by Jo Baxas

Last week our own Iron Couple, Curtis Kloc and Lisa McCartney, raced IM Chattanooga.  Find out how this all started and how Lisa came back after a serious car accident.

Jo Baxas – Were either of you into triathlon before you met or was it something you started together?Take me back to the beginning.
Lisa – I was REALLY into triathlon before I met Curt. While we met on line, it was because of triathlon. Basically we were both on and I hated it. I hadn’t gone on any dates after talking to a couple of creepers. So although I had prepaid for three months, I went off-line after almost two. Despite that, Match kept sending me my “daily matches” via email. Most days I just deleted it without looking at it. One night I was bored at home and when I saw the email, my number one match was Curt.

Lisa and CurtisI read his profile, which was dry and sarcastic and so funny. In one of his pictures he was right at the start of a triathlon where he captioned it “Siesta Key triathlon”. A good looking, funny guy who also did triathlon? He sounded too good to be true. Well I knew that I didn’t want to reactivate my account. I happened to notice that Curt’s race number was on his arm in the picture. So I did a little stalking of my own. I looked up the race results, found his name, searched for him on Facebook. We met a about a month later and have been inseparable ever since.
When we first got together it had been less than a year since my 13th place finish at IM Florida. Curt bikes a lot and had done the short distance stuff and one 70.3, but he was convinced that his body frame was too large for the Ironman distance.

JB – What was the first triathlon you did together?
Curtis -Siesta key, Sarasota, Olympic, which I believe was our first photo together too..
LM – Then we did the Ironman Augusta 70.3 together just 3 months later. We signed up for Ironman Louisville together less than 2 months after that.

JB – When did you decide that going long was what you wanted to do?
LM – For me it was at the beginning of my 2nd season in the sport, in 2008. I fell in love with chasing something bigger in the sport. I did my first 70.3 in Florida in 2008 and then did two more that year, Ironman Cancun 70.3 and Ironman World Championships 70.3 in Clearwater. The following year I did my first full Ironman.
CK – I always had the idea in the back of my mind to do a full ironman, and the fact that Lisa had done several was very attractive

JB – Tell us about your accident, your rehab and your journey back to fitness.
LM – In Feb, 2014, I was on my was to work and had a green light going into an intersection. As I was traveling into the intersection, a car came from my left after running a red light. He hit me at about 40 mph right in my drivers side door. My car spun around and hit the cars on the other side that were stopped at the red light. I couldn’t move. The fire department had to cut me out of the car and took me to the hospital in an ambulance.
The result was a concussion and four herniated disks – 3 in my neck and 1 in my back. I went to 5 months, 2x per week treatments for my neck and back which included spinal decompression, electromagnetic stimulation, and trigger point therapy. I also had neurologist appointments, steroid treatments, and brain work to do to get my memory back and brain functioning normally again. Even now I am looking into more physical therapy and steroid injections as a means to avoid surgery if possible.

JB – Curt, tell us about your reaction to the accident.
CK – I was scared. She was on her way to work and I went off to a group ride, when the phone rang it was her best friend. Why was she calling me? I freaked out, doing about 30 mph back to my car to rush to the house, grab her clothes, her stuffed bear and rush to the ER.

.JB – Had either of you done a full before Chattanooga?
CK -I dnf’d Louisville the year before. I was the guy in the tv commercial, falling down at mile 7 twice because I was having full body cramps and my legs seized up from top to bottom.
LM – Chattanooga was my 5th. I’ve done Florida twice and Louisville twice.

JB – Let’s talk about the race.  What was the hardest part?Lisa M
LM – The hardest part was the run! We try and get hill training in here in Florida, but it’s nothing like what they have in Tennessee. If I would have known what the course really entailed I would have practiced more on the hills that we ride on!
CK -Training. The race is always the fun part.

JB – What surprised you most about the race?
CK –The weather was better than I could have wished for. Overcast and almost cool.
LM – It wasn’t a surprise the day of the race, but it really surprised me that only 30 days before the race the course was changed to include an additional 4 miles on the bike. Anyone who has ever done the distance knows that you can’t wait to get off of the bike after 112 miles. To add another 4 at the last minute making it the only IM distance of 144.6 was not cool.

JB – And your favourite part?
LM -Anyone who knows me knows that the swim is my least favorite part of a triathlon. And we definitely have a love/hate relationship. I LOVED that swim. I loved every minute of it. With the time-trial start and the wide-open space, it was never crowded, the water was the perfect temperature, and it was down river…so it was fast!Curtis
CK -The volunteer support, along with my brother and his wife.

JB – What was your longest training week?
CK – Prob 20 hours.
LM -I have a coach and she believes a lot in “less is sometimes more”. She gave me 3-4 16-18 hr training weeks. Our longest weekend was a 2 mile run, followed by a 112 mile bike, followed by a 3 mile run on Saturday and a 2 hour run followed by a 45 minute easy spin on the bike on Sunday.

JB – Can you share your favourite workout?
LM -I love brick work. So when we got into a lot of 3-4 hour rides followed by 20-30 minute runs off the bike…those were my favorite.
CK – Macca’s “the wolf” with a little run after

JB – What made you join MaccaX?
CK – His (Chris McCormack’s) camp in Miami. But, I’ve met so many like-minded people who started out as tri friends and are now “real” friends!
LM -We were signing up for Miami Man 70.3 and saw an advertisement for the Miami camp. We thought that sounded like an amazing deal. Our plan was to go to the camp, race with the group, and cancel our membership. We loved the friendships that we formed, the resources it provided, and ability to draw inspiration from like-minded individuals.

JB – What would you say to anyone thinking about joining an online tri training group – why should they choose maccax?
CK – It’s a no brainer…
LM -The ability to talk to and train with Chris McCormack at a camp for the low cost is unbelievable. What we learned at that camp, even after being in the sport for 7 seasons has been so valuable. But what is also great is the camaraderie between the team all over the world. We meet up to train together. We meet for the first time at races and talk like we’ve known each other for years. We support and encourage each other. It’s awesome how so many people of all levels come together for the love of this sport.

JB – What’s next for our Iron Couple?
LM -We are doing Ironman Florida in one month! After that we are very excited to race a sprint/Olympic distance in December in Key West with 6-7 other MaccaX members. That should be a blast!