trust the process

Podcast setup for a triathlon podcast show
November 30, 2023

Sub 9:30 Ironman and a 50 Minute Personal Record

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show notes

In this conversation, Dixon McDonald shares his journey in triathlon, including his background in sports, his experience in a transatlantic ocean rowing race, and his approach to overcoming challenges and setbacks. He discusses the importance of consistency, adaptability, and mental toughness in training and racing. Dixon also reflects on his recent race at Ironman Florida, where he faced injuries but still achieved his goal of finishing under 9 hours and 30 minutes. He emphasizes the value of a strong support system and the motivation to continue improving in the sport.


00:00 - Background and Introduction to Triathlon

03:06 -Transatlantic Ocean Rowing Race

08:00 - Overcoming Challenges and Mental Toughness

12:30 - Dealing with Injuries and Setbacks

17:30 - Race Day and Achieving Goals

28:24 - Looking Ahead to the Future


Mike (00:01.187)

Hi, Mike Ricci here at D3 Multisport podcast with Dixon McDonald. Dixon just got finished with Ironman Florida and I want to welcome him on the show. And how's everything going Dixon?

Dixon McDonald (00:12.802)

Great, happy to be on the other side of Ironman Florida.

Mike (00:16.675)

I bet. So take a, before we get into all that, let's just go back a little bit. Like what was your, what was your background as a kid playing sports and all that and how did that evolve into triathlon, I guess.

Dixon McDonald (00:27.966)

Yeah, so, you know, I was lucky. I grew up with very active parents and, you know, from an early age, got to see my dad working out pretty much every morning before work. You know, I think his alarm would go off well before 6 a.m. and he would, you know, disappear into the gym in the apartment building that we lived in New York. And so, you know, I think from an early age, seeing that level of consistency, certainly. creates a really solid foundation and, and my parents guided me towards a pretty wide range of sports from, ice hockey to tennis to lacrosse. As I got into my high school years, I gravitated primarily towards tennis, which was really my focus and then going into college that was actually when I stumbled upon the endurance sports world. It was almost by luck in a way. I had a close friend who entered the New York City triathlon and the competitive side of me wanted to beat him. And so I signed up. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I wasn't, I really had no background in either of the three disciplines aside from running around a tennis court and one year of swimming in high school and rented a friend's steel-frame bike. Didn't have a clue about nutrition but but was able to work my way to the finish line of the New York City Triathlon and immediately was hooked. And that led me to run my first half marathon, my senior year of college. Again, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't train. I just went out and ran 13.1 miles and I couldn't walk for about three to four days afterwards. But I was looking at my times thinking, if I actually start putting some work into this thing, I might have some somewhat respectable times. And when I graduated from college, I was introduced to an amateur triathlon team called Full Throttle Endurance that kind of became my second family in a way. And with them, that really was the start of my triathlon career and started at sprint and Olympic distance races and kind of moved all the way up to Ironman races. And over the course of that period, just had a itch to try to get better and faster and learn more about the sport. And, you know, thankfully was surrounded by great coaching like yourself among others and great teammates who really supported me in doing that.

Mike (02:59.343)

That's pretty cool. And so, well, let's dive in a little bit into college because I know post-college you had a big endurance event which you rowed across the Atlantic. So tell me a little bit about that. Was that a race or was it for charity?

Dixon McDonald (03:10.962)

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So for context, it's a transatlantic ocean rowing race. It takes place, starts in the Canary Islands, finishes in Antigua. It's 3,000 miles. And I had put together a four-man team to do this race unsupported for charity. And it's an annual race. And we, the year we did it, initially when we signed up there were a little over 30 teams and a little over 100 rowers that had signed up. And that was in, right around 2018 for a December 2020 start. And as we all know, COVID hit in March or so of 2020, everything shut down, including gyms, borders, et cetera. And so my three teammates and I were, were really unsure whether or not we'd actually get to the start line of this race.

And we were lucky in that we, thankfully the borders opened up a little bit and we were able to complete the training that we needed, which included logging 120 hours in one of the ocean rowing boats and a variety of different certifications that we needed ranging from short range radio to sea survival. And being a kid from New York city, having grown up in an apartment, I certainly never thought that I would be taking a sea survival class ahead of rowing a boat across the Atlantic ocean.

We were lucky in that we, we were able to get through training, and through the depths of COVID in a in a healthy way and ended up on the start line, December, 2020. And it took us 36 days, five hours and 10 minutes to complete the journey. While we were out there, we faced everything from 30 foot waves to two massive storms one of which wasn't even on the radar. So it caught us completely off guard We had a power outage on day seven nearly capsized with the snap door and that to top it all off we had a marlin attack our boat Which we initially thought was a was a shark attack, but it was essentially midday and we were We were in rowing one of our shifts and we got ran by what felt like a truck and we quickly realized that a Marlins bill had punctured the hull of our boat and missed my teammates leg by about six inches. And the shift patterns, just to give a sense of kind of how grueling this race is, you row in shifts of two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day. So you never sleep for more than about an hour and 45 minutes at one time. You're burning close to 10,000 calories a day and you're not consuming more than probably 5,000. So you're kind of in the state of constant calorie deprivation. And because you're not walking on the boat at all, it's a 28 foot long or so boat and maybe three and a half feet wide, your calf muscles essentially atrophy. So, you know, in a variety of ways, both mental and physical, it's a brutal, brutal test of endurance, teamwork, selflessness, and just doing whatever it takes to try to get to the finish line.

Mike (06:30.551)

That's wild, that's wild so obviously you had some big challenges there and so you figured you were able to repair the boat obviously right and that was great did you do that from the inside or the outside?

Dixon McDonald (06:37.771)

So we were lucky that we had a repair kit on board. And so we were able to, what we ended up doing was we had about six or seven inches of this Marlins bill that was sticking out of the hull, the inside of our boat. And so we hacksawed off that bill. We left probably another six inches or so of the bill that was wedged in between the layers of the hull of the boat there. We cut one of our dehydrated food packets in half and we essentially use that as a seal to put on the floor of the cabin And combined with epoxy resin that stuck for the remaining 1,000 miles or so that we had So we were lucky that we were able to fix it But when it happened we certainly thought that we were gonna have to evacuate but there was water gushing into the stern cabin We had gotten our grab back out in preparation to potentially need to evacuate and had checked in with the security officer who was helping manage the race from land. And he very nicely guided us through what we needed to do to try to get through that. And thankfully we did, but it was definitely a pretty hero. Well, it could have been a much more harrowing experience, but we thankfully got through it in about six hours and we're well on our way rowing again.

Mike (08:00.195)

Right. So a flat tire on the bike is nothing, right? You can fix that.

Dixon McDonald (08:04.37)

Yeah, you know, it definitely puts triathlon training and racing into perspective. Not to take away from anything triathlon specific, but I would say what was the most challenging aspect of that race compared to being in a triathlon is there's no shoulder, there's no ability to get off, you're on the boat, you're in the middle of the ocean, it's unsupported. So whether it's storms, snap doors, dehydration sleep deprivation, you're in it. And this applies to triathlon as well. But the more you complain, the more you don't want to do what you're supposed to be doing, the slower you go and the longer it takes to get to the finish line. So despite all the challenges that we faced, we were always committed to not fighting with each other when the going got tough and staying committed to the task at hand, which ultimately got us to shore you know, faster than I think it otherwise would have.

Mike (09:02.351)

Right. That's awesome. That's I mean, what great lessons to take with you, especially training for a nine, 10 hour event that you want to go as fast as you can. Right. And that's the whole idea. So do you think that, uh, you know, some of those lessons played your part in, you know, racing long distance triathlon, like you can kind of, you know, pull some of those thoughts up and say, okay, this isn't as bad as this situation. Right.

Dixon McDonald (09:25.838)

Yeah, definitely. You know, I think, I think a few things first off is, you know, training for, whether it's, it's run across the Atlantic Ocean or training for an Ironman. As you and I have talked about so many times, it's one about trusting the process, and two just about being consistent and regardless of what headwinds you may face figuring out a way just to navigate them and yYou know, as soon as COVID hit, our reaction as a team was not, okay, you know, this happened, we're going to drop out of the race. It was like, this actually is a huge advantage to us in a way because let's, let's use this opportunity to train extra hard. Let's figure out a way, you know, even though gyms are closed, let's figure out a way along with our coach to you know, continue to effectively train for this, whether that's being on an erg, you know, in an apartment, in a garage, you know, wherever you can kind of dig one up, you know, going for weighted vest runs outside, but just figuring out a way, regardless of, of what the external factors were to get through it so we could get ourselves to the start line in the best shape possible. I think we use the headwind as a way to motivate us when others were maybe doubting us. And I certainly think that that's applicable when it comes to training for triathlons, whether it's injuries that you face or a packed work or personal schedule, regardless of what it is, just trying to be as consistent as possible, not making excuses and just using whatever the metaphorical storm is as motivation to help grind through it. And again, as you know, I have talked about, you know, in a way when you face a lot of those hardships in training, it just better prepares you for race day. And when you are racing and you have an ache or pain, which inevitably happens, especially over the course of a long distance race, whether it's in your, you know, legs back or mental, you just can revert back to those moments in training when you said, man, this just absolutely sucks. And I want to get off the bike. I want to stop running. I'm cramping. I haven't taken enough carbs. Whatever the reason is, if it happened in training and you start to feel that in a race, you can say, look, I know I've overcome this in training. So I know that I can overcome it in this race. And at the end of the day, in X number of hours, it'll be over and you'll be, you know, on the couch, you know, with a big plate of food in front of you.

Mike (12:03.843)

Right. So, you know, going into Florida, you know, we're going back to August or so you, you had, sprain from tennis and then got back on track and then had an issue with your back. And one man can only take so many body blows. Right. And, and I think that, uh, you know, if, if we look at like even September 30th, September 15th, the chances that you do in the race, if they were 50/50, I would say that would be pretty good, but I don't even know that they were there because, you know, there was a lot of doubt if you could get your back healthy enough in your legs, which you hadn't been running because of the back and then the calf before that, and we'd only put in minimal amount of running.

You know, what got you over the hump there to just say, okay, I've got six weeks, I'm going to just do the best I can? And obviously we were doing more cycling. So that was helping a ton. And then when the back with Chelsea, obviously you're swimming as much as you could. You know that, like I said, I mean, sometimes you can just only take so many hits, right. And it just, it hurts.

Dixon McDonald (12:57.282)


Mike (13:09.183)

So, so we got to early to mid September or so, and you're kind of on the fence. Like what kind of got you out there every day to get the workouts in and say, okay, I just, I'm just going to knock this out and you know, it'll be what it's going to be?

Dixon McDonald (13:20.562)

Yeah. So I think, you know, in July when, when the ankle sprain happened, you know, again, I think it's all about the supporting staff that you have around you, so to speak. And, and the kind of the support you get from, coaching and family and friends. And you and I were very quick to adapt my training schedule to account for the fact that, okay, I can't run, you know, for the time being, I can't really bike either.

So let's get in the pool, let's keep the aerobic work high and swim really as many yards as you possibly can in the span of a week. And so we were able to adapt training to accommodate for the ankle injury. And then as my ankle slowly improves while I still couldn't run, I was able to obviously bike. And so you and I focused a lot on getting my cycling power up. And then you know, before my run even really came back, I had some pretty severe back spasms. So much so that I couldn't get out of bed for a two and a half day period. And I think it was mid September, as you mentioned. And it was around that time where, you know, you and I, you know, had a conversation about, okay, you know, is Iron Man Florida realistic? And should we just call it a season and kind of tie a bow on it after missing age group nationals because of my ankle and... focus on 2024 and, you know, to your credit, you, I think you, you definitely push me as well to not mail it in. Having been through lingering injuries; I've had foot surgery before I've had Achilles issues, that have knocked me out of races or at least deferred my ability to race and past races, and speaking to the rowing race as well where, you know, every day there was some part of your body that was either hurting or fatigued. Just knowing that if you adapt training, you know, you can still stay on track to ultimately get to where you want to be. But again, it goes back to just a belief in what you're doing and just using whatever injury you're kind of dealing with in the moment, using it just as a form of motivation to say, look, people might be counting me out and maybe that's imaginary and just you're using that as a tool to self-motivate. But whenever those injuries happened, I looked at it as a challenge to myself to try to come back stronger and come back on the other side of it saying, you know what, if I didn't think that I could break 930 in an Ironman and I... just didn't think that was even in the cards, but by staying consistent and staying motivated and just controlling what you can control, and also thankfully having a very patient fiance who put up with my occasional mood swings during my injuries, that certainly was the support that I needed to get to the start of the race and then have, I think...Luckily a really solid race.

Mike (16:42.231)

Well, it had more to do with it than luck, but yeah, I hear you. So, you know, we talked about before the race, like, yeah, specifically, you know, you didn't have your long runs in, like, you know, as many as we want, you did a couple, but you've got years of endurance and that, that all matters and it all counts, you know, the rowing. I mean, it's all just, you know, and like I said, you're at some point in that race or quads are going to go and that's what you're going to have to deal with. And, you know, you didn't fall off too much. That's awesome. I think, you know, a lot of good takeaways in there. I mean, obviously, you know, your backs against the wall and, you know, you're counting yourself out, you're not counting yourself out, maybe other people counting you out, you've got a good support staff, you know, people around you helping you out, you know, family, friends. I was doing whatever I could to keep you uplifted, you know, it was, you know, it was dark days in there for sure. And, I was really bummed about it. It's like, and the other side of it, I'm like, you're so close to just going out there and just having a great swim and a great bike and see what the run is. Right. And if you run 3:30, which I think is well below your capability, that's fine. And that's kind of how it went. Right. Take me through the day. I think that it started out really well and I think it finished really strong and if you just want to, you know, kind of recap it'd be great.

Dixon McDonald (17:55.614)

Yeah. So in terms of race day, we had really great weather. It definitely was lining up to, I think, be a pretty fast day on the course. So the starting temperature in the morning was around 55 degrees. The water temp was, I think, right around 74 and a half, maybe 75 degrees. So just inside of Wetsuit Legal.

It was a two lap swim course. I started with the group that I think was, was right around the 55 minute mark. When the gun went off, the first lap, it was just open water. And so I quickly found, someone's feet, and was able to sit on them for the vast majority of the first lap. The, the water conditions, I think from, you know, how that race can historic or has historically sometimes been, I think were very manageable. There wasn't big surf. There was maybe a little chop once you got out past the pier. I would say the biggest distraction was that there were just thousands of jellyfish. And thankfully, none of them were the stinging kind, or at least none that I felt. I think I maybe had one minor sting at some point throughout the 2.4-mile swim, but nothing severe.

And then the second lap, you had to get out of the water, run for about a hundred or so yards on the beach and then start the second lap. And then you kind of plow into the back of the wim pack that had fairly recently gotten into the water. And so that was, that was a little challenging, just trying to navigate around a pretty huge pack of other age group athletes that were just starting their first lap of the swim.

Initially, I tried to hug the buoys and it just ended up being a total cluster and people swimming in a variety of different directions. So I ended up navigating kind of towards the outside of the pack. Even though I think that meant me probably swimming a little bit longer than the 2.4 miles, I think my hope is that it saved a little bit of time versus getting caught in the inside where I wouldn't have been able to really navigate.

And so I came in pretty much an hour flat. I think my first lap was 28 minutes. My second lap, obviously, a little bit slower. And I think that was just due to congestion on the course. And then the first transition was definitely long. And I kind of knew that going in. So I was able to manage my expectations that it would be right around a 7, 8 minute T1.

Mike (20:25.54)


Dixon McDonald (20:39.77)

I took my time, didn't run too fast, was able to get my wetsuit off pretty quickly out of getting out of the water. I got onto the bike with, with no real issues. I'm someone who definitely prefers colder weather versus hotter weather, despite being based in South Florida. I think the temperature may have been in the low sixties or so by the time we started, which for me actually is really comfortable.I didn't have any arm warmers or gloves on, although there were definitely athletes that were putting those on.

And for the bike my heart rate monitor Didn't connect to my Garmin bike computer My power was there but I for the entirety of the bike course I was unable to get my heart rate monitor to connect and so, you know initially that was a little bit of a distraction and I think what happened was and whoever's listening might be able to correct me if I'm if I'm speaking out of turn here, but I think my heart rate monitor was still connected to my watch from the swim. I hadn't saved my swim workout yet, so I think that's what caused an issue. And I tried to briefly stop my garmin by computer to connect my heart rate monitor, but it just ended up being complicated. And I knew from having in the lead up to the race, I guess, for context, you know, we had programmed five consecutive weekends of rides ranging anywhere from a hundred miles to a hundred and just inside of 130 miles. And I knew in those conditions that my heart rate pushing, you know, normalized power of somewhere between 210-ish watts that my heart rate should be right around kind of mid-130s to kind of low to mid-140s. And so I... quickly just trusted that my power numbers were correct. And based on the handful of hundred plus mile rides that we had done within those power ranges, that if I stuck to that power, that I would be, you know, hopefully fine getting off the bike. And, you know, thankfully that's what happened. And throughout the bike course, stuck to the nutrition plan that we had tested, you know, for a very long time that worked for me.

Mike (22:35.637)


Dixon McDonald (22:57.17)

On the bike course itself, the first probably 20 or 30 miles, there were some light headwinds. I think there were sustained winds of maybe nine, 10 miles an hour or so, gusting a little bit higher than that. And then the back probably 30 or so miles of the bike race had a tailwind. So it was a little bit of a challenging start, but certainly nice on those later miles to see your speed hovering well above your average as your average kind of slowly creeped up.

Mike (23:22.843)


Mike (23:42.467)

We figured 452 to 455, 58, something like that, right? Okay, right on target.

Dixon McDonald (23:46.698)

Yep, exactly. So it came in, you know, right on target, which was, which was great. Um, and, and then came into T2. Again, no issues and was able to pretty quickly transition from, from bike to run and body was feeling good for the most part, although I would say what was most challenging about the Ironman Florida bike course, despite being, I think, you know, a fast course is that it's flat. So you're in aero for. you know, 98% of that entire bike course. And that definitely affects your shoulders, your neck, your back, you know, pretty dramatically. And again, having trained in South Florida, which is flat as a pancake, you know, we were lucky in that, you know, I just got to train in that exact environment. But you know, when you are training, maybe you get up a little bit more than you actually do on race day. So that was certainly a challenge on race day, but I think one that we were, you know, ultimately prepared for and then on the bike course, the goal was to run right around 7:40 to 8:00 minute or so miles. Within the first mile, both quad started seizing up a little bit. And so I, I initially thought this was going to be a really long day, and might end up having to walk the marathon. I looked down at my watch and realized that I was running around seven minute miles, which is dramatically faster, but I felt my legs felt so heavy that I was convinced that my watch was wrong. And I just thought there's absolutely no, like I thought I was running nine and a half minute miles or, you know, walking nine and a half minute miles. I didn't think I was running sevens. And so I was slowed it down, I think, maybe after the first mile when my watch clicked off, I think a 7:10 or 7:11 first mile, and then was able to settle into, you know, miles more in that kind of 7:40 ish range. And the it was a two loop out and back course, the outs were very straightforward, slightly down downhill at times with a little bit of a tailwind.

So that was actually really comfortable. It was the coming back into Panama City beach where it was, you faced a little bit more of an uphill, headwind, and that was mentally really tough. And I just kept telling myself, just try to get to the halfway point. You'll turn around, you'll have another six or so miles that are where you have a little bit of a tailwind and you can just kind of coast those and then turn it around and just put your head down and try to grind out the last 10.

So when with 10 miles left, really just try to compartmentalize each mile, hit each aid station kind of treat those last 10 miles as intervals as, and, and as they were taking off, I just told myself, okay, you have 10% less, 10% less. around the time that I was touching on four and a half or so miles left, I knew that if I blew up which essentially meant running nine minute miles or slower that I wouldn't break the 3.30 mark on the marathon. And I knew that I probably wouldn't break the 9.30 mark for the overall course time. And so I managed to negative split each of the last four miles of the race. I think I had started slowing down and my slowest mile was an 8.46. And I think I went 8.46, 8.43, kind of 8.45 and eight flattish and I think my last mile was right around 7:15. So, you know, I don't know if that, I don't think I had any more to give. I was certainly in a world of pain at that point, but really, really proud of the fact that I was able to, to get through those last few miles at a solid clip and.

When I crossed the finish line, I saw my fiance and I actually didn't know what my total time was. I knew what my marathon time was, but not my total time. She pulled up the finishing time and I came in 58 seconds inside of 9.30. The goal that we had set out of, which I think was the lofty goal of coming in at 9.30, we broke by 58 seconds.

Mike (28:00.751)

Yeah, for sure. That's awesome.

Dixon McDonald (28:05.706)

So it was really pleased with the outcome. And it was one of those days where the stars aligned and was able to have a great race, which can be few and far between sometimes, but when it does come together and you execute the plan, there aren't too many better feelings than that.

Mike (28:24.099)

Right. That's awesome. No, I'm super proud of the effort you put in. I mean, especially finishing with that, that big, you know, last mile, almost as fast as the first mile. That was incredible. And I think that it just, now we know you can do an Ironman on, you know, six solid weeks of training. We don't ever want to do that again, but we know. You know, you can pull out a nine 30. You know, I, like we, we talked about, you know, there's a lot of time left on the table in terms of, cause that run fitness, you know, when you get it up to where it needs to be, it affects everything, right? It makes it easier, it makes biking easier. And, you know, biking, even, even biking a 445, five minutes less is going to give you some more energy for the run. And so that run, I mean, you've, you've probably got a good 15, 20 minutes there. We can probably take out of that, which I'm looking forward to. I think it's a good launching point for next year, whether you race an Ironman or not. You know, especially if you're going to focus on 70.3, I mean, it's all to be determined or, you know, go to age group nationals and have a great race there, but I think, you know, the whole season for you and, you know, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that, you know, June, July, or maybe, maybe up to June, like things were looking pretty good and everything. Got a couple of injuries with the, you know, ankle sprain and then the back. And then it kind of goes south. My feeling honestly, was just like, let's go have a decent race. Like let's go 940, 945 set the goal for 930, but let's just go out there and have something to launch into next year saying, okay, all that training worth it all paid off.

I know you can bike 450, right? We know you could, and that probably that swim wasn't long, but the times were slow, I think, because of the current, even the pros were 52, 53 minutes. So that was off by a good, you know, whatever that is, a few percentage points there I just wanted to see you launch into next year saying the training was worthwhile, I had some value and now I can launch into next year with some motivation, not finish the season, like, you know, mid September and know putting a bow on it like you said and just being like okay what do we do a half marathon in December like that wasn't gonna quench your you know.

Dixon McDonald (30:19.494)

Yeah, no, definitely not. And, you know, just briefly speaking to the beginning of the season, you know, I had a really strong beginning of the season, you know, we decided to race Challenge Miami and had a really good race there, I think finished in four hours and 19 minutes. And then pretty soon thereafter, ran a half marathon and ran a 1:20 half. And then there was an Olympic distance race nearby in South Florida and came in, I think, third overall in that race on the amateur side of things. And so I definitely had a huge amount of confidence going into early July and then the ankle sprain happened and it just kind of, it felt like at the time that it just torpedoed all the work that we've been putting in, which was very frustrating. But again, to your point that you had made you know, you just, the sooner you kind of accept whether it's a failed workout or, you know, you accept the injury, the quicker you get over it. And, and, you know, the shorter amount of time that you, you're kind of stuck feeling bad for yourself. You know, the quicker you do accept it, the faster you can hopefully recover and figure out a way to navigate that. I think without having, you know, bought into that philosophy, I don't think that a sub nine 30 Ironman would have been possible in early November.

Mike (31:41.859)

Yeah, no, I mean, definitely a reach. I mean, definitely a reach, but you, you executed it and the day went well. The weather was great. The swim was a little slow. I mean, look, that could have been a nine 25 on a better, on a better swim day. I think the other side is that, all that fitness actually does matter. Right. And you know, the old adage and it's kind of a joke, but it's the truth. Like you can't get a triathlete to work on a weakness unless they get injured, right. And your biking is not your weakness. You're running is not, I don't know if you have any weaknesses really, but the fact that you're able to put all those miles on the bike helped a ton and it helped the run, right? So that run is just going to get better and better than that bike. Now you, now you know what a big block on the bike does and we can do a couple of those in next year, no matter what you do. So that, that stuff's all just, I think low hanging fruit, which is, you know, a lot of fun to look forward to, to coaching you and what the race season looks like next year. Yeah.

Dixon McDonald (32:34.378)

Definitely, definitely. Yeah, no, I'm, I'm excited and, you know, the addicting part of this whole, of triathlon or the exciting part, especially as you get a little bit older is, you know, there, there are, there are three sports aside from maybe running, but you know, I'm at an age where I'm, I'm kind of lucky enough that I feel like I still have a solid, you know, five to 10 years where I can get fasternand where, you know, I think we can hopefully chase that sub nine hour mark.

Mike (33:02.264)

Yeah, I agree.

Dixon McDonald (33:02.35)

On a flat course, which, which is really exciting and, and certainly keeps me motivated. And, and, um, again, it, it goes back to, you know, having, having a, a great support system that is supportive of, you know, me getting up at, at early hours and disappearing for half a Saturday to spend six hours on the bike and run and, you know, then come back exhausted and, but again, at the end of the day, I love the process. I love the journey. And I really thoroughly enjoy training for these races and seeing what the body and mind are capable of. And so I definitely, whether it's another Ironman or a shorter course race, this is something that I would love to do as long as my body is capable of doing it. And hopefully, that's for many more decades to come. So yeah, again, just really happy to have done Iron Man Florida and looking forward to what's next.

Mike (34:02.715)

Awesome. Well, thanks so much for the conversation. I think we all had a lot of takeaways and learned a ton. So really appreciate it. Thanks, Dixon. All right.

Dixon McDonald (34:09.25)

Thanks for having me on. Yeah.

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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