Michael Corona

Michael Corona

Tell us about yourself. I have an awesome family, my wife Jennifer is also involved with the sport; we have three great kids, Ashton (13), Carson (11) and Cameron (9). They keep us extremely busy, but it is a lot of fun! When not swimming, biking and running, I am a vice president and certified financial planner at Morgan Stanley in Syracuse. In addition, I have been coaching triathletes for five years and just started a new company with longtime friend and athlete Eric Hinman called The Endurance Squad.

How long have you been involved in triathlon and what made you take it up? I got involved in 2009, so seven years. I got involved to find fitness and lose weight. I came into the game at 260 pounds and raced IMLP in 2010 at 175.

Who is your hero? I would have to say my wife Jen. She supports me 100% and is there for me through it all. What makes her so great is her instinctive ability to be such an excellent mother. It just clicked for her and our kids are in such good care as a result of her ability as a parent. It was as if she got a Ph.D. in motherhood overnight after our first son was born.

What is your athletic background? Not much from the endurance side of things. I played football in high school on the offensive and defensive line: center and nose guard. Once done with football after my senior year in 1994, I was not active at all through 2008, when I took up running. Like a lot of others, I got involved to lose weight and did my first marathon in New York City in September that year. I was hooked with the idea of competing again and got involved in triathlon the next year.

What are your triathlon strengths and weaknesses? I am fairly well-rounded, likely because I started with no background and always took a balanced approach. If I had to pick, the bike is the strongest as it is quickly trained, and the run is my weakness, as it takes the longest to train. Oddly, I find people who are great runners have simply been doing it for a long time. The bike is often many athlete’s strongest leg as you can progress the quickest in the saddle.

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? The Keuka Lake Sprint! I remember winning my age group and being shocked and excited. My wife, however, was excited but not surprised….she said I worked my butt off and she knew I was going to do well.

What is your favorite race and why? The American Triple T in Ohio because it defines what is so great about the sport. For me, the sport is about the people and stories accumulated over the years. At Triple T, you do four races over three days, so you get to know all the people and build lasting relationships. Also, the same people come back year after year. It is like overnight camping when you were a kid.

What was your worst race and why? Ironman Louisville 2012. I always use this race as an example with my athletes–never look at last year’s results to benchmark yourself!! I came in thinking I had to run a certain pace to meet my goal. Well, I was way off. I came off the bike in sixth place and had I just run on feel I would have been fine. Instead I completely blew up at mile 8 and by mile 12 was walking it in. It was a great lesson and one I continue to share. Always race your own race and let the results just happen. Never race the ghosts of past results, even your own.

What races are on your race calendar for 2017? So far The American Triple T and IMLP. This will be my first Ironman since Louisville 2012.

What are your goals for the next year? Just find my fitness again; I haven’t been the same athlete since 2012, so I just want to be fit as defined within the general population, not the field within an Ironman. I think a lot of times we get wrapped up in finishing within the top X% of the race, and need to realize just finishing an Ironman will put us in the top 5% of the world. That is pretty good!

In five years you hope to … : Be able to ride my bike 50 miles and feel fresh the next day. Pick up heavy things and not feel a strain in my back. Do household chores without being sore, play a game of one-on-one basketball with my kids and put up a good fight. Be fit!
Something most people don’t know about you. Many in the tri world think I am some fast guy, which is far from the truth. If I am not consistently training for 2-3 years, I am basically middle of the pack. It took me 4 years of consistent training to accomplish the things I did, and I still wasn’t close to Kona, which was my goal. In that time, I put myself next to some of the best coaches out there to learn as much as I could, read as much as I could get my hands on to give myself an edge. Now, I love sharing with others what I learned over that period of time. I think that is what makes a good coach: not someone who was always fast….I had to work for every single inch and dive into the knowledge side of it in order to succeed, then one has to have a desire to pass that knowledge on.
What triathlon has taught you. NEVER take for granted your fitness and where you are at. Some race will be your last race and we will never know when or where that will be. My fitness was flying high and I was likely 1-2 years away from that golden Kona ticket, and BOOM, life hit me and I had to step away. Stay in the game for the love of it and, if you do not love it, find a new passion that keeps you waking up and going through the process.  When you find yourself grinding out the day to day so you can race, it’s time to find something else. Anything else! Triathlon is not going anywhere.

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