Athlete Spotlight: Gregg Edelstein

Dec
22

 

I am 48 years old and live in Newton, Massachusetts. Throughout high school I Was an avid runner, but, after that, college, career and family always seemed to take priority. Then, at 35, I was experiencing frequent back pain and was faced with a choice: get back in shape, or have a second back surgery to fuse my vertebrae. For me, the choice was easy, I began working with a physical therapist to get back into shape. I competed in my first triathlon the following summer at the local JCC. I completed the pool swim using breast-stroke only; I rode the bike course on a fifteen-year old mountain bike; and I finished the run with a huge smile on my face. With a borrowed wetsuit, I raced again two weeks later and had a blast! Unfortunately, by now, it was late September and triathlon season was over. But, my back pain was gone; I was hooked; and three years later I competed my first half Ironman distance race.

My wife, Karen and our two children, Aaron and Becks, make up my wonderfully supportive cheering squad. We try to turn my race trips into fun family vacations whenever we can. When I am not swimming or biking or running, I am a Managing Director at EDENS, a real estate development company based in Washington, DC.
 

What is your athletic background?

My first sport was, believe it or not, hockey. I started it at an age when the pads and equipment weighed more than I did, and you could barely make out that there was a kid under it all! But, I remember loving it and I remember loving being part of a team. Soon after my hockey career ended, around the ripe old age of eight, I moved onto the soccer field, where I enjoyed the quick pace of the game, being part of a team, and being outdoors. By the time high school rolled around, I had switched gears again and started to run, participating in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track all four years. Now, I've added swimming and biking to the run, and only watch soccer from the sidelines!
 

You are planning to do two major mountain bike races - Lake Placid 100k and Leadville 100 - along with IMAZ. How will you train for such different types of races?

My race schedule this year was intentionally set up with a heavy bike load to keep things fresh and fun, and keep me motivated to train. I actually don't have much mountain bike experience, so I think skills development in that area as well as overall endurance are going to be crucial. The winter months in greater Boston can be tough, and I expect that my training January through March will probably be 100% on the trainer.
 

How many bikes do you have?

I have three now - a tri bike, a road bike and a single speed, with a mountain bike ordered and on its way!
 

What are your time management tips for bringing your best to work and sport?

This is definitely the million dollar question....work and training, and family time are all important. Regardless of which one you are doing, something else is suffering. While balancing can be difficult, I try to get my training done early in the morning, and to have things scheduled out as far in advance as possible. I am a morning person so this approach has worked well for me. I try to look at my entire day like an interval workout. Periods of high intensity (work/errands/task oriented projects) with periods of renewal (a walk around the block, a snack, meditation or a group run at lunch).
 

You've done 7 Ironmans, 10 marathons and multiple 70.3s. Describe a race that stands out in your mind as a favorite, most challenging or most memorable.

While all my races are memorable, and each for a variety of different reasons, I have two that stand out as most meaningful to me. The first being my first Ironman in 2008. My entire family, my dad, my coach and my best friend Kevin all came out to Arizona to support me, and were there cheering for me all day at various locations all over the course, and my daughter was able to jump into the finisher's chute and cross the finish line with me. That was a very special day!

My second choice has to be the 2015 Boston Marathon. I had already run Boston four times, had no plans to run it this year, and was actually very excited about cheering on the runners instead of being one! Then, about eight weeks before the race, Roseann Sdoia, a friend of mine, and a Boston Marathon bombing survivor, asked me if I would be interested in running the race with her number. Of course, I said yes - with one condition, I wanted her to consider running the last quarter mile, from Hereford Street to the finish line, with me. After a very abbreviated marathon training plan for me, and much back and forth between Roseanne and I (and lots of others that got involved in this negotiation over the course of a couple months), marathon day arrived, rainy, cold, windy and miserable. But, despite all that, and her own uncertainties, Roseann met me at the firehouse, ran Boylston Street with me, and crossed the finish line. It was a very symbolic and meaningful moment in her life, and I was honored to have played a part in it. It's a race day I will never forget.

 


What do you like about the sport of triathlon?

I love the variety of the workouts, being able to change it up keeps me from getting bored. I also have a lot of friends that participate in the sport, and I find that triathletes, in general, tend to be pretty friendly people, so the comradery during training and throughout race day is something I look forward to. I also love that triathlon offers me the ability to keep challenging my body to get stronger even as I get older.
 

What is your connection to CAF (Challenged Athletes Foundation)?

I feel like I am connected to CAF in more ways that I ever could have imagined when I first learned of the organization. I met Jeffrey Glasbrenner at Ironman Florida where he introduced me to the mission of CAF. While it seems crazy to think that you can express passion and genuine happiness during the marathon portion of an Ironman, as Jeffery shared his story, his was palpable, and truly inspirational. Now, more than 6 years later, my entire family is involved with CAF; I call many of the people I have met through them friends; and I continue to be as inspired by each and every one of the athletes I meet; and, as you can tell, my passion for the organization is as passionate as Jeffery's was that night in Florida. To see the hope, joy and happiness that CAF brings to athletes of all ages and abilities has truly been a life-changing experience.
 

What drew you to team MPI?

I met Coach Mark Sortino at several different CAF events. His enthusiasm is over the top! I needed a change to my routine and loved the energy, knowledge and expertise of Coach Mark and MPI.

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