishing a training session that seemed impossible to complete. When I look at myself doing something I have never done before. When I want to quit because it hurts and there is an easy way out, but I don’t stop. All of it makes me feel invincible.
I translate that into life itself; it does not matter how hard it gets, you know you can get over it because you have prepared physical and mentally for it.
If you could go back to your first month of multisport training and give yourself some advice - what would it be?
Listen to your coach, go fast or slow when he tells you to, stretch a lot, and work your core.
Nothing like your mother's touch to empower you! - Yunior Romero