Meet the Kona Team: Margie McParland

Continuing our series profiling each one of our age group team members racing in this year's Ironman World Championships, we are thrilled to chat with Margie McParland. Team SFQ'er Margie earned her Hawaii Ironman qualification by winning the 40-44 age group at Ironman Boulder.
Margie, you are definitely the only person we know who has dominated her age group at an ironman while running the marathon in veil with her SMASH kit!! Can you tell us about your journey to Kona qualifying at Ironman Boulder this year right before your wedding? 
So the back story here is that 3 years before IM Boulder I met Greg at the swim start of my very first half the Boulder 70.3 (which used to be in June).  I remember going back to the car to get ready for my swim wave and telling my Mom that “I met a cute guy.” The rest is history as they say and we have celebrated this weekend as our unofficial (now official!) anniversary since, so this race is extra special to us as a couple. As far as IM Boulder is concerned I was able to get in really consistent and high volume training in the lead up to the race.  I shortened my ski season up a month to start my build and I was getting in 2 workouts daily and nailing run paces that I had never achieved before.  If anything I was worried about the bike, which is usually my strength, with the race so early in the season.  Come race day it was HOT and having been hospitalized for heat stroke the previous June in Raleigh I was concerned about my health and decide to race my race, be steady, and see how it pans out. This included backing of the run pace by about 30 seconds with the goal being to endure and not slow down.  It paid dividends.  I was able to hold on and not get caught by the the stronger runners behind me. I still can’t believe it!!!!
Speaking of weddings, you seem to have a very supportive other half! Can you tell us about your team? :)
 As I mentioned above I met Greg before the swim at my first 70.3, and I remember thinking he must be a pro, I have no idea why I thought that but he must have looked the part, or maybe he was just cute :). Greg is also an experienced triathlete and a part time ski pro and deserves credit for helping me achieve the next level in both sports. He is really amazing and has not only supported me in my desire to be a triathlete but also to be part of your team of amazing women.  He is my #hometeam and has taken on much of the “adulting” that has allowed me to focus so much of this last year on triathlon and achieve my dream. I couldn’t ask for better partner in life and adventure.
We can imagine it's been a whirlwind between qualifying, getting married, then having Kona on the horizon. Can you tell us about how you managed it all?  
Greg Proposed on the top of the mountain at Breckenridge where we spend all our winter weekends.  We planned to have the wedding as soon as possible and in Cleveland, Ohio because of my Moms deteriorating health.  So the wedding date ended up being 6 days after Ironman boulder and 3 years after we first met.  My Mom, sister, and aunts were instrumental in the wedding planning because I live so far away.  Also, we really didn’t sweat the details and kept it small and sincere.   By the time we got back to Colorado it was time to get back to training.  I was also lucky enough that my job as a substitute teacher (I’m in the middle of a career change... or crisis?) allowed me the flexibility to train pretty intensely in the 3month lead into Boulder and school was out this summer.  The Kona build has not been as ideal, I’ve struggled with the loss of my mother - I still can’t believe a typed that - she was my biggest fan and cheerleader and I will miss her forever.  She was diagnosed with IPF last year right before my first Ironman in Louisville and was admitted to the hospital the day before Boulder 70.3 in August but didn’t tell me until after the race so I wouldn’t worry.  I went back home for the final 5 weeks of her life and I rode and ran to the hospital each day as part of my workouts.  My swimming really lacked for that period of time but I did what I could do.  I lost my mom on Tuesday, September 3rd.  My fitness isn’t what I “think” it should be but then again neither is anything else right now.  This distance is all about overcoming challenges thrown your way along the way and parallels life in so many ways.
What are you most looking forward to about your first Kona experience?Swimming in the ocean!!! I’m not the fastest swimmer but I really enjoy open water swimming, there is something back to nature about it that fills me up, so I can’t wait to swim in the ocean where I can see all the marine life.  Hopefully I’m not too distracted ;) I’m also really just excited to do all the “Kona” things and take in all the energy and beauty of this Island during our stay.
What are your goals for the race?
This race obviously has so many good athletes racing so my biggest goal is to really just stay in the moment, control what I can, and not get caught up what is happening all around me.  I always want to be competitive but as long as I have a solid race and do the best that I can on that day, I’d consider the race a success.  Considering some of the life changes I’ve dealt with recently I’ve really tried to embrace a new goal:  Race with Gratitude and be Joyful that I have the ability to take on an event like Ironman.
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