Margie Kinsinger: Preparing for an Ironman

In a quest to boost her fitness for eventing, Margie Kinsinger of Akron, Ohio, is preparing for an Ironman triathlon next year. She recently got creative with her training exercises, as you’ll see in the photos below. Margie competes her 13-year-old Clydesdale/Quarter Horse mare Montana at Beginner Novice. Keeping her in shape for eventing can be a challenge, so Margie also fox hunts with the Chagrin Valley Hunt, along with long trail rides and lessons every week. Take it away, Margie!

Margie and Montana at South Farm. Photo by Brant Gamma Photography.

Margie and Montana at South Farm. Photo by Brant Gamma Photography.

From Margie:

I’ve always thought of eventing as the triathlon of equestrian sports. It is a sport that requires that our horses be at their peak of fitness and fine tune their skills in three very demanding disciplines. Thinking about all that I demand from my horse, I recently decided that I owe it to myself and my horse to be the very fittest that I can be, and what better way to do it than to train for and compete in an Ironman triathlon!

Many have probably heard of the Ironman World Championships held every November in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. Kona is the “Rolex” of triathlons. In order to race at Kona, you must qualify at one of only a handful of Ironman races held in different locations around the world. The race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles on the bike, and a 26.2-mile run (a full marathon), one after the other, and there is a time limit for each phase.

Athletes must complete each phase in the time allowed and complete the entire race (all three phases) within 17 hours; one second over will get you a DNF (did not finish). Similar to eventing, you have different gear for each phase, there is a water obstacle (albeit it’s a large lake or ocean), you get to wear awesome colors, you wear your personal information on your body and there are ecstatic crowds all along the course to cheer you on!

Just like I rely on the expertise of my trainer, Karen Hornyak, for our eventing success, I sought out a personal trainer, Kirsten Beverley, owner of KB Endurance, to help prepare me for my Ironman. I told Kirsten that I am giving myself a full year to prepare and my goal race will be Ironman Arizona in November 2014, two months before I turn 50 years old. Eight weeks into the program, Kirsten has me doing things I never thought possible. At the beginning of the training, I could hardly do one pushup; now I’m doing 35 in a row.

The training requires that I get up at 5 a.m. every morning and head to the gym for weight training, swim training and biking. I have one day off a week. I still have time to ride and train my horse in the evenings after work. It is very rigorous, but very rewarding. Kirsten keeps it interesting and fun. Recently, Kirsten challenged her athletes (I still find it difficult thinking myself as an “athlete”) to take a picture of ourselves doing some of our exercises and be creative. So what better way to workout than on horseback? Montana was very patient with me, as usual! She’s very thankful that mom is finally getting her @$$ in shape.

So, with the support of my family and friends, I will continue my quest for my Ironman, and hopefully this time next year I can sport a 140.6 sticker on the back of my truck, right beside my cherished EVENTING sticker!

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