BERLIN – On a Monday after teaching sixth grade math at McGee Middle School, Cindy Botticello rode her bike around Cromwell followed by a run. The day before, she completed a five-hour bike workout.
“It’s a huge commitment, I’m giving up my free time,” Botticello said.
Though triathlons and marathons are nothing new for the Cromwell resident, the Ironman is a whole different beast. Last summer Botticello finished her first half-Ironman and by January decided to give the whole challenge a try. She’s been training ever since, seven days a week for hours on end. The swimming, running, and biking training will become even more intense as the event day draws closer.
“I’m feeling ready for it to be here,” Botticello said.
She isn’t alone though, her triathlon coach Kelli Montgomery is making sure the training is rigorous enough to cross the finish line come July. The Wallingford resident has been coaching for 20 years and has trained many Ironman athletes but she says Botticello is unique.
“She’s not easily discouraged and she doesn’t give up,” Montgomery said, “Not every athlete is like that.”
Montgomery has seen Botticello struggle to take a break, a challenge that could push her too far. In fact the endless training has a mental component to it as well.
“Not overthinking it is a big challenge,” she said, “It’s a big challenge but I tell people to just think of it as a long training day.”
Unlike other races, Botticello says the Ironman is especially difficult because there is no way to recreate the race in order to be prepared. The entire event consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run.
Montgomery says a good support system is vital to endure the Ironman race. The support of her family, students, and McGee staff are what Botticello says have been keeping her determination intact. She hopes to instill in her kids and her students that they can achieve what they believe to be impossible.
“It’s an awful lot to achieve but it’s really important for them to witness what I’m doing,” Botticello said.
As part of the Ironman program, Botticello is also participating for a cause. Currently a fundraising page is set up for Botticello’s race with the donations going toward the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). She decided to join the (MMRF) Team For Cures after hearing about the foundation’s efforts to fund research for the second most common form of blood cancer.
“I’m a firm believer in giving back,” Botticello said.
So far she has raised a little less than $4000, her goal is $5000 by the beginning of July. The Ironman will be held July 24.
“I’m in it to finish,” she said, “and to feel like I accomplished something.”