Q So…why Ironmans?
A I grew up in it – it was right in my front yard. My father ran the Ironman water patrol, and my uncle competed in three of them. So I just thought everybody did it.

Q How tough was your first one?
A The first one, I think I held back because I didn't know what I was capable of. The next day, I wasn't even sore. I was walking in high heels; I was fine.

Q What's something most people don't realize about the Ironman?
A No matter how fast you are, it's gonna take at least eight hours. That's a long time moving. But you get really nice bodies – a swim body, a bike body, a run body. It's great base training for other sports.

Q How often do you weight train?
A I do a full-body session two or three times a week. I used to do three sets of 15 reps of each exercise, but now I listen to my iPod, get into the zone and just go. I'll do biceps curls for a song, then triceps on the next song. I try to have fun and get into a rhythm. I also do squats, lunges, overhead presses, bench presses, leg lifts, everything.

Q High reps with light weight?
A Yeah. I'm not really trying to get big. I'm just strengthening all the small muscle groups that I don't always hit when I'm running, swimming or biking. Being strong and flexible is key. I also do yoga. My house is clean, it's pretty feng shui, so I can drop onto anyplace on the floor and start stretching.

Q What's your diet like?
A I eat a lot of cereal. I make a lot of protein shakes – they're the best because they cool you off. I eat to maintain energy. I don't count calories.

Q Why didn't you race in last year's Ironman?
The red savina habanero may be the Guinness Book of World Records’ spiciest pepper, but it still ain’t the hottest thing in there. At 18, Loke McMichael made the pages of that tome as the youngest woman to finish Hawaii’s grueling Ironman World Championship (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run). Eight Ironmans later, this talented athlete remains a kick-ass combo of beauty and brawn.

A I did it seven years in a row, and then took a break, then two years in a row, and then another break. I gotta spread it out a bit if I'm gonna last till I'm 80. M&F