Good Morning
Good Morning
Long Island

A Long Island athlete's iron will to excel

Constance Korol, 45, of Syosset, will compete in

Constance Korol, 45, of Syosset, will compete in her second Ironman on Sept. 27, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tenn. She finished the Ironman in Lake Placid last year. Credit: Instagram user constancekorol

Newsday asked readers to post Instagram photos recently that illustrate the best Long Island life has to offer. This week, we're telling their stories.

Constance Korol filled her mind with thoughts of the day when she would redeem herself as a triathlete and pushed the pedals of her Cervélo bicycle with all her might in the loneliness of an afternoon training ride in Seaford's Cedar Creek Park.

Her second Ironman is in three weeks, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Last year in Lake Placid, her first try in the running, swimming and bicycling endurance competition left her weak and dehydrated.

Korol, 45, a Syosset native, was never a star athlete, but she took up running marathons 14 years ago, usually finishing in the middle of the pack. She learned to swim only in 2011, and started more recently competing in the Ironman.

Training for the grueling 140.6-mile races has taught her to believe in herself and not be afraid to fail.

"When you commit to doing an Ironman, it can be incredibly overwhelming, but if you just trust the process, trust the schedule, trust your coach, the dream can come through," she said.

In Chattanooga, she will run to support the Ironman Foundation charity, which funds various athletic, community and education groups worldwide.

She is disciplined and focused in her workouts, said her coach Richie Caiazza, a partner in the Long Island-based Team Tri Global Coaching.

"Ironman is not just something you can do as a weekend warrior," said Caiazza, 35, of Port Jefferson Station. "Everything ends up revolving around Ironman."

Korol snapped a selfie during her roughly 30-mile bike ride Friday in Cedar Creek Park and posted it on Instagram. On Saturday, she rode 120 miles on County Road 51 in Riverhead. She ran 20 miles Sunday.

"I'm out there 14 to 15 hours. This is not entertainment. This is not fun . . . this is work," said Korol, a freelance marketer and yoga instructor.

In Lake Placid, she reached deep inside to finish the race. She started to hyperventilate a few strokes into her 2.4-mile swim in Mirror Lake. She recalled "swimming on top of people, swimming underneath people," jostling for position.

"It was one big washing machine with it being dark, and rain and hail hitting your back," she said.

She regained her composure.

Race organizers cut the swimming short because of lightning as she was nearing the end of her second and final loop of the lake. The first 7 miles of the bike ride in the Adirondacks was downhill and treacherous.

The marathon was a struggle. She vomited and struggled to hold down fluids. She staggered across the finish line.

She is determined Chattanooga will be a better day.

"I never at any point said maybe I should quit," she said.

Latest Long Island News