EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 26, 2013

Path to Ironman

Methuen's Meuse plots strategy for ultimate triathlon next month

By Dave Dyer

---- — Methuen’s Lori Meuse subscribes to an alternative saying to the one made famous by former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

“It takes a village to raise an Ironman triathlete,” said Meuse. “I definitely couldn’t do it on my own.”

Meuse is finding that out first hand as she prepares for her first ironman triathlon, next month in Lake Placid. Training for the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon run is no easy task, particularly when you have a full time job and children ages 11 (Logan) and 9 (Kyra).

In Meuse’s case, and many like her, it’s not just the number of hours needed to train for an ironman that is so challenging, it’s fitting those hours in with family responsibilities.

“Most of my workouts are after work,” said the 36-year-old Meuse, an avid member of the TriFury triathlon club. “My husband, Mike, has been great. He’ll come home and let me go, no problems, my parents help out and we have friends help out.

“You’ve got to have help. My son is in boy scouts, my daughter plays softball ... there’s always something.”

Eventually, of course, Meuse must do the heavy lifting, which is the training itself. She trains twice a day six days a week and about 20 hours overall in the three events. That includes one long bike ride of four to six hours and a long run of two or more hours.

To squeeze it all in, Meuse often uses her hour lunch break at work for a session swimming at a YMCA pool or going for a short run.

It’s not easy making it all work, but it adds to the satisfaction.

“Some days it’s a challenge — it’s definitely a lot of planning,” said Meuse. “I always need a backup plan in case of rain or if the kids need something, but I’ve been able to get in 95 percent of what I’ve wanted to do.

“So far, it’s been great overall. I’m surprised I’m not more worn out, but I like getting the workouts done. I’m just so happy I’ve done it.”

Meuse has always been competitive. She played field hockey, basketball and softball growing up at Tyngsboro High School and she played field hockey and softball at Salem State. Following marriage and childbirth, she eventually started getting back into fitness with some 5K road races.

“I was interested in triathlons and in 2009 I joined TriFury and started doing the shorter (sprint) ones,” said Meuse. “My first one was in Salem, the Witch City Triathlon. I think I came in about third to last.”

Still, Meuse was hooked. She has competed in a number of sprint triathlons over the next few years and last year she went with another triathlete, Andover’s Deb Kelly, to volunteer at the Lake Placid Ironman. Almost right after the race, the pair registered for this year’s event.

“It was inspiring to see the late finishers, to see how happy they were, to see them smiling, happy to finish something they had spent so much time preparing for.”

Meuse is hoping to have that same feeling of satisfaction next month, but that may not be the main reason she’s competing.

“My main motivation is to see what I can actually do, to see how far I can push myself and to feel like an athlete again,” said Meuse. “After I had kids, I got sedentary — you have to put yourself on the backburner for awhile.

“I like finding myself again, finding my athletic ability and taking it as far as I can.”

That feeling keeps Meuse, and others like her, going. But it’s one she knows can’t be fulfilled with help from her “village.”

Meet Lori Meuse

Age: 36

Town: Methuen

Family: Husband Mike, children Logan (11), Kyra (9)

Athletic background: Played field hockey, basketball and softball at Tyngsboro High, field hockey and softball at Salem State

Years competing in triathlons: Four

Triathlon club: TriFury

Immediate goal: Be competitive at Lake Placid Ironman (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run)