Ironman Challenges

I am now in the true beginnings of training for my Ironman, which I will compete in July 25th, 2020, in Santa Rosa, CA. In case anyone isn’t familiar with triathlon events, a full Ironman race is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. While there are all kinds of bananas-crazy events out there, the Ironman triathlon has always been the biggest and baddest event in my own mind. It’s a huge, seemingly impossible challenge.

I’ve trained for things that seemed impossible before. The Marine Corps marathon. The Badger Mountain Challenge. The Volcanic 50km. The Atlantic City half-Ironman. They all felt impossible when I signed up. They all felt impossible right up until I was actually doing them. And then I did them. And they weren’t impossible after all.

But a full Ironman – 140.6 miles of relentless straight forward motion – feels truly impossible. The distances I can get my mind around. I’ve run marathons and further. The swim? P’shaw! The bike? Uhhh… I’m scared of the bike. It’s a long way and a long time to be on a bike. But I know I can get there. I’ve ridden 63 miles. I only have to stretch that out another… 49 miles. Uh oh. But really, it’s the logistics and troubleshooting that I’m most concerned about.

Drop bags. Nutrition. Wet suits. Transition procedure. Bike maintenance. There’s so much to learn and do. It’s overwhelming.

So I hired a coach. She’s helping me train and will help me learn the bike maintenance I need to know to get through a flat tire on the course, or whatever. We weren’t seeing eye to eye at first about my body and what I needed, but we had a frank conversation and I was clear about my needs and the training has gotten better.

I’ve complicated it by signing up for Tiger Claw again, a monster 25 mile, 8500′ of gain race that goes up and down Tiger Mountain three times. I did it last year and it was one of the most awesome races I’ve ever done. I was as wrecked as I’ve ever been, and as happy as I’ve ever felt during a race.

Hopefully, a hard mountain ~marathon two and a half months before my triathlon isn’t too dumb an idea.