MONT-TREMBLANT, QUEBEC – Move over Robert Downey, Jr. There's a new iron man in town and it's none other than 2016 Monomoy graduate Garrett Sherman. No, Sherman won't be doing battle against bad guys on the big screen, but he did recently complete the Ironman Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Canada, his first-ever iron man competition.
Fans will recall that the day before Sherman's high school graduation he took on the 100-mile Best Buddies Challenge cycling event, capping off a career as an active student athlete. It was his passion for physical activity that fueled his decision to take on the Ironman.
“I played every sport possible. I was always really active and really competitive,” said the New York University junior. “Once I got to college I was still yearning for that competitive side. Going to NYU I knew I had to focus on my academics, but I still really missed the football games and the baseball games.”
Seeking a way to continue competing, Sherman discovered triathlons.
“As a young person I kind of live by the motto 'go big or go home,'” Sherman said. “I really wanted to challenge myself and make that leap to the next level. I started doing triathlons about a year and a half ago. It started small. Most people do sprint triathlons and work their way up from there. My first triathlon ever was a half Ironman. Once you kind of get into the triathlon community, it’s something that’s always talked about. It’s a goal for a lot of people in the endurance sport world.”
But getting into that community took significant effort and training. Sherman said he started training for the Mont-Tremblant event in January, utilizing a training program he found online that was accessible through a smartphone app called TrainingPeaks, which tracked his progress across a 32-week program.
The challenges facing Sherman, along with finding a balance between training and schoolwork, were finding open water to help prepare for the swim event and maintaining his training regimen while working abroad in Vietnam at the beginning of the summer.
“I was in Vietnam for two months working at a mid-market investment banking firm called BDA Partners,” Sherman said. “I found a triathlon club through Facebook, so I was able to work out on weekends with them. It was probably the best way for me to explore Vietnam.”
Upon returning home to Harwich, Sherman took to the waters of Sand Pond for further training, with help from brother Troy or girlfriend Hannah Thacher, who kayaked along beside him as he swam. Sherman isn't lacking in dedication and kept to a strict schedule leading up to the race.
“I’ve always been into sports, and what comes with that is living a healthy lifestyle. I think when you get to college and are put out of your comfort zone it takes a lot to get into a routine,” he said. “With my triathlon training it wasn’t just an excuse to get into the gym; it was also a necessary thing. I have to do this because this is really important to me. I guess it’s similar to doing any college sport and finding a balance between academics and athletics. Even though I don’t play for a team at NYU I still am doing this at a competitive level. If I want to maintain that competitive edge I have to continue that structure.”
The Mont-Tremblant event fit perfectly into his requirements for a summer competition within a reasonable traveling distance.
“The date was the most important thing, and the location was also really important,” Sherman said. “The Ironman organization is a global organization. They have [the races] all over the world. Fortunately, it was just kind of the right time and right place for me to do it this summer.”
So, after an 8.5-hour drive far north of Cape Cod, Sherman embarked on one heck of an adventure, completing the swim portion of the race in 1:26:33, the cycling in 6:36:44 (a total of 179.7 kilometers), and the 41K run in 4:55:08, crossing the finish line at 13:16:33. Cheering him on were his parents, Lisa and Glenn Sherman, as well as his brother, Thacher, and his grandmother Gayle Horne.
“I had all the support in the world,” Sherman said.
Now that Sherman has his first official Ironman behind him, one might think he'd be OK retiring his running shoes, but Sherman is looking to better his performance next year and will be running the New York Marathon in November.
“Someone said on Facebook that I could never do [an Ironman] again, but I’d still have this one. It’s a really motivating thing and something that I’m really proud of,” he said.
“I have a goal in mind to do much, much better at the Ironman next year. I know if that’s going to happen it’s going to take a lot more focus and a lot more regimented training to put myself where I want to be. I hope that it’s only up from here and that I can really make something more out of it than just finishing the race.”