I never saw the 1992 Damon Wayans' comedy "Mo' Money" but I remember the commercial with Mr. Wayans repeating the tag line "Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money." That's how I'm starting to feel about this whole ironman thing. It seems that every time I turn around, I'm shelling out mo' money to feed this monster.
Let's step back to about a year ago when we signed up for this thing. Five Hundred and Fifty smackers for the privilege of getting to beat the crap out of myself in a full ironman. Wow! I remember when the New York Road Runners Club upped the registration fee to run the NYC Marathon to $135.00. I was outraged. Most marathon registration fees were in the $90 to $100 range. How dare they jack up the NYC fees to $135.00, I protested. What a naive pre-triathlete I was then. How darling, how cute, how cheap! Now, I feel like its a bargain when I'm only paying $200 to $300 for an Olympic or HIM distance event. Marathon registration fees? What a deal!
OK, enough of registration fee bashing. I'm sure there are a lot of costs associated with putting on an Ironman event. Permits, safety boats, transition area set up equipment, support tables along the course, costs of hiring off duty cops to keep the course open and safe. I can see where it gets expensive to run these events. Besides, they have to raise money for to give those cash prizes to the professionals. OK, I have to admit it. It still seems like a boatload of money. If I was an investor, I'd be looking for an audit. Where the heck is all this money going?
But I labor the point. I look at the registration fee as money spent long ago. Its the money I keep shelling out recently that bring to mind Mr. Wayans' "Mo' money" refrain. I have a perfectly good sleeveless wet suit that I intended to use for IMAZ. When buddy John got the report back for his buddy Carl Rosen about just how cold the water was in Tempe, I decided I better pony up the extra bucks for a full sleeved wet suit. While I was at the tri store, I decided to replace my old bike helmet for a new one. OK, so $300 later, I feel I'm ready to roll.
The next weekend I did roll...over the top of a 89 year old lady's Cadillac. My bike was totalled. As I'm sitting on the ground, I realize I need to buy a new bike. I must say, I love my new Cervelo P2 tri bike. With assorted water bottle holders, lights and another new helmet, I'm out around $3,700. Fortunately, I should get this back from my old lady's insurance company. (I never thought I would ever be able to use the term "My Old Lady" and not feel like it was sexist.) Again, I'm shelling out money, but its not bothering me yet. $250 round trip flight booked and paid for: check. Hotel reservations: check. Oh, the family wants to come out to Arizona too. That's 3 more flights. OK, we should be done.
Nope. After confirming that the Miami bike shop that will act as the drop off store for Tri Bike Transport is still up and running, John & I book our bike shipping fees. Cost of shipping: $275. Cost of transporting your gear bag: another $25. After insurance and processing fees, I'm into Active.com for about $320.00. Ouch! It cheaper to send me out to Arizona than to send my bike and gear bag. Well, maybe about the same after the airlines hit me up with those baggage fees; however, those charges are not on my radar yet. Baggage fees, car, hotel and meal costs are off in the future.
I decide to get some new nutrition supplies, some goos and an upgraded set of swim goggles. Mo' money. John was coaxed into signing up for a half marathon at the end of the month in Miami Beach by an woman runner friend. We have a 20 miler scheduled for that day, but John figures we can run the half and add 7 miles to our run after crossing the finish line. John signed up and kind of pushes me into signing onto his somewhat goofy "13.1 + 7 = 20" plan. I give in, sign up, and fork over another $92 bucks to Active.com. Mo' money!
Oh, I almost forgot, The Clermont HIM was done as preparation for the full IM. That was another $175. The hotel stay in Clermont: $135. The organized ride and hotel in Clermont 2 week before the HIM: $25 and $90. Mo' money, mo' money, mo money! This doesn't even get into the occasional new tri shirt or shorts, new tri bike shoes, goos and assorted nutrition purchases over the year building up to this event.
I now know why people try to get better and turn professional at this sport. Its not for the glory of winning or placing in these events. Its not to show who is the most fit, can log the most training, or can endure the most pain. Its to get a sponsor who will pay your entry fees, hotels, and various equipment and transportation costs. Its either go pro or go broke.
For me, I don't want to add up these costs for a total. It would scare me. What I do know is that if I had any inkling of what this whole venture would end up costing me, I don't think I would have signed up for it in the first place. I also know there are no money back guarantees on an ironman event. I'm all in. I vow to keep diligently working on the training. Its the only way I've got a chance to finish and get a return on my investment.
In training news, I did a 25 mile/5K bike/run brick this morning. I needed it to re-establish my self respect after Tuesday's anemic 30 minute open water semi-synchronized bobbing routine. I need calmer seas for a proper long swim. Choppy open water does not allow me to focus on my technique. This weekend, I'll be in Gainesville for UF's homecoming. A cold front is supposed to come through the area, bringing lows into the low 50s/upper 40s. I'm bringing my running gear and plan on getting in a 20 mile training run.