Ironman

May 20, 2008: What would my times be?

Swim: 1:40?
Bike: 5:45?
Run: 4:35?

Tot: 12:00?

My best swim this winter was 112 laps in an hour, which is 2.46km/h, and would translate roughly to a Ironman swim time of 1:35.

An attainable pace on my current bike is about 25 km/h, which would be 7:12 on the bike, clearly too slow! So strangely, this would be the component of my race that I'd need to do the most training for. And I would likely get suckered into buying an actual road/triathalon bike, which might add 3-4km/h.

As for the marathon, I guess we'll find out this weekend! After a 180km bike, though, 4:35 sounds tough.

Part of me thinks that if I want to try and do an Ironman, I should do it now that I'm in marathon condition, but I think I'll hold off for a few years. Something that confuses me is the whole qualifying thing. At first I thought you only had to qualify if you wanted to do the race in Hawaii, but from some of the things I've seen, it sounds like perhaps you have to qualify to do one, period?

May 3, 2008: GRAND magazine

Every couple of months we get a magazine named GRAND: Living Well in Waterloo Region delivered to our doorstep. It's a free magazine that contains interesting, well photographed articles about people, businesses, and places in the region.

An article that I enjoyed reading this month:

"Nothing stops him": A look into the life of Don Andrews, a local triathalete that specializes in the Ironman. I followed Don and his teammates last year as they trained and raised money for "iron DOGS 4 kids".

Although I would love to do an Ironman some day, I haven't done a whole lot of research. And so it was a bit of an eye opener to read that this guy runs every single day (5:30 AM), then cyles or swims for a couple of hours on top of that. (I find running 3 times a week to be lots!)

As he talks about his recent race in Lake Placid, it becomes evident how gruelling an Ironman can be:

Then he hit the wall. Thirty kilometres into the runn, driven by exhaustion, his body began to shut down. Unable to speak or hear, Andrews was reduced to a walk, questioning whether he could even finish. "I was ready to check myself in to an ambulance." Eating and drinking constantly to rebuild his energy, Andrews walked five kilometres before a passing racer coached him back into the race. Pointing out a shadow that lay across the road, he told Andrews, "When you get to that shadow, you're running".

A couple of weekends ago, while I was doing some raking with church friends, a man that I hadn't met before was talking about his son-in-law's experience running the Ironman. He said that the swim and cycle portions were ok, but that the run was gruelling. After barely being able to complete the race, his son in law vowed never to do it again. He was helped into a car and taken immediately to a hotel to sit in an ice bath. It was a full two months before he had fully recovered.

On the other end of the spectrum, Meredith has a contact in the financial world that speaks of Ironmans as if they were pretty straightforward. When I chatted with him in Toronto one evening, he said that once you've done an Ironman, you realize that they're really not all that difficult. Likewise, my sister Hannah knows of an older lady who started doing Ironmans in her 50s or 60s and has done one every year for a number of years.

So there are definitely some mixed messages out there!

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