The distances are insane. The undertaking is daunting. You must be prepared for anything. And that's just the training. Never mind the race.
Once again, I, like many other age groupers around the world, sat at my computer with my finger perched above the submit button contemplating my registration for the Ironman and what that means. For the uninitiated, the unknowns are many. For those, repeat offenders such as myself, we know (to a degree) what registering for an Ironman race entails. Hours of swimming, biking, and running. Tinkering with equipment and nutrition. Trying to find what works in the hope that we can put it all together on race day and have the time of our lives.
The race this year is Ironman Coeur D'Alene in Northern Idaho. It is a beautiful venue with wonderful volunteers. We'll have an opportunity to see alot of scenery along the way as we cover 140.6 miles (2.4 mile swim, 112 miles of biking and a full 26.2 mile marathon). A full day indeed.
I did my first Ironman there in 2003. Fourteen and a half hours of "self-exploration." Almost all people (almost all normal people) at some point in the race wonder what the hell they have gotten themselves into. I know I felt this way after the first loop on the bike. At the time I did the race, the bike course ventured into the State of Washington making Couer D'Alene the only Ironman course that was in two States. Since that time, the course has changed. It's all in Idaho and....it's harder!!!! If that's possible.
In 2003, I trained exclusively with three triathletes, Rafael, Carlos, and David who basically made me their training donkey for the better part of 6 months. "Training with" is a bit inaccurate. What's more accurate is that we started each activity together and I would see them at the end. In between, especially on the bike, I was by myself. Lonely, but good training for some of the isolation you feel in an Ironman.
I now train with T3, an Austin based training group that I've been part of for the past four years. I'm somewhat of an antique as longevity with the team goes. Our coaches are great. They are always positive and motivating. If you can't find a workout that suits your schedule, you're doing something wrong. Probably working too much.
This year 71 of us are trekking to Idaho for the race. Amazing. Over 70 people of the 102 people from Austin and Central Texas registered for the race are with T3. This doubles the largest group T3 has ever taken to a race. Our training has just started. This week called for 9 total hours of training. I'm already behind. I can't and won't beat myself up about it....at least not much. We are all still trying to find that balance between work, family and our hobby. It takes planning and a willingness to be flexible. And a willingness to train in the dark.
In the months ahead, I'll track my training here and hopefully have a story or two to share from the trail, road or pool. We have a diverse group of people of all ages and from all walks of life. This is going to be fun.
Once more unto the breach...dear friends