IRONMAN 70.3 – Clare Horan
The final athlete to be rolled out as a part of our Genuine Health IRONMAN 70.3 team, Clare is certainly not the least. She adds some much needed estrogen balance to the team and has more will power than the rest of us combined. Meet Clare “Iron Will” Horan.
A Little About Me: I started running almost 6 years ago, and since then, I have completed 11 marathons, numerous halves, and a handful of ultra-distance runs, including Comrades Marathon in South Africa. I have completed all 6 of the World Marathon Majors, being the first Irish woman to do so.
Similar to Todd’s claims, I am a middle of the pack runner, I did flirt with a couple of good race results earlier in my running life (3rd in a half marathon, and a few age group placings, etc.) but after nearly 2 years of near continuous injuries, I am struggling to get back to my peak performance.
I like to push my training load and I am at my happiest when I am running ~80-100km a week. In an attempt to reduce my chance of injury, I started to introduce cycling last year and while I can’t say I love it, as I improve (slowly) I am learning to enjoy it a bit more. Cycling (like running) does not come easy to me and I find I have to put in wayyy more hours than my peers to try to get up to speed. What I lack in natural ability I try to make up with determination and hard work!
The Why: So, why am I doing a half Ironman? I like to set one main fitness related goal each year and from 2012-2014 my main goal was to complete the World Marathon Majors. I achieved this at the Berlin Marathon in October 2014.
2015 was the year of the Ultra marathon (achieved: Comrades Marathon May 2015).
2016 is the year of the half Ironman (target: Muskoka half Ironman). Luckily for me it turned out a few of my craziest best friends also had the same plan for 2016. Like Todd, I’ve never done a triathlon in my life and I have never swam in open water so there will be a lot of learning curves ahead!
The How: I work in Corporate Restructuring for one of Canada’s largest banks and with current commodity and oil prices where they are, well, let’s just say, I am never too far away from my iPhone and work some seriously long hours.
In order to stay on top of training volume, I am no stranger to getting up at ungodly hours to ensure I get my workouts in. I do struggle with evening sessions as my job tends to keep me in the office late into the evening but my focus this training term is to try to get in at least 3 evening sessions a week.
While others in our group are aiming for 5-10 hours of training a week, I know I will need between 12-16+ hours if I have any hope of trying to stay in sight of this talented bunch. Similar to Todd’s recap, below is an estimate of my current baseline for each discipline, and where I hope to end up in July.
So if Todd is ranking his abilities in the pool as a 2 and as he is currently out swimming me over 2km, then I would have to rank my current capabilities as 1.5/10. While growing up in Saudi Arabia and Atlanta, GA, although I was afforded much pool time, it did not correspond to any sort of formal lessons/training. In fact, most of my time was spent playing Marco Polo or Sharks and Minos, so I am currently learning to swim from scratch.
As I have never swam in open water, I am keenly aware THAT I COULD DIE!!!!!!! Therefore to ensure no early claim on my life insurance policy, I decided to join Atomic masters swim program and have been swimming once a week with them since November. The coaches established early on that I needed to work on my stroke, kick, turning, endurance and breathing. It seemed like the only thing I had nailed was being able to get into the water! It can only get better from here, right?! In line with Todd I am aiming to complete the 1.9km swim in 40- 45 minutes on race day.
How do I describe my cycling?? I am enthusiastic and although I do not love the sport, but I do try hard. I am not fast, not very comfortable on the road and still refusing to go clipless. I consider myself a 3/10 on the bike. I’ve have completed a few rides last summer with the gang and probably completed 3 x 50km outdoor rides.
This past year I bought a bike trainer and have been using it for a few months now. I have recently signed up to Zwift (#obsessed) and I think it will provide big improvements for me. I have no real assessment of what I can do on a hilly course so I am hoping for anywhere between 3 hours 15 minutes and 4 hours 30 minutes. (EDITORS NOTE: Clare is a stronger cyclist than she is letting on.)
This is my strongest discipline and a couple of years ago I would have considered myself a 7/10. However, last December while out running, I was hit by a car leaving me with a SI Joint and hip injury. I have only started back running in the last two weeks and am really struggling to get fitness and distance back. This does not bode well for running the Boston marathon in 8 weeks but that is a story for another time. I am currently rating my running ability as a 2/10. However July is MONTHS away so I am hoping I will be fully fit and back to decent running by then bringing my score up to a 6/10. My half-marathon PB is 1:34 (a million years ago), and in consideration of the hills on course, and the strain of being 4-5 hours in, I am hoping I would be able to achieve a 1:45-2:00 time.
(EDITORS NOTE: Clare is a stronger runner than she is letting on.)
Nutrition: While I love food and am always trying new superfoods and reading up on the latest trends and research, I am not great with sports nutrition. I currently use protein powder on occasion and on some longer training runs will fill my hydration pack with a electrolyte drink, but that the full extent of my experience. I have only used gels in one ultra and normally only just consume water when running marathons. However I know this will not cut it in a half Ironman so I am looking forward to learning more this season in conjunction with Genuine Health.
The Goal: Therefore budgeting 45- 50 minutes for the swim, 200-250 minutes for the bike, and 105 – 200 minutes for the run adds up to anywhere from 5 hours and 45 minutes to 8 hours 20 minutes. Factor in 10 minutes for transitions, and I’ll be over the moon if I would come in under 6 hours on race day however more realistic at around 7 hours.
Epilogue: Some other fun facts/tidbits for you:
• I can be seen running along the MGT hand dancing and lip-syncing to the best of the 90s (occasionally stopping for a full on dance party when a particularly good song comes on- reason #34 why I run at 5am!!).
• Wind Turbines ARE NOT Windmills and call them windmills upsets me.
• I have never seen any of the Star Wars movies (My partner, Lawless, finds this very upsetting).
• I am 100% addicted to peanut butter and have to limit my access or I would be 200lbs in a matter of weeks.
Here We Go:
If Todd is “the everyman” of our group, I have to be “the trier”. Like everyone else in the group, I don’t intend to take it too seriously, and I’ll probably will finish– but it won’t be easy and I will probably fall over a number of times doing it. But that’s just part of the charm, no???
Check back in the last week of March to see the progress that Todd, Mark and Clare have made over the month. As for me? You can ask me questions about my training anytime and see updates in my monthly Polar Performance Reports.
Way to go Clare……the daft Sheehan is coming out in you, best of luck and enjoy it
Aw, I took cycling up again a couple of years ago and was too scared to go clipless. I got trainers and pedals with the Shimano click n r system which are amazing. You can’t get stuck in them as you can unclip by pulling your feet up in an emergency. I still use them for commuting but have braved proper clipless shoes on my fancy bike 🙂
Good to know Ali, I will look into it! I need to put on my big girl pants sooner rather than later!