Experienced Triathlete Decides to Go LONG
Meredith Kursmark is an experienced triathlete. She has finished 7 half iron distance races in the past and has qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals several times. However, she was ready for a new challenge.
In December of 2021, she signed up for IRONMAN Lake Placid. She knew she would need an experienced triathlon coach for such a big undertaking, so she began to search on IRONMAN U® for coaches to interview.
Target: IRONMAN Lake Placid
Her #1 goal was to finish IRONMAN® Lake Placid (which she did). She also wanted to hit her goal times in each discipline and feel confident in her training and race preparation while having fun during the process. Spoiler Alert: She did that too!
In fact, she TOTALLY crushed her goal swim goal. It was actually a significantly faster pace than any of her previous 70.3’s (half the distance for those keeping track at home, lol) and proceeded to crush her bike and follow it up with a solid run. Her race was well executed, and it showed in her results.
Q & A with Meredith
Below is a Q & A on Meredith’s triathlon journey and how she ultimately achieved her goal of finishing IRONMAN® Lake Placid.
We hope you find inspiring.
How and Why did you get into triathlon?
I got into triathlon in med school when a friend asked a few of us if we wanted to do a Sprint triathlon later that summer. I was never good at sports and had just started running about a year before this. I had a hybrid bike I rode around the city. And I had never swam other than sometimes a few laps at the gym. So, the 4 of us trained for the next couple months and then did the race. I finished 348th of 368 but still had so much fun. Since it was so fun, we signed up for the NYC Triathlon the following summer. I did significantly better and had even more fun. Since then, I've been hooked!
You recently completed your first full IRONMAN®. What was that like?
It was awesome!
Most of it was fun, and some of it was rough and kind of miserable, but I had no doubts about my ability to finish, even when it did get tough.
The crowds were amazing and seeing my friends and family and teammates and their support crews along the course was incredible. Everyone was cheering so loud and so sincerely that it just made the whole day so fun and exciting.
What was the best part of the race for IRONMAN Lake Placid?
I can't decide! I think some was the joy I felt seeing my friends and family along the racecourse.
And the feeling of accomplishment when I was coming down the finisher chute.
What was the worst/hardest part of the day and how did you overcome it?
The worst part was some GI issues on the run so I had to walk a couple times to manage them. But otherwise, physically I felt good enough that I knew I'd finish so that kept me going. Plus knowing I had gone ahead of schedule on the swim and bike so had some time in the bank and that I could still meet (and actually beat) my time goal really helped.
What will you do differently next time (if anything)?
I will have to figure out long course nutrition a little better to prevent (or minimize) the GI issues. But other than that nothing I would change as all my training prepared me 100% for the race.
Any general advice you'd give to other women in general about triathlon?
Go for it!
It is so fun and the great thing about it is that it is just you doing your best. You can compare yourself to others or try to make the podium, but a lot of triathletes are just trying to do their personal best or meet another individual goal.
You don't have to have played sports in high school or been a runner or a swimmer to still have fun and even be quite good at triathlon!