MC: We’ve definitely made a few subtle changes. But this year’s been a lot different. I made a few mistakes earlier in the year. I stayed in the U.S., which, on the one hand, was fantastic because I was able to cater to a lot of my sponsors’ needs earlier in the year. But on the other hand, I didn’t have that off-season that I’m used to. That off-season where I can go and do weeks and months of training and not have any distractions. And I was tired the whole of January, February, March. Some of those experiences that I was given were amazing, but at the same time I got to the start line at New Zealand and I knew I wasn’t ready to race. I knew I hadn’t done the training. The good thing about it was that I just needed to finish, but being a competitive athlete, being a World Champion, you don’t just want to finish ever. I was telling myself going into the race that was all I needed to do, but the reality of the fact and I think the reason why I had such a hard time doing the race was because I’m a competitor and I want to race well every single time. So having an extra ironman early in the year was definitely different. I certainly raced the run as hard as I could and that took a lot out of me. That hurt me for a couple of months, just not having the base or the training behind me that I needed going into that race. I’ve kind of just been catching up most of the year. Just trying to get back on top of things. I love racing so it’s hard for me to cut back on my race schedule. I only did that a little bit this year. Maybe in hindsight I’d go to Australia early in the year and get my off-season training done, and if things weren’t going well I’d probably cut back races a little more. It’s all learning. I’m 30 years old. I hope to keep racing through my late 30’s. I want more ironman titles and I think I have the ability to get there. So you know, you bring yourself back into the moment. I do want to race well this year, but if things don’t go to plan then I’ve learned a lot this year and those lessons are only going to help me later on. In terms of training now, I feel like I’m getting back on track. The program looks slightly different to last year. But it’s hard. I’ve had a couple of sicknesses. Last year every single session – well, obviously not every single session – but it felt like every single session was great. I was hitting my markers, exceeding my coach’s and my expectations in most sessions and then I was getting to races and racing perfectly. It was all kind of almost effortless throughout the year and I cruised into Kona. This year’s been a bumpy ride. There have been sessions that I haven’t been able to complete. There have been sessions where you go back to the drawing board and you’re like: What’s going on?
PNF: You don’t think that’s just that the expectation now has come to the training as well – where you always want it to be flawless? You’ve had it flawless and now you want it to be more flawless the next year?
MC: Yeah, that could be a fact as well. But in general, I think now things are starting to fall back in place. And now I’ve got nine weeks to go – and that’s a lot of time to train.
PNF: It’s a ton of time. It really is.
MC: So yeah, I’m getting my confidence back. I definitely get confidence through training and through the work I do, confidence to go to that race and be able to hold my head high and know that I’m ready to go.
PNF: When you train are you thinking about everybody else? Do the other girls factor into it? Does Chrissie? How much do you actually train with any of the other girls here in boulder?
MC: You know I don’t see Chrissie at all. I see her if I do one of Dave’s [Scott] swim sessions – maybe once a week I’ll see her in the pool. But never out running, never biking. Julie [Dibens] I will ride with. We don’t run together. I don’t know why. She never seems to want to come out running – I mean I offer! But she’s a great training partner. I can tell her how I feel. I can tell her if things aren’t going well. And she can tell me. As much as we want to beat each other and as competitive as we are, we still try and lift each other up, which is a really unique relationship to have in this sport. I think it’s rare to have somebody that you are so competitive with and that you respect so much. And I think its because she’s such an amazing cyclist and swimmer and I’m a great runner and there’s no crossover. We respect each other’s strengths. And at the end of the day we’re trying to have fun, we’re trying to enjoy this sport. We want to win, but it’s all part of the process.