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Unable to swim 4 years ago, Port of Vancouver accountant now tackles triathlons

By , Columbian staff writer
Published: December 2, 2019, 6:00am
5 Photos
Scott Goodrich, an accountant for the Port of Vancouver, runs along Laframbois Road during his lunch break in Vancouver. Goodrich generally runs about four miles during his lunch break. It's part of his training regimen, which has lead to a successful run as an Ironman competitor. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian)
Scott Goodrich, an accountant for the Port of Vancouver, runs along Laframbois Road during his lunch break in Vancouver. Goodrich generally runs about four miles during his lunch break. It's part of his training regimen, which has lead to a successful run as an Ironman competitor. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

When Scott Goodrich first considered competing in triathlon competitions, there was one hitch. He couldn’t swim.

Well, actually he could swim, but not well. So at age 40, Goodrich learned.

“I knew how to swim to save myself, but I had never swam laps,” Goodrich, now 44, said.

It turned out that learning to swim laps presented Goodrich with another opportunity to normalize a common Ironman occurrence: failure. Goodrich, who played soccer in college and ran cross-country his freshman year, was used to the athletic lifestyle and the grind and disappointments of sports, but learning to swim was “riddled with constant failure,” Goodrich said.

Goodrich, the director of finance and accounting with the Port of Vancouver, would often struggle to get from one end of the pool to the other without stopping during those early lessons. “Fail and fail often,” is one way Goodrich describes his approach as an Ironman competitor, one who has failed his way from a novice swimmer to a successful triathlete and Ironman competitor. He finished in the top 10 percent of his Ironman age group nationally this year.

An Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and 26.22-mile footrace, in that order. It’s considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events.

Goodrich recently finished 148th out of more than 1,400 participants in Ironman Wisconsin. In that race, Goodrich struggled initially in bad weather conditions, and finished the swimming portion in 1:40, about 20 minutes slower than his expectation.

At that time he was in 1,486th place. He went on to climb 1,338 spots for his top-150 finish in that race, an example of perseverance paying off. Goodrich spoke about his climb up the leader board for a blog on the website of his coach, Chris Bagg.

“Evolve and have fun,” Goodrich said in the blog. “I was able to quickly change my perspective of the day based on the conditions, and tapped into my drive to fight even though my goal was compromised.”

A typical training day for Goodrich involves waking up at 4:30 a.m. so he can swim about 2,000 to 3,000 meters. On many days, Goodrich will run about four miles during his lunch. He often ends the day with a core circuit or a light weight workout, and he bikes about 100 to 200 miles per week over three to four days.

Goodrich’s diet consists of egg whites, berries, nut butter, healthy muffins, apples, cheese sticks, nuts, proteins, some grains, green vegetables and sweet potatoes.

While racing can call for frequent improvisation as conditions and factors shift, Goodrich credits Bagg’s coaching for where he’s at today. The coach has structured his training and nutrition, and helps him with race strategy.

“The more I follow his program, the better the results,” Goodrich said.

He is four years into a five- to six-year plan of making the Ironman World Championship Event. While he works toward that big goal, Goodrich is chipping away at other dreams. He has qualified for the 2021 Boston Marathon.

Goodrich said he’s “blown away” by his improvement over the last four years, and knows he’s getting closer and closer to a spot at the world championship.

“I’m knocking on the door,” he said.

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