I arrived on Wednesday afternoon, well before the Thursday deadline for packet pick-up and the mandatory athlete meeting Thursday night. At the packet pick-up all athletes receive an arm band that has to be worn throughout the event, 5 gear bags and the standard number bib, chip, etc. My folks also drove in on Wednesday from Indiana. The rest of Thursday and Friday was spent driving the bike course, shopping at the expo, picking up Beth and the kids at the airport and generally obsessing over what to put in my gear bags. All that would have been just fine if it wasn’t for the constant stream of super-fit athletes running and biking past our condo. As Beth mentioned in her blog, it’s intimidating to see such a concentrated collection of highly trained competitors.
I’ve run over 10 marathons and completed 2 half iron triathlons – in almost every case I’ve felt pretty good within 10-15 minutes of the finish. Not this time. Two hours after getting to the condo, getting a shower, eating some real food, etc. I still felt terrible. Fortunately, some Vicodin came to the rescue and by the next morning I felt well again. That’s a good thing because by 11 a.m. I was on a plane to Atlanta connecting to a flight to Paris.
And now here’s some advice for those of you considering an Ironman. I think the most important criteria/requirements are:
- A supportive spouse. It is especially helpful if your spouse is also an endurance athlete. My 150 day training program required nearly 300 hours of actual training, during which I also traveled 60 days for business. As you can tell from her blogs, I am especially blessed with a great spouse.
- Great kids. Katy and Brady were just as understanding and supportive as Beth. I consider it a great compliment that Brady now wants to try triathlons.
- A good job. I have a good job in that it allows me afford triathlons – this is not a cheap sport. On the other hand, my job requires a lot of domestic and international travel. That definitely makes it harder to train, especially biking and swimming. If you travel like I do, you better get used to hotel treadmills at 10 p.m.
I am NOT a great athlete. I was never chosen first or second or even third on the playground. But I’m patient, smart and competitive. And I don’t mind suffering. If this sounds like you, then I’m sure you too can be an Ironman.
See you at Ironman Wisconsin in 2010!