Fitness is Chuck Prosser’s bread and butter.
Prosser, who runs Multisport Physical Therapy in the village of Liverpool, spends his days helping people overcome various injuries and ailments. In his spare time, the husband and father of three boys, ages 9, 6 and 4, participates in contests of endurance that might break a lesser man.
“I’ve run six marathons and three half-Ironmans,” Prosser said, “plus many smaller distance triathlons and running events.”
Prosser, who attended Utica College of Syracuse University, started running in college in the city’s famous Boilermaker race. He continued to run races and, after suffering from knee soreness, switched to cross training.
The next step, Prosser figured, was a full Ironman — a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run that must be completed in 17 hours.
“It was the next logical step in my progression of distances,” Prosser said.
He signed up for the Lake Placid event last year after spending the last several years as a volunteer and spectator with his wife, Jennifer.
“They put on an incredible show,” Prosser said. “It’s quite an experience to watch.”
Prosser chose to partake in the event after completing four marathons last year alone.
“I was just in better shape,” Prosser said. “I felt like this was the year to do it.”
Despite being in the best shape of his life, Prosser still had to train for the event — and the training itself is enough to deter many.
“Many people think the training itself is insurmountable,” Prosser said. “But it’s not really. Typically, I would do two hours a day, four days a week of running, biking and swimming. That was during the week. So during the week, it’s not a huge time commitment.”
The weekends are a different story.
“That’s when the time really adds up,” Prosser said. “As the race approached, I’d add on time every weekend. But if you start early in the year, you can gradually build up to it so the distance increments weekend to weekend aren’t really that huge.”
Prosser also had the aid of the Central New York Triathlon Club, a local organization that provides resources for racers. Many club members joined Prosser in Lake Placid for the Ironman, and the group trained together weekly.
“In the winter, every weekend we’d do an indoor biking session here [at Multisport],” Prosser said. “Each person would bring in their bike and an indoor trainer to hold it in place and we’d just spend hours — up to four hours some days — just riding. We had a great camaraderie with that group.”
The training did have its costs. Time spent running or biking was time not spent with his wife and kids.
“It is a whole family commitment,” Prosser said. “There’s a lot of early morning training, a lot of weekends. One of the hardest things was balancing work, 15 hours of training a week and spending time with my family.”
All of that hard training paid off; on race day July 22, Prosser met his goal of completing the whole race in less than 14 hours. He crossed the finish line with a time of 13:29.
“And during each of the segments, I met or exceeded what I wanted to do,” Prosser said. “I felt good all day. I was able to run the whole marathon. Most people can do well on the swim and the bike, but by the time they get to the run they’re out of steam.”
Prosser said the race was just an extension of his training.
“When you go into one of these things, race day should be no different from your training sessions,” he said. “It’s a lot of trial and error to figure out what you need. It basically came down to knowing how much water, salt and sugar my body needed to keep going, and I learned it during training.”
A worthwhile experience
Prosser said he plans to use what he learned in training this year and keep it up — he’s running next year’s Lake Placid Ironman, too.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “I’ve already got my confirmation number for next year.”
The race has even helped his business. Prosser said he’s met a number people through racing, many of whom develop some sort of injury that requires therapy.
“If they get hurt and don’t know where to go, I can help them fine-tune their rehab,” Prosser said.
Prosser said he hopes to host a winter training program this year for those hoping to compete in next year’s race.
“We’ll take baseline measurements, set up training programs for them,” he said. “We can really optimize the winter months.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.