To quote a famous song, “What a long strange trip its been”. Looking back, I can remember sitting in the bleachers watching my friend complete an Olympic distance triathlon. I remember thinking on how cool it would be to cross that finish line, to be in that exclusive club. Then I remember looking at my belly, knowing I was 40+ pounds overweight, and saying to myself “Who am I kidding? I’ll never do that”. Well, with determination, and an attitude that I would not give up on myself any more, not only did I reach that dream of completing an Olympic distance triathlon, I shattered it by going to Raleigh, North Carolina and completing an Ironman 70.3! Talk about an exclusive club.
Thanks to my coach Jenni and the E11even Athletics team, I trained properly and stayed healthy, and finished my race strong and ready to keep going. After the race I had a two week break where I did no running, and only light biking and swimming. Coach Jenni said the first week was to let the body heal, and the second was to take a little mental break before starting training again. But, what to train for? I completed my goal, and while I always have the next goal in mind, this was one goal that I could not decide on my own. It required complete honesty from my coach, my wife, and myself, and after my “mental” break, it would be time to talk.
So I talked with my wife and discussed my new goal. I had her blessing, so the only hurdle was my coach. Jenni has always been up front and honest with me, even when the honesty can be hard to hear. I trust her without question, and respect her opinion, so I nervously gave her a call. What would she say? I was actually scared dialing the phone. Would she agree with me? Tell me that my new goal wasn’t obtainable? What would I do if she said it wasn’t a good goal? We talked for a long time. I was surprisingly happy to hear that not only did she like my new goal and supported it, but she said she would be more than happy to train me toward making that goal. She then asked if I wanted it, really wanted to do it, and I said “yes”. We talked about possible events over a couple conversations, and for right now we have penciled in an event for 2017. It’ll be in early October (I hope) and hopefully much cooler than Raleigh was. So I think I’ve stalled enough. Here is the main goal penciled in for 2017:
If you noticed that there is no 70.3 at the end of the image, it is not a mistake. Although at times I think about it and think about breathing into a paper bag. The goal is to do a full 140.6 Ironman. I have over a year to build on where I am now, but as Coach Jenni said “Your weekends are now officially over”. They will be replaced with long bike rides (Jenni said that I will do several century (100 mile) bike rides during my training), more runs off the bike, although the swims won’t change that much. Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to the challenge! I’m looking forward to watching myself improve in ways I never thought possible.
I just hope I get in and get registered in time, and that they don’t change the date. They are still prepping to run the 2016 Maryland Ironman, so the 2017 race is not open yet. That gets me a little nervous, not knowing if you’ll get in until you do, and then freaking out yelling “Oh my God!! What have I done?!?” But then you come down from the ledge, take a deep breath, and get to work. After all, it just another 70.3 miles more than Raleigh, right? Ok, where’s my paper bag to breathe in??
But honestly, I cannot believe looking back, at how far you can come when you don’t give up on yourself. By constantly pushing to improve, you can do amazing things, even train for an Ironman. I started by slowly running a mile, slowly biking about 5 miles, and barely able to swim 25 yards. In less than 7 years, I went from that to training to swim 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles. What a (not so) long, strange (and wonderful) trip it’s been.
And it’s only just beginning….
Live healthy, be happy!