Patient Highlight: Tara McWilliams, Lake Placid Ironman
Name? Tara McWilliams
Team? Team Zoot
Physical Therapist? Cuyler
What’s your experience with the Ironman distance? I’ve completed 2- Mont Tremblant in 2016 and Lake Placid in 2022. I’m a fan of hilly courses!
How many have you done both 70.3 and full? I’ve done 2 full and 10 70.3’s.
What’s your main inspiration to keep at this high level of training?
I’ve always enjoyed challenging myself and the process of training. I grew up swimming 6 days/week with a lot of early mornings and green hair (IYKYK). It’s fun to have targeted goals/races on the calendar, but more than that I love how I feel after a good workout. Living in NYC also gives you access to so many groups and people to train with. I’m lucky to have a strong community of people around me which makes the training enjoyable especially as the mileage increases.
How did training go, going into Lake Placid?
I had a solid build-up heading into Lake Placid (LP). Most of my races were 70.3’s over the last few years and I knew I wanted to give the full distance another shot. Given Covid delays/race cancellations, I was able to do a ton of training for fun and to keep busy. This helped me develop a strong base and build my fitness gradually. LP is also one of my favorite places to train/visit so it was very helpful knowing the course prior to the race.
How did FLPT & Cuyler play a part in your training?
Cuyler is the best and the FLPT team has been so supportive to me over the past 2 years. The strength program at FLPT was a game changer for me this season. It was refreshing doing strength to balance out my swim, bike and run workouts. I’ll definitely continue incorporating strength into my weekly routine!
What was the goal for Lake Placid?
I felt prepared at the start line of LP and wanted to go out there have fun and race fast. I had time goals for each event and qualifying for Kona in mind but tried not to put too much pressure on a specific outcome.
How did the race go?
With most endurance sports, there were moments of the day where I felt great and a lot of moments where I suffered. In the end, I was thrilled to cross the finish line with my family spectating and proud of the result. I finished 1st place in my Age Group and 4th Overall Amateur Female which qualified me for my 1st Ironman World Champs in Kona, Hawaii.
What did you learn, biggest takeaway/success? The full ironman distance is a long day, 140.6 miles to be exact. You have a lot of time to have some crazy thoughts, with lots of highs and lows. I found it helpful to try and stay in the moment, be kind to myself and concentrate on my own race.
How have you been preparing for Kona?
I’ve been trying to maintain fitness since LP and Kona are relatively close from a timing standpoint. I’m incorporating some fun endurance events into my schedule to keep things interesting (ie., SOS in September). I’m also keeping the heat factor in mind (hello sauna) and working on dialing in on my nutrition plan.
What are you most excited for at Kona? I’m excited for the challenge and hoping to enjoy the experience of being part of a world championships atmosphere. I’m also pumped to share the course with my coach, teammates and friends who have qualified.
Any plans forming for next year or even several years out?
For as long as I’m having fun, I hope to continue racing! I don’t know exactly what that will look like yet but I’m open to suggestions!