Multisport Mastery is pleased to announce the October 2009 featured athlete:
Molly McNamara from California
Currently, Molly is in the peak of her training for Ironman Arizona. After her last 20-mile run, I caught up with her to ask a few questions.
What has been your highlight of the 2009 season so far?
Going back to the site of my first half Ironman (Vineman) and finishing with a 19-minute PR - including a 10-minute improvement on the swim alone - comes to mind first! Actually having a nutrition plan and knowing how to pace the bike also led to a much improved run on that day. It was a successful culmination of the first half of the year of training to see how far I've come with a coach!
What do you enjoy about working with a coach?
Taking away the stress of wondering if I'm "doing it properly" is a huge factor for me. Instead of complicating life trying to do the analysis myself, I love having an experienced coach like Liz to handle the brainwork for me. I follow my training plan and don't have to think about if I'm doing too much, too little, too fast, too slow, etc. Every workout has a purpose and it's made clear for me as the athlete what we are trying to accomplish and improve upon each step of the way in order to make sure I am race ready. I never have to worry that I'm putting in "junk miles" that aren't going to help me in some way.
What are some of your interests beyond triathlon?
When I'm not training for an Ironman, I compete with my two bearded collies in conformation (show ring), agility, herding, and obedience. My older beardie, Max, is a conformation and agility champion - he and I qualified for and competed at the Cynosports World Games in agility in 2007 and look forward to chasing qualification again next year after Ironman. I originally took up distance running to help me keep up with Max in the agility ring! My younger beardie, Stanley, is a maniac for sheep herding and a winner nationally and in Canada in the show ring, but he's most looking forward to kicking off his agility career after my Ironman.
What has been the biggest challenge with training for Ironman? How has a coach made it easier?
Putting in the consistent training is sometimes a challenge during the biggest build phase for Ironman. You're tired, you're feeling a little more worn down, and you don't feel like doing that short run or getting out of bed in the dark to go to the pool. Having a coach means I am accountable and I have to get it done, whether I like it or not. Not that Liz puts this pressure on me but having her there means I put it on myself - I know that those workouts are on my schedule for a reason and it only hurts my own race preparation if I don't get my work done.
Where have you seen the most improvement this year?
Where have I not? I've made significant strides in swimming, definitely improved my strength on the bike, and even in running, which was my strength, I've seen times I never thought possible - at every distance along the way. Most significantly though, my confidence has soared by leaps and bounds going into races with a tested and well-thought-out plan backed by the knowledge that I've put in the quality training to be truly ready. That most certainly wouldn't have happened without Liz to prod me along the way and give me unbiased feedback on my progress!
In a less than four weeks, Molly will take on her first Ironman. I’m excited to see her put together what has been over a year of commitment and diligence toward her goal. In the past year, I’ve watched her grow tremendously in physical strength and confidence. In her small frame she packs a lot of power but more importantly a lot of passion for her goal. She’s willing to do anything, any pace, any wattage that I give to her and gives it 100 percent. When training, she stays focused on the task which allows her to get the most out of it. Afterward, she immediately uploads her data and subjective feedback into Training Peaks. This allows me to keep track of how she is responding to training. Molly provides me with the information I need to pull the best out of her at the right time.
Molly is focused, organized and realistic. She gives a lot of attention to the little things that make a big difference – nutrition, recovery and communication. She doesn’t always have the time but she makes the time and that is what sets Molly apart. She is willing to give it that little extra, even if it means only going 1 minute faster. To her, it’s worth it and in time I’m guessing those little minutes will add up to big chunks of time and even bigger gains.
Good luck next month at Ironman, Molly!