OSCEOLA — Brad Murphey’s average workday is not all that average for most men.
Long before sunrise and starting his daily duties as sales manager at B&B Molders in Mishawaka, the 39-year-old can often be found heading to the Elkhart YMCA to churn out laps in the pool.
Prior to the job, Murphey heads home to spend time with his family — wife Natalie and children Kailey (10) and Braden (8).
Then it’s off to work then home for more family time. After the kids go to bed, it’s time for the second workout of the day, usually a long bike ride followed by a run.
The weekend is one big workout for a serious triathlete like Murphey.
“I’m very, very fortunate,” said Murphey. “I have an extremely supportive wife who has allowed me to obtain some of these goals. What I do is not conventional.”
Then again, not everyone is training to swim, bike and run all in one very long race.
Murphey gained confidence by defending his title at a sprint triathlon in Warsaw and winning his age group at one of his two “half” Ironman competitions (the Steelhead in St. Joseph/Benton Harbor, Mich., where he was also third overall).
Murphey’s sixth triathlon of 2012 will be the biggest of his racing career.
The former swimmer at Elkhart Central High School and Butler University qualified last year for the his first World Triathlon Championships in Kona, Hawaii. The Ironman race is Oct. 13.
That means a 2.5-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile road run. When Murphey qualified at the Madison (Wis.) Ironman — one of 30 worldwide qualifiers for the Kona race — last September, he covered the distance in 10 hours, 14 minutes. He credits Florida-based coach Jeff Cuddeback for helping him to drop his times and teaching him not to over-train.
Triathletes are grouped based on the age they attain in the year of the race, meaning Murphey will compete in the Men’s 40-44 division.
Too old for a triathlete?
Not exactly. The overall winner of the 2011 Ironman in Kona was 38-year-old Australian Craig Alexander.
“It’s very unique,” said Murphey. “But your muscles develop the older you get.”
It’s all about finding your physical limits while learning about proper nutrition and rest.
“You never practice at a distance that reaches or exceeds the distance you are going to compete at, so you never know how your body is going to respond at Hour 8 or 9,” said Murphey. “It’s the unknown. You just hope all your training can keep your body going as long as you want.
“A racing plan for nutrition is almost as important as swimming, biking and running. You have to know what to consume when you are in a race so you don’t cramp up,” he continued. “You need to get the right mix of simple and complex carbs that will mix into your blood stream quickly and the right protein to sustain you.”
A swimmer and biker in college who learned to be a competitive runner, Murphey took part in his first swim-bike-run race years ago as part of the Sunburst races that wind up at Notre Dame. He became more serious about the sport about four years ago.
One of his long-time goals was the world championships in Kona.
“I heard the clock a ticking so I had to get in gear,” said Murphey.