I Am An Ironman

This is the sixth and final article in the Ironman Chronicles series.

Well, I did it! I am officially an Ironman, one of the elite few people who have competed in a triathlon swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and then running a marathon (26.2 miles). 1406. is my new favorite number.

I think this whole race was highly unusual for me. First off, my business trip earlier in the week totally distracted me from the race so I didn’t even think too much about it. I thought that was a good thing, not having a lot of pent up nervous energy. Then for the first time in three years, I actually got a full night’s sleep before a race, 7 hours.

My main concern about this race was the swim. The weather here in Coeur d’Alene can change from day to day. But the stars must have been aligned today because the weather was picture perfect with minimal wind to kick up the waves and cause a swell in the lake. So basically the water was very calm.

After dropping off our Bike Special Needs and Run Special Needs bags, Eric and I got ready for the swim in the changing tent. We basically just sat in the tent since it was warm and waited until about 6:00 AM to put on our wetsuits. The race starts promptly at 7:00 AM with a mass start, basically 3000 male and female athletes jockeying for position in the water.

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Waiting

This is the fifth article in the Ironman Chronicles series.

Eric and I finished our last easy bike ride this morning. It was pretty cold, and we both decided to wear jackets tomorrow on race day. It’s projected to be about 47° by the time we get out of the water. Not only am I wearing a jacket, I’m also wearing toe covers on my shoes, arm coolers, arm warmers over the coolers, and leg warmers. The wind looked less active today, and you could tell the waves on the lake were smaller. But the wind was still strong enough to blow my bike. Need to be sure to stay alert during tomorrow’s ride.

After the ride we looked around the Ironman Village some more. And I bought some souvenirs for Maria & Tony. After lunch, we went for a 15-min jog. Then Eric visited with his bro, and I packed most of my bags for the return trip to San Diego.

Ate dinner at the hotel restaurant. Had some salad, clam chowder soup, and penne pasta with garlic butter and marinara sauce. Eric caught up with me at dinner time.

Nutrition Bottles

I have 8 bottles; Eric has 2.

 

Afterwards, we mixed our nutrition bottles. Eric requested a wake-up call for 3:30 AM. I set my alarm for 3:15. We leave on the hotel shuttle to Transition at 4:30 AM. The grand adventure begins with the canon going off at 7:00 AM.

Good night!

Iron Virgin

This is the fourth article in the Ironman Chronicles series.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

This is the time for Ironman.

My first time in Idaho. First time in Coeur d’Alene. It’s very scenic around the lake.

Lake Coeur d'Alene

Lake Coeur d'Alene

My first Athlete Dinner at an Ironman race. I felt lost in a herd of cattle being led to a trough of food.

Athlete Dinner

Athlete Dinner

My first time not needing my own race bag.

Race Bags

Race Bags

This is my time. And it’s my first Ironman.

IMCdA Logo

Mind Games

This is the third article in the Ironman Chronicles series.

Mind games, really. Mind over matter. Sheer determination of the will. Overcoming, victorious, breakthrough. Is it fantasy or reality? Can I really will my mind to ignore fear? The race is less than two days away. What is the greatest obstacle I will have to overcome to complete this grand trek across 140.6 miles?

My mind tells me it’s my swimming.

Swimming is the dark dragon that still needs to be slain. I’ve trained extra hard since mid-May, swimming close to seven miles per week. I’ve seen my times in the pool drop from a 1:55/100 meters to about 1:45/100 meters.

All that seemed to have been erased today during my short, practice swim in choppy, freezing water in a dark, menacing lake. The only consolation was not having to taste nasty saltwater.

I wish I was the X-Men character, Storm. I’d make the wind disappear to make the lake as smooth as glass so that I wouldn’t have to get pounded in the face swimming into a wave crest every three strokes. But alas, I can’t control the weather on race day.

Me and the Moose

Don't know why this moose was at the lake, but we got a picture with it after our short practice swim.

I can only control my mind and my body. I can choose to recall that I’ve swum well in training. I can choose to remember that I’ve swum 4,000 meters on numerous occasions. And I can do it again in a lake on Sunday. Despite my dislike of swimming, I can choose to remember that I’ve been swimming since I was eight years old. That’s well over 36 years. So I can damn well swim 2.4 miles in freezing, choppy water if I put my mind to it.

Gear

This is the second article in the Ironman Chronicles series.

I love this sport. It fits perfectly with my personality. You know the type. Type A. You have to be regimented, disciplined, and organized. I guess you need to be if you want to remember all this sh*tuff you have to bring with you to race one of these Ironmans. My gawd! This is a lot of stuff.

Gear Galore

Lots and lots of sh*tuff

And if you know anything about the typical triathlete doing an Ironman race, you also have to bring backups for the backup gear. Duplicate and triplicate items galore. Sheesh, I thought my “normal” checklist for a “regular” sprint triathlon was huge. But for IMCdA, I have eight checklists to help me remember everything I need to bring: bike, clothing, electronics, food, miscellaneous, nutrition, run, and swim. Then on top of it all, you have to buy more stuff, namely food, when you arrive at the race.

In addition to my bike, I brought three bags of gear: one huge Zoot race/travel bag, one TravelPro carry-on bag, and one gear bag (that I had transported by TriBike Transport, the company that drove my bike from San Diego to Idaho). I packed some pretty odd stuff for this race in June. For example, arm warmers and leg warmers. In June! Here at Coeur d’Alene, the weather could be anything: hot, warm, freezing, or rainy. I even packed a rain jacket. The latest weather forecast for Sunday looks perfect: moderate at 68° with water temperatures in the lake at 58° so hopefully I won’t need any warmers or jackets during the race.

Even with my eight hardcore checklists, apparently I forgot the most important Ironman Essentials below, slippers and Hershey’s Chocolate.

Slippers and Hershey's Chocolate

Ironman Essentials

 

Whirlwind

This is the first article in the Ironman Chronicles series, which follows my journey during race week of my first Ironman.

Wow. Race week is here, and to be honest, I have not had much time to think about what I am about to embark on. The last two weeks at work have been sooooper crazy busy. Even though this was the only week in June during which I did not want to do any business travel, travelling to Norfolk for business earlier in the week ended up being a good distraction. It kept my mind off the race, protecting me from the fear (is that the right word?) of racing for 140.6 miles.

I’ve been asked quite a few times already: “Are you excited?” I think I’m getting there.

At least I know there’s is no turning back now. After all, I’m stuck here in the Seattle-Tacoma Airport waiting for my connecting flight to Spokane. Hope to see you on the other side… as an Ironman.

Ready-ness

Ready

-adjective
1. completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use: GdO ready for battle; The athlete is ready.
2. duly equipped, completed, adjusted, or arranged, as for an occasion or purpose: The mechanic called to say that the bike is ready.

With 18 days remaining until race day, I’m entering my last 2.5 weeks of training, which is really more like recovering and tapering. All the hard work and large volume of training were completed last weekend. My body seems to be taking it well. Each day I feel rested, but lately when I start exercising I’ve felt slightly fatigued. Coach says it’s normal. The strange thing is that despite my general tiredness when training, I seem to be performing at a really high level.

Aquatics: Ever since the Encinitas race, I’ve jacked up my swimming intensity by several notches, and I’m pleased to say that my base time for 100 meters has decreased. I can consistently swim it in 1:45. Prior to Encinitas, I swam 1:55/100 meters. Some “fastest” highlights from recent workouts: 100 m in 1:36, 200 m in 3:15, 400 m in 7:03.

Velo-city: I feel most fatigued when cycling, but have not noticed anything negative speed or power wise while riding on the road. Notable highlight: near the end of a recent 114-mile ride, I tore up Torrey Pines.

Ambulation: No hip pains, nothing reminiscent of my injury last December. Running regularly with Eric has helped. Keeping up with Mr. Speed Demon on Tuesday nights and running below my target pace on Wednesdays has helped me to run fast on a consistent basis. At track workouts, I’ve been running the target 90% efforts at sub-6-minute pace.

IMCDA, I am ready.