Goal: Finish the Ford Ironman Florida Triathlon, November 5, 2011. Done. J Before I begin this post, let me emphatically state that I AM NOT AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE. REALLY, I’M NOT…
Ok, here it is: my much awaited and anticipated Florida Ironman recap. J Thanks for your patience! Since landing back in Utah I have been knees and elbows deep in family, cancer fighting, and the new basketball season…
Because I have been bombarded by questions about my Ironman, I’ve decided to use those questions, yes, your questions, to write this post. As always, I hope that I can make you laugh, think, and cry. This is as much about YOU as it is me. So, here we go. Here’s the skinny on the 140.6 for Stephanie…
Q: Are you going to do another one (Ironman)?
A: I didn’t expect it, but this is the most oft asked question I’ve received. Well, I would have to say no, yes, and maybe. I know, I know, not too committal, huh?
Why “no”? 1) Participating in an Ironman is expensive. You will drop a few thousand dollars and that’s on the low end, 2) my main goal was to finish so at this point I don’t have anything else to prove at the 140.6 distance, & 3) the training is a tremendous drain on your time and your family—it becomes another part-time job, and 4) I AM NOT AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE. REALLY, I’M NOT.
Q: Was the race easier or more difficult than you expected?
A: Great question. Though very hard, it was not more difficult than I expected. In some ways, I suppose it was easier…let me explain.
It was 140.6 miles & 13+ hours long! So, of course, it was the most difficult, grueling athletic test of my life. But, it wasn’t more difficult than I expected. I suppose I can chalk that up to very good training and preparation. My physical workouts were sufficient and I had also spent many hours doing my custom “10 Minute Mental Workout”. This training was every bit as helpful as the actual physical training and it helped me to visualize success. This had a very welcome “calming effect” during the race <insert “centering breath here> J. The finish line was not “new” to me—I had crossed it dozens of times in my mind prior to the event. Confidence was on my side.
I am a very stubborn, determined person when I set my mind to something so there was NO WAY I was not going to finish. But, the following people boosted me tremendously and thus, made the race easier…
Q: Were you sore in the hours and/or days after the race?
A: My quads were pretty dang sore afterward, but I was mostly just fatigued rather than “sore”. I think this was due to my good training. My body was ready for the race. I’ve actually been much more sore after considerably shorter races and training workouts.
Q: What was the hardest—the swim, the bike, or the run?
A: Awesome question. They are all difficult for me in their respective way, but one becomes harder than the other two. The run. The 26.2 mile beast.
The swim is my least favorite of the three, but what I do like about the swim is that it is first, so I get to eat the frog right away and then move on to better tasting stuff. It is dang hard for me because, to quote my first swim coach, “Steve, you are an oil tanker and we’re going to try and transform you into a speed boat.” Translation: I am a slow, plodding swimmer and though I had trimmed myself down to my college football playing weight, I am not a water skipper. I have improved my technique tremendously over the past few years, but it is still a struggle for me. I have yet to add an Evinrude to my equipment bag!
The bike is prickly thorn in the posterior for me because it is just so dang long. 112 miles. 5-6 hours. Who goes for a ride that long at race pace?! Idiot Ironmen, that’s who! It is a grueling haul that takes its toll on your legs, your core, your back, your arms/shoulders, and on some other body parts, too!! J
I suppose I’d have to say the run is the hardest for me mainly because at that point you are so dang tired and it now becomes as much, or even more, a mental than physical game. The demons rear their ugly head and you have to wage war on them face to face. In a twisted way, this is much of the allure of these insane endurance events. It’s the challenge of “overcoming” that entices you to send in your entry fee. Do you have what it takes to win this mental battle? I can say without any hesitation, that yes, you and I are both capable of getting the “W”. And, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an “Ironman” triathlon and you don’t have to be an “endurance athlete”. You just gotta have a whole lotta “want to.” We all have mountains to climb and our crosses to bear, so get climbing and, uh, bearing. Let’s live it up, baby.