A chat with Pro Triathlete - Andrew Fast - He is awesome
I met Andrew in Chattanooga a few years ago. We have been friends ever sense. He is a super inspiring dude, that always makes the most out of life. From racing as a pro triathlete to being a physical therapist, to going on some crazy adventures. Get to know a little more about Andrew here!
Name : Andrew Fast
Hometown: Woodinville, Washington
Current City: Salt Lake City, Utah
Race Divison : Pro
Tell us about you. : Born and raised northeast of Seattle in Woodinville, Washington; foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Incredible family who loves the ocean and mountains; a lot of camping, hiking, nordic sport, fishing, surfing, and exploring other countries growing up. Always struggled in school, not due to lack of effort. Left the country when I was fifteen with my family; changed my life. Lesson: there’s a big beautiful world out there, and for those who want it, it’s out there. I get a sense of meaning by observing how other cultures live because I’m fascinated with people and the terrain that shapes their culture; in the end we’re not that different from one another; we’re only human.
Organized sport: Elementary school up to and into college; soccer.
Months after graduating University I was playing soccer with Burmese school children living in refugee camps while working on Thai/Burma border. At that point was on a reporting assignment for a donor group funding schools; got schooled. Rode bicycle across southern tier of Asia. Ran up mountains in northern Laos near Yunnan province of China, didn’t eat enough. Pho isn’t filling, stop wasting your money. Worked as climb guide in World Heritage Site, Halong Bay Vietnam.
Murky depths of culture shock; wanted to influence world around me; applied to law school. Interesting profession; still can’t tie a tie; prefer beer over single malt scotch; not for me. Showed up to take LSATs with everything I owned in back of car. Took test. Drove to mountains. Landed in Leavenworth, Washington. Worked as line cook demoted to bun toaster demoted to deep frier demoted to cutting onions in the basement; worked 3 ten to twelve hour shifts and spent rest of the time in the mountains. Was running and riding in the mountains with a crew a bit older that carried weight in community; they cared about folks around them and people in the community valued what they contributed. One of the ring leaders is a physical therapist. Now I’m a physical therapist.
Equipment : I like La Sportiva footwear for trail, triathlon, and climbing because they listen to athlete feedback for new design and are hand made in the Dolomites, Italy; like I said--terrain influences culture.
I ride Giant Bicycles for triathlon and human powered stuff; slippery in the wind and stiff on the climbs. Hands down most bike a person can get for price regardless of discipline.
I wear Mountain Khakis to work as a physical therapist because their threads are functional. Same applies after a long day in the mountains; functional meets comfort.
Petzl Headlamps; gold standard.
Ultimate Direction packs: following athlete feedback before market trends. Most of the ideas work.
How did you get involved with endurance sports? What got you hooked? :
In middle school, somewhere around age twelve, my friend’s dad drove he and I up to the local ski resort, Steven’s Pass. We stayed in their motorhome for the weekend. We’d been at it all day, building booters, hip jumps, and trying to jib fallen trees--landing on our head for the most part.
After the lifts closed that night we dropped the boards and starting to race up the cat track towards the highest chair. Something happened after a couple minutes. I’m not sure if it was the rhythm of feet going up a steep hill, loads of cold mountain air in my lungs, or the hot cocoa, but time and everything else slipped away. All I thought about was moving up hill. All I felt was deep breathing and kicking steps. It was the perfect high.
What is it about Endurance Sport that you love so much? : For just about anything there is something that just comes with the territory, usually it’s not good. Endurance Sport is all good. The community, discipline, and drive are good for sport, but even better for life.
What is your favorite race? Tell us about it, why? : Early day Rainshadow Running (trail running races) hold a place in my heart; Orcas Island 25km in the San Juan Islands and Angel’s Landing 25km in the North Cascades, specifically. James [race director] would pick the worst locations for race logistics which typically meant the best locations for aesthetic and challenge. Twenty five kilometers on steep and technical trails meant a person could go all out and still finish with enough energy to enjoy the bluegrass band, homemade chile, and keg of local beer.
What's the rest of your season's schedule look like? : Local trail races and exploring in Wasatch Range, a couple long-course triathlons, then a self-contained cycle tour some place I’ve never been.
What is your full time job? : Physical therapist.
Tell us about your training. Tell us about how you manage work/life/training balance:
I live monastic day to day but schedule adventure breaks. Being a professional triathlete is my rock; it’s constant and, in some ways, like a split personality I constantly have to nurture in order to keep other areas of my life perky. Similar to how mountain climbers talk about life at sea level as compared to the world above the clouds; I gain perspective with daily training and periodic racing. Usually I come back with a new lesson learned and put that back out to the universe in my day to day interactions.
If you could give one piece of advice to a newbie endurance athlete, what would it be? : For triathlon I have a coach who understands my personality and whose wisdom and experience I trust. Kurt Perham at PBM coaching isn’t much into the razzle dazzle trends, he’s got a good formula that continues to adapt to current research. But more importantly he understands people. I think folks looking for a coach should looks less at the content and more at the connection; the training isn’t rocket surgery; blue collar sport; do the f***ing work. But the interaction in between and PROCESS is the important part. Kurt guides my process, mainly because I can barely tie my shoes without getting side tracked.
I guess the answer here is that I have a coach I trust and a solid training group who work their assess off and consistently make fun of me. Laughter is key.
That's all for now! Thanks Andrew!
To follow Andrew's adventures, check out Where Water Buffalo Roam.