America’s next great Hawaii Ironman hopeul, in his rookie Kona season, gets advicerom the last American to win (2001 and 2002).
“In every picture you see o Macca he’s out there smilingaway, grinning ear to ear. So there’s got to be somethingto that. Just have un with it. And it will change you.”
anything. Focus on yoursel. And thinko the word “strong.” Strong on the bikeand the run—more than ast. I’d go do Austria or Frankurt, and that was ast.Man, we were fying! But Kona—it wasalways just strong. Mentally strong andphysically strong.
I think the men would have brokeneight hours by now i we paced it better.… I always preach to mysel when I’mstarting a run, even i I eel great: Holdback. Just hold back.
That was the one thing in Texas—Ielt ne at the beginning o the run.
You usually do. I you’re trained right,you should.
My heart rate wasn’t up, I wasn’tbreathing hard. But then all o a sudden,at 18, 19 miles, the brakes went on.
When you start the run, holdyoursel back. A six-minute pace shouldeel pretty easy to run, compared towhat you’re used to, but that’s a 2:36marathon. People don’t do that inHawaii. So run 6:30s. Pull back and thenslowly build into it. I ran 2:43 there, and Istarted at a seven-minute pace.
Nutrition was my big-gest concern going into Ironman Texas[May 2011, O’Donnell’s rst ever Iron-man], and I think it will be my biggestconcern going into Kona with the heat.
My main ocus was alwaysto create a strong stomach to be able tohandle anything that’s out there.
I read that Peter Reid [three-timeKona champion] would eat a big plate o nachos beore a run. Would you do thatkind o stu?
Oh yeah. I’d go out or my second runo the day, shove a huge peanut butterand jelly sandwich in on my way outthe door, just to get used to having thatmuch ood in my stomach. I you canget through that, then you pretty muchknow you can handle anything. I don’tthink I’ve ever done an Ironman whereI haven’t thrown up, or where I haven’tthought: Oh god, here comes a cramp.
What’s the biggest dierence I needto look out or in Kona?
The hype leading into it. Turn yourInternet o once you get over there.Watch bad movies or bad TV. Don’t read
In terms o the pressure, it’s kind o the fip side or me, going in with Rinnyas the deending champ. I should maybeask Nicole [DeBoom, Tim’s wie and or-mer pro] this, but what’s that vibe like?It’s going to be a circus around her.
The best thing you can do is stepaside and take care o yoursel. As muchas you’ll want to be there or her, youcan do that back in your condo. On theoutside, you need to take care o your-sel. You’ve got to hold that energy o your own the whole time you’re in Kona.I you’re giving it out, i you’re walkingaround the expo shaking hands, all thatstu—you’re giving away energy. I you’re thinking about your competitiontoo much, you’re giving away energy. You’ve got to just hold onto that oryoursel.
I remember you said beore Texas,“It’s your rst one, just have un.” I guessit’s the same with your rst Kona.
Exactly. Have un with it. Nicoletaught me that. She’d say, “Just smile.I you’re eeling rough, smile.” It makeseverything better. I had a shitty race lastyear, but I smiled a lot more than I everhave over there. That’s what made it aworthwhile day. Every picture you seeo Macca he’s out there smiling away,grinning ear to ear. So there’s got to besomething to that. Just have un with it. And it will change you. You’ll want to doit again.