Case Study Athletes: What it takes to do an Ironman (or an Extreme Ultra)

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A few weeks ago we announced we were looking for applicants for a few “case study” athletes at Track Cat Fitness.   I am so excited to announce those selected for this program!  This season we decided to stick with athletes that were already in our coaching programs or who I already have a connection with.
The call was for willing to share their journeys in the sport to show a few things.  Our initial call was for first time Ironman athletes so we could share what it takes to do an Ironman but we picked up an unique applicant to add a 3rd story for 2018.

Through our Case Study Athletes we will share:

1. What is possible:  We want to share stories of inspiring individuals who balance full lives and pursue big dreams with passion.
2. What it takes:  Often times the glory and the gloss is what is shared on social.  We want to share the highs, the lows and how much hard work and consistency goes into the process of success.
3. What it is like to be coached:  The process varies but through sharing their stories we hope to give athletes insight into what they should expect from a triathlon or endurance sports coach.
We will do updates through out the year. We have selected three athletes to be a part of this program.

I am super excited to announce them today.

Liz Manfredi

She is a mother, works a full time job and has many unique hobbies.  She loves to immerse herself in all life has to offer.  She has done mountaineering expeditions including a Mount Everest experience and has recently turned her focus and ambitions to triathlon.  This is my 2nd season coaching Liz and I am very excited to see her through her first Ironman.   She is tough as nails as an experienced athlete yet new to triathlon.
My job as her coach is often to hold her back and guide the pacing.   Liz came to me with an injury initially after pushing through Vermont City Marathon last year but also with a big dream in triathlon to do her best in an Ironman.  We work in collaboration with her team of PT and other professionals to ensure we are pushing progress safely as imbalances and issues are monitored and addressed.   I enjoy the “red herring” type challenges and getting creative with her training.  Her determination and courage through all ups and downs is inspiring.  She learned a ton at our summer triathlon camp in Stowe last season while having a blast in the mountains.  She only just joined a pool and has not previously done structured pool sets.  I am excited to help her progress even further as a triathlete.
At Track Cat we encourage athletes to be part of our online community as well as their local region and the greater endurance sport community.  Liz is also a member of Green Mountain Multisport in VT and she is a avid skier.  She does a lot of races for fun at her friend or family’s pace so we incorporate the social races into her training.  She is registered for Ironman Lake Placid and is excited to inspire others through her journey.  I am so thrilled to be a part of this and be able to share her story with you along the way.

Cate Sullivan

Cate is a mother as well who lives in Virginia, in my former neighborhood.  This is Cate’s first experience with a one on one coach and has come to us with the expectation to be prepared for Ironman Mont Tremblant.  Cate crushed the 70.3 distance in Trembland last year while raising money for Smile Train.  She liked the course so much that she wants more.  Cate is excited to go the longer distance.  Although this is my first time coaching Cate I am very much aware of her strengths and her developmental areas.   
When I lived and raced frequently in Virginia I did not know Cate well but had surely identified her as a huge upcoming talent to watch out for as an athlete in the event that she got closer to what I saw as some obvious potential.  Yes, as a competitor I do watch the other women around my age range in the community and Cate is certainly one to look out for as she comes to realize her potential with a structured plan catered to her specific talents and a schedule well matched to her life.  I also know all of the best routes and the perfect hills to do for various repeats.   I do miss those hills and look forward to having her do some cool sessions on terrain I know personally. 
For now Cate has already done a power test to set benchmarks on the bike and will be doing some tough trainer work to boost the bike fitness which will also cross over into the other disciplines.  Cate has had some nutritional challenges we will be working through this season to dial everything in before the race.  Her story should be a neat athlete project for you to watch unfold!

Lance Parker

He is not training for an Ironman.  Lance once told me he has no interest in doing an Ironman but might do an ultra ironman someday.  For now, he is focused on shaving time off this PR at the Infinitus 888k run early this summer.  No, that is not a typo.  Running 888k is his goal.   I helped pace Lance last year one day of this event and he was extremely focused and mentally tough through some brutal conditions.
He won that race and is looking to see what more is possible for him at this event.  We have developed good rapport already.  This year with his sights set to discover more of his potential and what is possible he is looking for an accountability source, a partner in this very individual endeavor and to learn about how data and structure can be incorporated into his training.    He has not kept a training log to date and has just begun to log his training and keep a record of his hard work in Training Peaks account I set up for him.
Lance grew up in Maine and even when to HS with my husband’s cousin…small world.  You can find Lance camping outdoors in VT year round and rolling around this hard VT winter on his new FatBike.   Lance is a teacher as well as a youth run coach.  In the summer he’s been helping others pursue adventure as a whitewater rafting guide.   We will continue his process of using cross training in the tough Vermont terrain as a tool to prepare his body and mind for his demanding upcoming challenge.  This is a very unique endeavor and Lance wants to share his story to help get more people into ultra running and endurance sports! I do enjoy working with a limitless thinker and therefore is going to be fun.
 Watch this space through out the year as we update the progress of each athlete and use their training and experiences as learning examples for all!
Here’s to an awesome 2018.
THANK you to everyone who reached out to me and know that we will likely continue this program on a rolling basis as current athletes in the program complete their goals/seasons.
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