Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And You May Ask Yourself: My God! What Have I Done?

How does one get to the point of signing up for a full Ironman triathlon? Its a slippery slope.

A couple of years ago my wife, Salome, decided she wanted to try to do a Sprint Triathlon. We were regular runners having done many running events from 5Ks to the marathons. A running buddy, John, also talked of giving triathlons a go. Last February, sitting at a cafe after a group training run, John & I debated whether a half ironman would be easier, harder, or about equivalent to running a marathon. This led to us both signing up for the Miami Man Half Ironman to be held in early November. No need to try a sprint triathlon first, let's commit to a half ironman.

So, this last summer, Salome, John & I, along with several other friends, did several sprint triathlons. Being primarily runners, our greatest hope was to keep from drowning in the swim portion. We'd all come out in the bottom 1/3rd of our age divisions in the swim and slowly work out way up the rankings in the bike and run portions of the sprint triathlons.

After running the Berlin Marathon in late September, we ramped up our swim and bike distances to get ourselves in minimal shape for the November 9th half ironman. I've already written an extensive report on that event, so I'll keep it simple. John finished in 6:16; I finished 10 minutes back in 6:26. We were trilled to finish. Due to the heat during the run, I immediately vowed never do it again. In a few days, however, I started to think that the full Ironman allowed one to be biking during the hottest part of the day. At least then, you'ld have the wind giving you some cooling action.

Of course, John also starts pondering the possibility of the full. John starts talking to a buddy who has done several Ironman events to see which would be a good one to do for first timers. John's buddy recommended Arizona as a fairly flat course and a good one for first time IMers. Registration opened November 24th for the event which would take place a full year out.

What to do? Ironman events usually sell out in a couple of hours. If we didn't act, it would be over a year before we could even consider doing a full Ironman. So, we jumped in. We registered. Something tells me we will need all of the time over the next year to get up to pace with doing a full Ironman.

My first response to signing up for a full ironman is: "My God, what have I done?" The mind quickly moves beyond that to starting to plan out the next 12 months. I'm doing the Disney Marathon on January 11th to mark my 50th birthday. After that, I'll start to lengthen the bike rides and try to get in a couple of century rides in February and March. John & I also have our eyes on a couple International/Olympic distance triathlons for March and April. We are also looking at an early summer marathon. After that, we'll then try to decide on a late summer half Ironman to test the training level.

A good friend and fellow marathoner, Wayne from Anchorage, Alaska, suggested John & I keep a blog of our training and participation in the Arizona Ironman. So, this blog will document the adventures in training of two "wild and crazy guys" on the road to Tempe, Arizona to participate in the Arizona Ironman. Wish us luck. I think we'll need it.

1 comment:

michrnr said...

Bill, thanks for sharing your journey with us. I look forward to seeing it unfold. I think you guys have already tackled one of the hardest parts...signing up ! Keith