Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Ironman. I am clueless.

I have been dropping hint after hint after hint about signing up for an Ironman and then finally I am blatantly dropping the "gonna sign up in 3 days for an Ironman."

And then I didn't. I chickened out.

The way I am as a person is basically striving to better myself and reach the peak of that "life" mountain. Since triathlon has basically taken over my life since early 2008, that buildup has gone from the duathlon to the sprint triathlon to Olympic to now the Half Ironman. On a parallel level I have gone from 5K's to 10K's to 15K's to Half Marathon's to a 25K and will be attempting my first full Marathon in Novemeber.

So what's left to climb higher in triathlon? The FULL Ironman. The Grand Daddy of them all. (We will not even think about or include the Triple Ironman in this discussion). Its like all roads/signs/cliches/colloquial slogans have been pointing me in this direction. I guess because its "hard" and its the top of the food chain in terms of mainstream triathlon competitions, I have this mental "its too hard" block in my head.

Now I know I can do it. Doing it meaning finishing it under the 17 hour time limit. That is not the issue. My issue is completing it strong and being satisfied with that finish. For example, my goal for my first Half Ironman was to go under 6 hours. I did that by 5 mins, but the run took me 23 mins longer than I expected. I still call that a bittersweet victory. I don't want to be miserable (as in I fucked up when I knew better, like going too hard on the bike) and finish an Ironman like that. You can only have one "first" Ironman and I want it to be a great and fun experience, not one that I am going to dread or regret.

I know it will be hard and there will be many "what the fuck am I doing out here moments" but I want to cross that finish line with ZERO regrets. I want to know that I finished that Ironman knowing that I did the best and fastest that my body could do, regardless of my finishing time.

That is the Ironman that I want to have.

Of course, it SO much fun writing this, because I have absolutely NO IDEA what I have ahead of me. I am completely clueless!!! Yes, I can go half the distance and be able to walk the next day, but from everything that I have read about with the full is that it is NOT just 2X a half. Distance wise, yes, but its the mental aspect and breaking your body down to that level that is a complete unknown. I have a feeling that I really don't know what true pain is.

This past season I have self coached myself and it has worked. Basically I used periodization and slowly upped my volume and stayed super consistent. Amazing how if you up your overall volume by 20% that your finishing times end up 20% faster. Who knew! (said in deep sarcasm).

But next year I am heading back to being coached. Half Ironman training is still a distance that you can fuddle around and finish. Six hours of efforts in one day is one thing, but 12+ in one day? YIKES!!! I would be playing with fire if I went self coached next year.

Fortunately I am meeting a coach up in Lake Placid in two weeks and will lay it all down. This prospective coach is a multiple Kona qualifier and finisher (not the guy I ran with the other week) and he has coached other athletes to Kona. Now, I am NOT going for Kona (remember heat + me + running = bad juju?), but it shows that the guy can coach and that right there gives me confidence in him in that he knows his stuff AND! can back it up with performance.

Things to look forward to!


  1. Soooo ... LP volunteering + new coach = IMLP 2011?

  2. Yeah, I think Jeff is onto something! FWIW--I did LP waaaay back in '99. I was coached by Troy Jacobson and loved the plan he gave me. I also had the benefit of having him in my neck of the woods, so he was here to see me do track, swim workouts, etc. But I can't imagine having done it w/o a coach--I think you are making a smart move.

  3. Yo! I just hired a coach as well for an iron distance (possibly two...)! There is no way I'd be able to do it without one cracking the whip.
    Good to hear you're still up for it...I was worried for a bit! We'll suffer together!

  4. It's a big distance. Just remember that you have a lot of time left in your tri career. It is easy to keep moving into longer distances but there is something to be said for sticking with a distance until you feel comfortable and accomplished there. With that said, IMLP 2011 would be pretty awesome too :)

  5. I think sitting down with a coach is a great idea! That way you can see exactly what it entails and takes to train for an Ironman. I don't know if I'll ever do an Ironman, but if I do, I think I would definitely need a coach. Can't wait to hear how it goes!

  6. Looks like I am playing with fire? I never was too smart! haha

    sounds like you are doing a smart thing with meeting a coach. The fact you even have the chance to do IMLP is unreal...that would be my first choice if I had a chance to get in

  7. IMLP, from what I hear about through teammates is amazing! I have three friends volunteering this year so that they can race next year. Many of my friends have completed the course. I say go for it!!!

  8. Yup, these aren't popsicle sticks you are playing with

  9. I self coached myself last year for IMKY and I loved every minute of it. The race was fantastic. However, just as you said it is much different than an half IM. For one thing the intensity is nothing but nutrition and hydration will make or break you. You really can fudge a half IM and ‘get through it’.

    I don’t think you can run a full IM without sorting everything out. A good rule of thumb – take your ½ IM time and multiply by 2 then add an hour.

  10. It is easy to get caught up in the progression of things. It seems like that is the NEXT step and that you wont be whole without it. I think you ARE training for that now with halves. I mean you need that strong secure base underneath you so when you climb to IM you will be secure. My advice is do not rush to it. I am working very hard to follow my advice. Take pleasure in the journey, you will get there.

  11. Just do it already!!!

    I went the coached route for my 1st IM this year and I don't regret it. What I liked is not having to doubt or second guess what I'm doing because I turn that piece over to someone else. I've been lucky that I've been injury free and able to be really consistent in my training but I still liked just turning that entire piece over to someone else so I never had to worry if I was doing enough or the right things. For me that just took so much stress out of it.

  12. I know what you mean.

    You can do it though. With the training and races you have logged, I don't have any doubts that you can rock an IM. Yes, it is big difference between a half and full IM, but you have been so good about getting your training in and figuring out what your nutrition needs are that I'm sure you can handle it.

    Good luck with your new coach!

  13. I know exactly how you feel. I had this whole plan of a 70.3 in 2010, stand-alone marathon in 2011 and 140.6 in 2012. And then I broke my arm. The good news is that the distance isn't going away. You'll figure out what is right for you. Talking to a coach sounds like a great first step!

  14. triple iron man. what is that? if it is what i think it is, that is abso-effin0lutely crazy!

    jon,u r young. u have tons of time to do everything u want. and u will do it.

  15. I can sit here and write a book about what I think, but you are already thinking it, so I will keep it short, we all dream about it and we all know your gonna sign up for it, myabe LP maybe another race. And we will all be here to keep you motivated in your journey. Because we all know you can do it.


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