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McEnaney competes in, completes first Ironman

Woodbury resident Bob McEnaney, who trains endurance athletes for a living, competed in his first-ever Ironman Triathlon competition in Madison, Wis. last month. The 52-year-old placed 577th out of 2,550 finishers. Submitted Photo.

In 1981, fresh out of college and three years before moving to Woodbury, Bob McEnaney ran his first triathlon.

Twenty-nine years later, the now-longtime city resident, business-owner and father completed his first Ironman Triathlon, placing 577th out of 2,550 finishers in the Ironman Wisconsin, held in Madison, Wis. in September -- all at the age of 52.

"It had been about 25 years since I competed in a triathlon," said McEnaney, who figured that he had competed in approximately 50 triathlons in his life. "Plus, I had always wanted to compete in an Ironman, so I thought it was time to do one." "I thought it was time. Most, if not all, triathletes aspire to compete in an Ironman at some point."

Even though he had gotten away from competing in triathlons, McEnaney remained active in runs -- he has six Twin Cities Marathons to his credit -- as well as through his career as a trainer of performance athletes through his business, Total Cycling Performance.

"I had competed in a lot of triathlons in the past, but then I had kids and work got in the way," he said. "But being in a triathlon it was always on my 'bucket list,' even before there was such a thing as a 'bucket list.'"

The itch was there to at last take on the challenge of competing in an Ironman, so last September, directly after the 2009 Ironman Wisconsin competition, McEnaney signed up for the 2010 version...

...But didn't tell anyone.

"I kept it under my hat," he said. "I didn't want people to know in case something happened during training and I wouldn't be able to do it."

The fear was nearly realized in April, when McEnaney suffered a knee injury during a training run. The damage suffered kept him from running through the summer months and nearly kept him from the Ironman.

"I was confident in my biking and ability to swim the distance (Ironmans consist of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run), but was concerned about the marathon," McEnaney said. "I saw the doctor about a week before the Ironman and there was no structural damage, so with a cortisone shot, I was given the go-ahead."

Competing amongst several of the athletes that he trains, McEnaney not only finished the Ironman Wisconsin, he excelled -- finishing in a time of 11 hours, 56 minutes and 52 seconds, good for 26th out of the 157 competitors in his age group (50-54).

Then, he promptly registered for next year's Ironman Wisconsin.

"It felt great to do it and now I want to improve on what I did this year next time around," he said.

Until then, McEnaney will continue to train and help others work towards their athletic goals though Total Cycling Performance, which is currently run through his studio in his Woodbury home, but might be moving to a larger out-of-house facility soon.

"We're pretty much busting at the seams right now," he said. "Business is good."

His training methods are also taught online to clients across the nation and even in some other countries and he will be starting a new website,, very soon.

"It's part of my life," McEnaney said. "I do what I do because I love it."