Meet Catherine – one of the kindest and most caring people you will ever come across.

In 2000 she had back surgery and was restricted with activities. However, as she recovered she stopped smoking and slowly started exercising. Then, 9/11 happened and she was in the mix of the chaos in NYC.

Following the events of 9/11 she promised herself she would always try to be fit in case she ever needed to physically help herself or another person.

In 2015 Catherine hired RTA to coach her for her first IRONMAN. She busted her butt and was ultimately successful.

After a few years off, she decided to she wanted to return to Lake Placid in 2018 for IRONMAN. She wanted to test her limits again. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to help guide her and over see her triathlon training program once again.

Below is a short Q & A with Catherine regarding her IRONMAN journey.


Fitness Gains for the Year

Here’s a quick glance at Catherine’s 2018 progression through the lens of her periodic test results.

Regular testing throughout training provides an accurate snap shot of current fitness in each discipline. The data from these tests help the coach and athlete dial in workouts to elicit greater fitness gains. It is also helpful when determining race day pacing strategies. 


January –> March –> May

SWIM: 2:22  –> 2:05 –> 2:02

(500 yard test)

Race time: 1:27

BIKE: ??? watts –> 140 –> 160

Functional Threshold Power (FTP)

Race time: 8:07

RUN: 10:32 min/mi –> 9:55 –> 9:45

(3 mile test)

Race time: 5:10  — NO WALKING!


FININSH Time: 15:02


Catherine’s IRONMAN Journey – Q & A


How did you get into triathlon?

In 2003 my friend Trish had a crazy idea. She wanted to run the NYC Marathon. So I started running. 

I ran the NYC marathon in 2004 and 2005, but had trouble with injuries. A friend suggested I start to incorporate some cross training. Ultimately I learned how to swim and started doing sprint triathlons. 


Why did you sign up for IRONMAN?

When I was younger I saw the cover of a magazine and the picture was an aerial shot of the swim portion of an IRONMAN. I was intrigued by the EPIC nature of an IRONMAN and always thought, ‘how cool it would be to be an “IRONMAN?”‘

I like the idea of setting a goal, working hard at it and then achieving it!

Ultimately, I wanted to do something that would push myself outside of my comfort zone – both physically and mentally.


Why did you decide to hire a coach?

I hired a professional triathlon coach with lots of experience, all the best certifications, and stellar athletic achievements. At first I was drawn to RTA because of their professionalism and detail on their website.

When I had my first phone conversation with Coach Elizabeth, I her passion for coaching was very obvious. Her personality was a perfect fit for me. I could see Elizabeth would give me the confidence to do things that I might not do on my own. I really trusted her.

Finally, I appreciated the fact that Chris and Elizabeth coach triathlon professionally. They don’t do this on the side like most coaches. Since coaching is a big investment, I wanted to make sure I was a priority.


What was going through your head just before you jumped into the water and started swimming?

I felt gratitude, joy and thanked God. 

As I entered into Mirror Lake, I looked at the sea of people and got the feeling that IRONMAN is just so much bigger than me.

IRONMAN is a community of like minded people ready to push their physical and mental limits. I felt fortunate to be there to celebrate all the months of hard work.



What was the best part of the day?

Seeing my family and friends out there cheering for me and the other athletes. Their faces warmed my heart and kept me going.


What was the worst/hardest part of the day and how did you overcome it?

The first loop of the bike was like nothing I have ever experienced. For four hours it rained, it was windy and there were wind gusts. For this, I was fortunate we road the course in the rain during Triathlon Training Camp one week prior.

Mile 16-26 of the run was also difficult! However, I DID NOT WALK ONCE! This was one of my goals.


What will you do differently next time (if anything)?

Ha! Well, I would wear a rain slicker during the bike portion when rain is predicted. I had one packed in my bike gear bag, but for some idiotic reason, I chose not to wear it. Lesson learned!


What was going through your head when you crossed the finished line and Mike Reilly called you an IRONMAN?

Oh gosh! So many things went through my head, but mostly gradtitude to be able to have the mental courage and physical strength to sign up for, train and finish an IRONMAN. 

And, of course, having the support of my family and friends.

All those feelings bubbled up in the last 60 seconds and hit me in such a euphoric way. I get choked up thinking about it now.

IRONMAN Lake Placid is a community.  The volunteers are just wonderful. No amount of thanks covers how special they made me feel on race day. – Catherine


Are you a woman with dreams of doing a triathlon?

Do you aspire to maybe some day finish an IRONMAN triathlon?

You’re not alone.

RTA Triathlon is a proud Grant Recipient of the IRONMAN Foundation’s Women for Tri Grant. We have a wonderful group of women within our community who help one another along their journey to be the best they can be.

Learn more about Women for Tri.

Learn more about Team RTA. 


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