MC: So I’ve been consistent all that time. As a younger athlete I was looking to Kona and looking to the athletes that were performing well, and they were all in their 30’s or mid-30’s. And so at 25 years old, I didn’t want to – I mean I love the sport, I love racing and I wanted to make a career out of the sport. People thought I was crazy because I was making no money. The results were so-so racing ITU. But I knew that I needed to make the steps, so I raced ITU for a while, then stepped up to half ironman and was very successful. I think I did my first half ironman in 2003 and ran a 1:20 off the bike back then, so I knew, looking at results across the world, that not many people were actually doing that, and that I maybe had something there. The 70.3 series popped up in perfect timing for me, because I was ready to make the next step. Federations are kind of hard to deal with, and being a basketball player that never swam, I was always kind of behind the eight ball.
PNF: From seeing the ironman and having a perception of it, to actually going and doing it, what was the difference for you? You know when you look at something and you think: I really want to do that, I want to go and win. But how different was the idea and the actual reality?
MC: Early on, when I knew it was years away, I thought: This is going to be great! I know I can do X-Y-Z and that will put me in the front of the pack. But then getting close to actually racing – and I mean days before the race – I thought: I can’t do this distance! This is ridiculous! I mean even now, I can’t believe that I’m actually running that hard and riding that hard for that long. But in the moment, I was so well prepared, that it wasn’t as hard. You know when you’re so well prepared and you’ve done everything right and you get to that start line? When you’re in the moment it’s such an exciting time when you’re that focused. And time flies when you’re focused and in the moment. That’s what happened in my first ironman. But still, two days later you look back at what you did and you sort of can’t believe that you were actually able to put it together so well. With so many great legends in the sport having trouble getting to the finish line…their nutrition, the heat…
PNF: Mental implosion!
MC: All of those things! So yeah, I was definitely a little bit shocked at how – not how easy it was, because it’s not something that’s easy – but how in your mind it seems like a mountain in the days leading into it. But when you’re actually out there racing its different.
PNF: You just switch off your brain and get it done. So Siri got involved and looked at everything, and now you two are on a learning curve on how to get it done?
MC: Yeah. I mean I had my ideas, she had hers, and I spoke to Belinda Granger a lot, who just left Sutto [Brett Sutton]. He’s got a great track record, but it seems that a lot of his athletes only last a couple of years. That’s why I didn’t go to Sutto at the start. That’s why I went to Siri, because I felt that she knew his training methods – obviously for ITU, but she’d seen how he’d coached the long course athletes. And then I spoke to people like Belinda, and she’s awesome. She gave me as much info as I could take. We sort of just molded the program around that.