Mirinda Carfrae and husband Tim O’Donnell are the proud parents of Isabelle. Izzy. Just as with Gwen Jorgensen, we have another triathlon star coming back to form as a new mom. Mirinda is back in the swing, as the attached images show, just, with motherhood as an added blessing.
Mirinda and Tim – do they need a portmanteau? (I have one in mind!) a little help from our readers? – live in Boulder, Colorado, but not this time of year. They are training in Noosa, on Australia’s Gold Coast. She and I talked via WhatsApp, and Slowtwitcher Talbot Cox – who’s making all those great videos with Mirinda, Lionel Sanders and Gwen Jorgensen – sent me over some pics and videos. (Talbot is his own professional multimedia machine and I think we need an interview with him.)
Mirinda has won the Hawaiian Ironman World Championship 3 times, and the 70.3 Worlds once. Tim has placed 3rd in Kona and is an ITU Long Course World Champion. Here’s Mirinda.
Slowtwitch: How is motherhood? And, are you doing to be like Jordan Rapp and end up with an entire mixed team relay? Or are you one-and-done?
Mirinda Carfrae: No. We definitely want to have more than one. If I was in a different job I’d probably have a couple by now. But I need my body to be fit and healthy and not carrying babies. So we waited a little while longer than I wanted to.
ST: So you’ll race a few more years and try for number two.
MC: I’d like to have three.
ST: When I first met Cameron Brown he was 19, which is I think about your age when you began. I think he’s now 45. Are you going to be the same way?
MC: Cam Brown is kind of in a league of his own. He’s ageless. Still racking up podium finishes. Crowie as well. I enjoy the sport. That’s the main thing. I remember seeing Michellie on the start line at 40. She didn’t want to stop.
If you genuinely enjoy racing, training, that helps; it goes a long way. For me, it’ll be twenty years in a couple years. We’re careful. We take down time. We’re not full steam all year long. We take time away from the sport and that has given us the energy and motivation to continue on.
I don’t know about the next 5 years. After 2 to 3 years, have a second child? Whether I then race a few years, or have back-to-back babies, we’ll make that decision then.
ST: I’d like a prediction. How old will Izzy be when she’s able to beat you in a sprint triathlon, and are you hoping that comes sooner? Or that you can hold her off?
MC: Who knows if izzy will want to do triathlons! But I bet I can hold her off 'til I’m about 50! [Which would make Izzy 14.] But obviously you want your childeren to be better than you ever were, whether that’s in tri or something else.
ST: Previously you must have driven your sponsors crazy, because you were a Felt athlete, riding Profile Design bars – rather than Felt – with Zipp wheels, rather than Zipp’s aerobars. I’m sure you had to politely say “no” a lot. What is your bike equipment situation now that you’re returning?
MC: Profile, that’s always a longstanding partner of ours. I kept racing for as long as they supported the sport, and me. I’ve been riding Zipp wheels and bars now, since coming back from having Izzy.
ST: You're SRAM, Quarq, Zipp throughout.
ST: Can we talk about HOKA One One for a minute? How long have you been in HOKA, what are you running in, what models?
MC: I only started running in HOKA beginning of this year. "Send out some shoes,” I said, "I’ll try them.” I was very skeptical. Looked like a heavy, a slow shoe. Actually it was a very light shoe, just beefy. I’ve started running in the Tracer. [HOKA’s full-gas racing flat.] I’m running in that mostly, not running in the Clifton, nothing with the trademark HOKA look.
ST: You were K-Swiss in 2010 thru 2013. You ran 2:50. You more recently ran in New Balance and you ran also ran 2:50. Both shoe brands worked for you.
MC: Yeah. We could go back further, I was in Zoot; they were just learning to make shoes. That year I ran a 2:56. I definitely like to feel the road. That’s why I was skeptical with HOKA. But they have a vast range.
ST: You’ve been mostly on, occasionally off, with Siri Lindley as your coach. What’s your status? Who’s coaching you?
MC: Siri is still coaching me. We had a meeting end of last year. She’s got a lot going on. I wasn’t sure she was 100 percent committed, and that’s what I need to get me back to get me in shape for the title.
ST: Can you tell us what you intend to do racewise? You’ll focus on Kona I presume, but where else will we see you?
I’m about to announce my race schedule on our Youtube channel [that announcement came via the video above, from Mirinda's new channel]. But it’ll be Ironman Cairns. I don’t need points, I picked Cairns because I can race properly here at home.
ST: Your style of racing has always been to hold your own on the bike and then blister the run. Daniela is kind of the opposite. Do you have a sense that your training mirrors your strength? That you spend more training bullets on the run? Or do you think you spend about as much time in the swim, bike and run as the average triathlete, and you just happen to be a speedburner on the run?
MC: I think the latter. I spend as much time in all 3. In fact, the more recent years more time on the bike. You never want to give up your weapon. So, I don’t go all in on the bike. If I can continue to run those speeds I want to be in striking distance. But Daniela’s strengths, front pack swimmer, 3 hour marathoner, we have a lot of work to do.
ST: About your Youtube channel. Can you tell us what it is you think we’ll be seeing on that?
MC: We get people contacting us, who want to learn more about us, asking questions, a Youtube channel would be best at showing how we’re being parents now, two professinal athletes, juggling training, parenting, we just want people to have a sense of our lives. Mabye it can help others who have questions about how to juggle. So, those who have nutrition questions; those who have just an hour to train; we want it to be interactive, so we can see what people want to see more or less of.
ST: Finally, I think I remember you doing something for World Bicycle Relief on Zwift, and I bring this up because we’ve got a couple of weekly Zwift rides on Slowtwitch, and we’ll be adding to those eventually. They’re quite well attended, I think tomorrow we’ll have 80 or 90 riders. Are you on Zwift regularly, and would you join us for a ride?
MC: I am not on Zwift that regularly, but once I get back settled in Colorado, into a routine, I’d love to join in one of the rides!