PNF: But that’s where the sport has come. It’s been an interesting evolution. There weren’t many people that did that back then. People always ask, “How come you were able to do X?” Because I don’t think anybody was tied down, nobody knew, nobody really had a coach. So we were all fumbling around together. And it literally was fumbling around together. The guys certainly stepped over the edge a lot. They would sort of one up each other by doing more and more, harder and harder, so they stepped over. And I always believed that Erin stepped over, because she wanted more. She would line up and train with the men and she’d be awesome. But I’d think: That’s OK. Because I’ll be ready. I’ll be ready for me and I’ll give it the best shot. I’m not the best or fastest swimmer, I had by no stretch even close to the same running ability that she had, but I focused in on what I could do and what flowed for me. And it most cases I ran faster than her anyway.
MC: Because you got it right on the day.
PNF: Yeah. But the sport has evolved so much. People have the expectation: If I do this, I can expect this result. If I do this, I can run my marathon. They would ask me, “What marathon do you think you can run?” I don’t know, I just run it! I’m sure everybody’s asking you, right?
MC: Absolutely! Mostly I get asked if I ever wanted to do a fresh marathon, how fast I would run. My answer is that I’m a triathlete, not a runner. My art is running off the bike. Hopefully I can go faster. I think I can!
PNF: So what is it like having T.O. [Tim O’Donnell, Carfrae’s boyfriend] go this year? There are a lot of couples going in, and that’s a whole interesting dynamic. Do you train together?
MC: Not really. He has his coach and what he does, and it’s a different style to my training. We try to do maybe an easy ride or an easy run where we might start out together and then go our separate ways. But for the most part he’s on his schedule, I’m on mine, and we come back at night and have dinner together. That’s sort of how we work. But we do talk a lot about training and racing, the dynamics of racing and who’s racing. It’s only natural when you’re both competitive.
PNF: Of course, you’ve got to sit and obsess about everything!
MC: I think he’s coming into Kona similar to how I came in my first year. He’s obviously already done an ironman, which I hadn’t. But I was looked to as someone who could challenge Chrissie, because there was no one challenging Chrissie at the time. And he’s looked at because America is looking for a champion.
MC: He’s really embraced that and he’s taken it in stride. I offer as much advice as I can to him, but he doesn’t need it. He’s got everything in order and he knows what to expect and I think he’s pretty well prepared for it.