AsiaTRI Athlete Profile: Ivan Vlasenko, Challenge Kanchanaburi’s First Age Group Finisher
We profile an up and coming age-grouper who has only took up triathlon two years ago, and surprisingly was the fastest age-grouper in Challenge Kachanaburi, in his first try at the half-iron distance. Meet Ivan Vlasenko, a 30-year old Russian who is now based in Bangkok, and is now working part-time as an Ironguides assistant coach.
Let us know him more:
AsiaTRI: It seems that you have a good sporting background, how did that led to the sport of triathlon?
Ivan: I have a pretty varied sporting background. I started to play street football when I was 7 years old. I also did judo for 3 years. At the age of 11 I got invited to be part of our athletics team. From there I represented my school as a middle distance runner. At age 18, I started cross country ski training in Siberia, as we have snow from end of October till April. So for 6 years, I represented my university as a cross country skier. Seven years ago, after finishing my degree as engineer of public catering, I went to Bangkok to try a different life. In 2012 I decided to train for road and trail run events, as well as adventure races and duathlon. The boom of triathlon in Bangkok 2 years ago, I was also swallowed by it, so I decided to focus on it. It was only this year that I took it seriously under the guidance of Coach Vinnie under the Ironguides method principle.
AsiaTRI: You were the first age-group finisher in Challenge Kanchanaburi, How was the race, did the win surprised you?
Ivan: The swim course looked beautiful, but when I learned that the depth of the dam was 100m, it affected me mentally, and so was my time haha. At this point I realized, I need to improve my mental training, as well as add more open water sessions in the plan. Coming out of the water and negotiating the first 4km uphill long climb, I felt good passing athletes who were faster than me in the swim. In the turn back downhill portion, I played it safe, even if I was losing 15-20 seconds to others. Coming into T2, I knew I was the 3rd age grouper, and also knew I was faster on the run on the 2 guys ahead of me. Cautiously though, I still ran a steady pace to avoid 17-18km mark burnout as it was my first half-iron distance. I’m just glad I was able to get the lead and keep it till the finish line.
AsiaTRI: Being based in a big urban center like Bangkok, How do you cope putting in the hours in training while also maintaining a day job?
Ivan: My day job gets me to work from Tuesday to Saturday, from 7pm till 11:00, so I have free time during the day. Good thing is that I stay near the big sports center. It’s just 2km away from the velodrome, a 50m covered pool, and a 400m track. Helps me a lot with time management. For long rides, I use the sky lane, a bike lane 23 kms long. Twice a month I try to go out of the city for a 2-3 day training in the hills.
AsiaTRI: Any big plans for the future?
Ivan: Starting November, I will start my online Ironman Coaching certification to improve my theoretical knowledge in the sport of triathlon. I am also assistant coach for Ironguides squad in Bangkok now, so I’m knowing a lot under the guidance of Coach Vinnie.
As an athlete, the main goal next year is always to be the first Thailand-based age grouper in international races. I look forward to racing against the best age-groupers in the asian triathlon scene!
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