Why? 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2 mile run (marathon)… Sounds like a good idea right?
They show multiple clips of world class athletes bonking and passing out yards from the finish line – really motivating stuff.
After a couple of friends and cousins had talked about their experiences training for and completing an Ironman, Anne started to try and convince me it was a good idea and “something that would keep us active.” Anne was reading Chrissie Wellington’s book “A Life Without Limits” and finally got me to sit down and watch the NBC coverage of the 2013 World Ironman Championship on Youtube… It was one of those shows that pulls you in and gets your blood pumping. They show multiple clips of world class athletes bonking and passing out yards from the finish line – really motivating stuff. We proceeded to watch 2014 coverage as well and I started thinking about it more seriously.
Six months later, Anne and I were just finishing up at BYU and about to head out to Ohio where I would be an intern again for at least 3 months over the summer. As we looked ahead, we decided if there was going to be a time where I could train and do an Ironman this summer was it. We already knew we would have great road bike trails in the area due to our previous 7 months in Cincinnati. We also knew if we found housing in a certain city we’d have access to a great rec center pool. So we decided to go for it and bought a couple used road bikes (Utah has a killer used bike market).
“Fine, I’ll do a Half Ironman on Saturday.”
Fast forward a month. After getting settled into Cincinnati, Anne and I formally began training. I went for a few longer runs, started swimming regularly, and began cycling an hour here and there. I ran into one of our friends who had completed an Ironman before and mentioned I was looking at signing up for Ironman Florida 2015. He was shocked there were any slots left 5 months out from the race and recommended I jump on it. After relating this to Anne, she said I should at least do a half Ironman before I signed up just to make sure it wasn’t unreasonable to think I could finish the full event. I said “Fine, I’ll do one on Saturday.” Bare in mind this was on Thursday evening and I had only been swimming, running, and biking for about 3 weeks.
Luckily the run course I had mapped out was through some steep Ohio hills.
Saturday morning we got out and had an early start at the pool. I chugged through the 1.2 miles and changed before taking off on the bike. After having some technical problems early on the bike, Anne brought me a tool and I was off again. That was one of the harder 56 mile bike rides I can remember. As I returned I was running out of steam… luckily the run course I had mapped out was through some steep Ohio hills. I slogged through the half marathon with Anne giving me support, gatorade, and food throughout the event and finished in a grueling 8 hours and 15 minutes. I had made it with time to spare and Anne gave me the green light to sign up for the Ironman.
For me the Ironman was an opportunity to set a goal that seemed preposterous and break it down into manageable chunks and checkpoints. It allowed me to redefine for myself what is possible and work on motivating myself even at times when progress seemed slow. It was a means of being active (really active) and learning new skills. Mom and Dad told me they thought it was crazy… it was.
This is post 1 of 7 about my Ironman journey and pointers. You can find Anne’s perspective for these events here.