August 19, 2014

Run a Mile in This Guy’s Shoes. If You Dare.

The cool thing about the people that work at Zipcar is that they are great at all kinds of things besides making cities better places to live. They settle at a desk from 9 to 5 and then take to the stage at night. They cruise by bike to take care of your wheels and then hop in a dragon boat for practice. We’re constantly inspired by the people around us, and there's no better example than Chris Moulding, our Zipcar Providence Market Manager that just competed in his first IRONMAN triathlon.

Providence Market Manager Chris Moulding is a bona fide Ironman (and has the triumphant finish-line photos to prove it). Courtesty of Chris Moulding. Providence Market Manager Chris Moulding is a bona fide Ironman (and has the triumphant finish-line photos to prove it). Courtesty of Chris Moulding.

If you don’t know what IRONMAN is, here goes: It’s a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and then you run a full-length marathon (26.2 miles). Yep. In that order. Without a break. And yes, there’s an Iron Woman competition as well, also curiously called IRONMAN. (Clearly, it should be called the Iron Maiden, but whatever.)

While only a small portion of the population is physically capable of completing an IRONMAN triathlon, Chris fits into an even smaller demographic: IRONMAN athletes who are cancer survivors. As you can probably guess, we were pretty inspired from the minute he started talking. Here’s what he had to say.

Zipcar: Can you describe the IRONMAN competition?

Chris: First of all, this is my first IRONMAN. (I’ve done a few half-IRONMANs). The races usually get underway at like 7 a.m. The pros will finish in 9 or 10 hours. The rest of us normal people finish way later. But you have to finish within 17 hours or the race doesn’t count. And there are cut-offs. You have to finish the swim by a certain time. You have to get to the bikes in a certain time period or they’ll stop you and not let you go any further.

It can be demoralizing for anyone who has been training for months — or thinking about it for years, like I have. It’s a bucket list race for a lot of people. It is for me, and to put that much work in to be told you couldn’t go on, I think would kill me.

Chris gets road-ready.Chris gets road-ready.

And you’re using vacation time to do this? This is your vacation?!

Yeah. Kinda weird, I know. This isn’t untypical for us [me and my family]. I’ve done 11-12 marathons. We’ve kind of put the marathon trip together. We’ve gone to D.C., Chicago, actually booked a Disney trip that just happened to be around the Disney World marathon. This is definitely a family vacation. Everybody comes, and we try to pick events that are family-friendly. And Lake Placid [location of the IRONMAN] seemed to be that kind of place with the Olympic training center at the lake. Thought it’d be a great place to get out and do some hiking (after the race, of course!).

What made you decide to do an IRONMAN? What motivated you?

One of the reasons (among a million others) why I’m doing it is to show my kids, hey, you can have a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to do an IRONMAN, but stay fit. Be active. My wife runs races, from 5Ks to 10 milers. My wife and I will both be doing Spartan, an obstacle course. This is our third year in a row doing it together. Our kids all run, even the 8-year-old. My son, who’s 14, has been running on the high school track team this past year while he was an 8th grader.

So what’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me starts somewhere between 4:30 and 5 a.m. I get up and usually get some training in before everybody else wakes up. I’ll get a run in or I’ll get a long bike ride in… That might be an hour and a half bike ride in the morning. Then I come home, get ready for work, and head out about 7:15 a.m. Work all day and at the end of the day, I might take one of my kids to practice. Get home somewhere around 6:30/7ish, then I squeeze in another workout. I’m usually pretty tired at this point, so I get to bed by like 9.

For when a trek doesn't quite call for a triathlon, Chris recommends Zipcar. (We can relate.)For when a trek doesn't quite call for a triathlon, Chris recommends Zipcar. (We can relate.)

You’re a cancer survivor, is that part of what motivates you?

Yes. It’s a big reason why I’m doing IRONMAN. Cancer puts life in a different perspective for you. And you ask yourself lots of questions like: Will I be around to do this? Will I have all these experiences in my life? Because you don’t know at that moment in time. And while doing a chemo treatment, IRONMAN was on TV and I said, “I’m gonna do one of those. That’s now on my list of things to do.” So when I finished treatment, I started training.

Chris stays street-savvy on his city commutes.Chris stays street-savvy on his city commutes.

I didn’t have a bike. I had to go buy a bike. I got the thumbs up from my wife and she was like, “Go ahead. Do it!” So I bought the bike. And that was 3 ½ years ago. It’s taken me 3 years to learn the sport of triathlon, learn how to train, how to do small races, how to transition from getting out of the water to getting on my bike to then running. And just the endurance to do a race this long. It’s been a long journey to say to myself, to show people that cancer isn’t a death sentence for people, especially for younger people. You can do all kinds of things. Look. You could do an IRONMAN. Doing it proves to myself more than anyone else — what’s the next big thing I can do?