A few have asked for an Ironman training update so I thought I would post...One question I've asked myself is why did I take on the beast of Ironman? I know why. I was inspired by a friend. And wanted to be a part of the infectious energy of the Ironman Lake Placid. We have ties to that area but had never been in town for the big event in July. In 2019, I was fortunate enough to live vicariously through my friend Greta and watch her day unfold.
“Anyone can do it if they train,” Greta said. And I thought I would put that to the test. I am anyone. Six months ago I did not swim, bike or run. I kept fit but the truth was my ass had spread from years of writing books.
So I needed to get strong and get a baseline level of fitness to take on this beast. I often get asked “which is your favorite?” None of them. I can't say I enjoy any of them. It’s a forced act to get into the pool in January in the Northeast. Its actually a forced act to drive to the pool. I have to talk myself into it over and over. Inertia is strong. And I had to get the breathing right for swimming. It took me four months and many tears of frustration to figure it out. I honestly thought the swim was going to take me out of this whole experience. Every cliché about perseverance is true. I started this barely able to swim freestyle 25 yards. Then it took three months to not stop at the edge with every turn. It really was a long and miserable road in the pool. And I am being truthful about the tears. More than once I left the Y crying. And this was after I had a couple of lessons. But then one more lesson with a coach and a saline pool that helped me with buoyancy turned everything around. The support of the saltwater helped me swim farther than I had ever swam before. I couldn’t believe it. My breathing clicked and my stroke clicked and I swam an actual mile. I remember that day as the turning point with my swim. I knew if I kept at it, I could do it. Why didn’t I give up? Who gives up? I wasn’t going to give up. This is something I really want to experience and if the race were to come and go and I didn’t give it my best shot, I know I’d regret it. So I kept trying. And the success in the pool will carry me a little farther. Until my next obstacle. Which was the run. I’m not a runner. “Oh people power walk that thing,” Greta told me.
This was encouraging. At four miles an hour, it would take me 6 hours to power-walk that marathon. But this too has started to transform. I’m actually running, seeing how far I can get and I’m surprising myself with my increased fitness and endurance. When I started this, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping for a walk. My cardio was the pits. But now, I’m up to 10 miles and only stopping because of blisters. So I’ll have to figure those out but again, breathing is the deciding factor between enjoying this experience or gutting it out. I knew this experience would be spiritual. I see you roll your eyes...
So now with the swim and run as actual doable components, my last nemesis is the bike. I learned how to ride a bike when I was twelve, having no interest before that. And once I accomplished it, I hung up my wheels. Three decades later, I’m looking to ride 112 miles. That sounds insane. I have had to overcome all of the scrapes and bruises one gets when they learn to ride a bike as a kid. But again, these are the obstacles in my story. My favorite fortune cookie is “you only see the obstacles when you take your eye off the goal,” I love that and am using that as my slogan for this race.
What’s next to overcome? Clip in bike shoes. I’ve been training on my trainer all through the winter in the Northeast but spring is here early and I will be venturing out in the wee hours when less cars are on the road to master my bike. And I think I need to join a tri club, or a cycle club. I need accountability that only others can give me. Or else I’ll be showing up to the race with my bike on its trainer.
So that’s my 6 month half way update. I’m sure no matter how much I train, I wont feel I’m ready but no one is ever ready for anything, so I'll just keep swimming.