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Herbert turns back time over land and sea

February 04, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

Kevin Herbert vs. The Clock.

The battle happens every morning while probably most of Herbert's neighbors in Aliso Viejo, Calif., are still in bed.

"I'm trying to beat Father Time," said Herbert, a 1982 North Hagerstown High School graduate.

So far, he's winning.

Herbert had his best season as a triathlete in 2006 at the age of 42.

He capped it by placing 30th overall in a field of more than 1,300 competitors at the Half Ironman World Championships in Clearwater, Fla., on Nov. 11. He was the 17th American and the Masters (40-and-over) runner-up.

A Half Ironman - Herbert's specialty - is comprised of 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of cycling and 13.1 miles of running.

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"It's a combination of speed and endurance," he said.

To train for it, Herbert wakes up at 5:30 a.m. every day and exercises for two hours before work. His average weekly totals are seven miles of swimming, 200 miles of biking and 40 miles of running.

"I'm training every day, trying to stay active and keep fit," said Herbert, who owns an executive-recruiting business. "People think you get old and you get slower. I'm trying to reverse that."

He was the overall champion in four of the nine events he competed in last year, winning the Pacific Coast Triathlon, Camp Pendleton Olympic Triathlon, Orange County Duathlon and Dessert Sprint Triathlon.

"Performance-wise, it was one of my better years," Herbert said. "I won four races overall. I had never won a race before 2006.

"I haven't slowed down just because I've only been in the sport about six years. I'm still learning, learning how to train right. When I got into this, I really didn't even know how to swim."

Herbert was a standout wrestler at both North Hagerstown and American University.

"I started running after I graduated from college," said Herbert, whose personal best for a marathon is 2:27. "I ran for about 10 years competitively, training mostly for marathons."

His triathlon season runs from March to November.

"I usually do one every three or four weeks. It's a long season," he said. "But I get eight hours of sleep, eat well and take care of myself. I train smart. I have hard days and I have easy days."

Topping his 2006 campaign seemingly won't be easy.

"I think I can still improve my times," he said. "I didn't win every race last year. Obviously my goal this year is to win as many races as I can.

"I definitely have a competitive edge to me. ... It's kind of cool because sometimes people seem to think that exercise and competition is for younger kids."

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