If you have the drive and passion to do an Ironman race, I suggest you get to it! It was one of my most amazing memories and the best thing is the feeling of completion keeps building 2 months post race.
I’ve taken way too long to put my experience down in print so thanks for being patient as I try share my experience.
I’ll begin by saying it took me 11 years to get my first Ironman under my belt. I signed up for the original Utah Ironman in 2001 (The one and only it turns out) as I had been racing triathlons for 7 years at that point. Well, as things happen 2001, was a very tough year and between work and family events, I never got to the start line and the years that followed were also quite challenging.
Fast forward 11 years as I was back to racing for a few years and the IM fire still burned when I heard rumors of a possible Lake Tahoe race. I followed all the chatter and it kept getting louder with the possible race! My thinking at the time was I wanted to do and Ironman but I didn’t want to do an easy one like Arizona. I needed to challenge myself and Tahoe seemed like the right place if it was going to happen. And sure enough it did and I signed up in the first hour in September 2012. Oh yeah, let’s get ready to rock!
Of course, like a lot of things, signing up is the easiest part. After all it was the end of the racing season and my commitment was 12 months away. I hit the pool religiously in November with 2 swim partners to improve my technique as it was evident from my race times that I needed some serious help if I was going to feel strong after 2.4 miles of Tahoe altitude swimming. Having reliable workout buddies really is a huge benefit and I highly recommend finding people who can co-support each other’s goals by getting to the pool at 5am.
The winter months went by slowly and even though I had planned on doing specific bike training, it never really developed for some reason. My running was coming along well and I have a few early season races to test myself (see earlier blog posts).
The training really hit the fan in early July when my coach started dropping some really demanding workouts on me. I remember saying “Really?!” The full impact of my decision was starting to come to fruition. The rides were getting longer and more uncomfortable. By August I was yearning to just ride my road bike for the 5 hour training session on Sunday morning. My tri bike was like a faithful steed that never complained but I certainly did. It was too late; all my whining fell on deaf ears. I was in it now and there was no escaping other than my own doing and that wasn’t going to happen!
Labor Day weekend was probably my last hard/long workout and I was glad. Everything felt good, I had done a ton of “pre-hab” (conditioning, FSM, muscle work, adjustments, etc) and my body felt great and strong. I had some concerns about the race venue in that the area was very smoky from a significant fire in Southern California.
(Part 2 will be posted next week J)