Press-Republican

July 28, 2013

Porters enter first Ironman together

By COURTNEY LEWIS Press-Republican
Press-Republican

---- — Usually when a couple decides to settle down, that doesn’t mean training for and competing in an Ironman triathlon.

But after hiking all over the country, Colleen and Loring Porter needed to stay in one place for a while — and still be active.

“Ironman was a way to get outside and do all the sports we like to do,” Colleen said.

The Lake Placid husband and wife will be among more than 2,800 people expected to take on the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run that comprise today’s Ironman Lake Placid.

The Porters hiked the Appalachian Trial, which stretches about 2,180 miles between Georgia and Maine, in 2002. They’ve also completed the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail between Canada and Mexico.

In 2011, they moved from Maine’s Mount Desert Island to Lake Placid and became interested in triathlons.

“We heard there were Monday mini-triathlons, and we thought, ‘That looks interesting. We have bikes. We can swim. We’ve been running. We’ll see how it goes,’” Colleen said. “We were dabbling in it.”

Eventually they raced in the Tupper Lake Tinman. Today they’ll tackle their first Ironman.

Colleen, an occupational therapist, and Loring, who works for Placid Industries, have put in plenty of training during the last year, including running and cycling around the area. It’s a significant time commitment, and Loring said they’ve encouraged each other.

“It’s a benefit that we’re both doing it,” he said. “We don’t have kids; we don’t have dogs — the laundry may get neglected or something.

“Some days I don’t know if I want to go running, but she says, ‘I’m going.’ So I say, ‘OK, I guess I’ll go.’”

Colleen will be racing in the Women’s 35 to 39 age group, and the swim and the run are her stronger events. She said before doing triathlons, she took up running and raced in the Boston Marathon in 2010.

Loring said he used to bike to school while growing up in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and the ride home included a big climb. Around here, he likes to ride Whiteface Mountain. So it’s no surprise that the bike leg of the triathlon is his strength. He’s in the Men’s 45 to 49 age group.

Colleen said she “can’t fathom” what it’s going to be like doing all three legs, one after the other. But Loring thinks that some of their hiking experience will make today’s grueling task a little less daunting.

“A lot of the trails, you’re physically in motion for 10 to 12 hours. That’s the same as Ironman; you have to meter your energy for a whole day of movement,” he said, adding that when hiking, he would break down each day’s trip into segments and he plans to do the same today. “I’m not running an Ironman, I’m just going to run to Intervale Bridge, which I’ve done 100 times. I’m just cycling to Jay.”

After bruising his ribs in a mountain biking accident two weeks ago, Loring said his goal for the Ironman is “to finish in one piece.” Colleen said at times she has set a target of 14 hours. But other times, she thinks just finishing will be enough.

If the pattern holds, Colleen will cross the finish line before Loring — which has been causing Loring a little bit of grief.

“It’s been a joke from our friends — ‘Colleen always beats you. Are you going to let her beat you this time?’” Colleen said. Loring readily admitted that his wife is usually more competitive in races, although he did point out that he beat her by 50 seconds in a half marathon trail race they both entered.

Colleen said they won’t try to race together today.

“Because the bike is not my strongest thing and it is his, I don’t want him to have a horrible experience,” she said. “We decided you just bike your race, and I’ll do mine. And he’s not as strong a runner. So we’ll probably see each other, but we’re going to just go with what’s comfortable and see what happens.”

Email Courtney Lewis:clewis@pressrepublican.com

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