Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Ironman

Or, how time waits for no man.

So, Doug and I have been training (with a bunch of friends) for Ironman Louisville. We signed up after Ironman Florida closed out in 30 minutes last year and we missed the registration window.


A marathon. In August. After a 112 mile bike ride. And a 2.4 mile swim.


What a fabulous idea.


We've been talking of nothing else for, oh, seven months.


So, the race number list came out last week. Which means that it is actually going to happen. The race isn't next year, six months from now, next season, next month, later. It is now - August 29th.


I am scared to death.


I am bib number 480 and Doug is number 1941 (appropriate because of his birthday on Pearl Harbor Day, no?). Everyone on the Beginner Triathlete board tries to find meaning in the numbers we have drawn. I thought I was #840 and just had to check it online again. Nope, 480. That number sounded familiar so I went to check the numbers pinned to the wall in our garage and look, there was #48. It was my South Carolina HIM number. Cool.


But, the race. Holy cow. People like me don't do the Ironman. Interestingly, that is what Doug said when we were discussing the "motivation" (quotes are to be read in a sing-songy, derisive tone like Boortz uses to talk about things being "for the children") to do the race. It's funny, though, because I totally could have seen Doug doing the Ironman, even when we first met. He is tough like that.


Me, not so much. We don't camp because it's too dirty and buggy for me. My primary exercise until about 1986 was high-speed popcorn consumption. People like me don't do the Ironman. And I know I'm not fat. I haven't been fat in 24 years. OK, maybe I was a bit fluffy there for a while in the late 90s, but bear with me. Being bigger makes you doubt your worth, your abilities, your possibilities. And it takes a lot to overcome that. Like 24 years. Or the 26.2 miles in a marathon.

Or the 140.6 miles of the Ironman.


I have no affirmations, no motivational phrases, no magic words for my race. I will just keep moving forward until I am forced to stop and hopefully the finish line is where that will happen. Sure, there will be slow-downs or rests along the way, especially if the Fogle GI makes an appearance, but whatever. They give you 17 hours to finish for a reason.


Here is what I've learned in the months of training leading up to now:
  1. My husband is awesome. He has planned my workouts, encouraged me in my many moments of doubt and saved me from my own stupid ideas more times than I care to count. And, he doesn't think Madonna-muscles are gross like Tosh.0

  2. You have to eat a lot of food to fuel the Ironman training. At least double what you would otherwise be eating. It's a little gross.

  3. If you do all of the prescribed training, you will turn into a big slab of muscle. You can't help it. With the calories burned by the hours of training, you might not lose any weight, but the layer of fat turns into muscle. Seriously. Our little gang is totally buff. Six packs and Madonna-ish muscles abound.

Insert musical interlude

-* - * - * - * - * -

So, I never actually finished that post, but I DID finish the Ironman and you know what?

It wasn't that hard.

Granted, I did walk about 20 miles of the run and I was last of the eight people in our triathlon club plus the three other guys we knew, but still. At no point was it insurmountable and most of it was really fun. I will do it again!

In the two weeks before the race, I had an epiphany and realized that by putting in the training, I have become the kind of person that does the Ironman.

That anyone who puts in the training can be the kind of person that does the Ironman. Sure, maybe some of us will never win or even be competitive, but it is fun to your bike and swim and run. It just is.

So there.

If you are interested in my stats, here are the official results - I'm finisher #1793, on page 26. Photos are here. Yes, I was totally crying on the bike and that run photo is very indicative of how I was feeling at the time, but I went on to finish, so it is OK. And, if you do not mind too much information about my GI and poop, here is my race report on BT.