Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Post Where We Actually Pick a Race

So once I decided to do an Ironman, I thought it would just be a matter of picking what race I wanted, paying the rather exorbitant fee, and signing up.

Then, of course, training until I almost died and racing a grueling 17-hour event. No problem.

I knew I wanted to try to train for the Ironman in conjunction with training for the NYC marathon (for which I'm guaranteed entry on Nov 2, 2014). I found out that IM Arizona was November 16, 2014 -- almost perfect for training for both events at once, although perhaps just a bit too close together. No matter, I'd take it.

Me with Princess & Hippie at various crazeries
I was ready to sign up. I mentioned it to my two partners in crime, Hippie & Princess, and they were wildly enthusiastic about us all doing IM Arizona together. We were thrilled at the thought.

But then we found out IM Arizona sold out in less than 1 minute last year. Less than ONE MINUTE.

The chances of one of us getting a spot when registration opens on November 18 was slim. All three of us getting a spot? Near impossible.

So we reevaluated our game plan and looked at all the Ironmans available in the second half of 2014: Lake Placid (July 27), Boulder (Aug 3), Louisville, KY (Aug 24), Madison, WI (Sept 7), Lake Tahoe (Sept 21), Florida (Nov 2), and Cancun (Nov 30).

I sent Princess & Hippie a painfully long email discussing what I thought were the pros and cons of each
race. Some only had charity spots available so were twice as expensive, some would require air travel (and with 10 kids between our three families, that could get quite expensive), and some were known to be pretty brutal courses - not necessarily good for three IM novices.

In the end we decided to go with IM Louisville.

It's within driving distance for everybody (I live in VA, Hippie & Princess live in IN), it's a relatively good time of the year for the kids in terms of school, it's not an expensive place to visit (like Cancun or Tahoe would be), and most importantly it wasn't a race that sells out in less than five minutes (it usually sells out about 4-5 months in advance).

The REALLY REALLY bad thing about IM Kentucky: August in Kentucky. Hot and humid. And hot.

Not the conditions I would choose if I was going out to, say, cycle 112 miles and then run 26.2 miles just for fun. But if allows me to complete an Ironman with my two besties? I'll take it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Post Where Janie Decides to Do an Ironman

So I've gone and done something pretty stupid. Again. Nothing new.

I've decided to do an Ironman in 2014. 

Just to make sure everyone is clear, that would be a race that consists of: a 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. IN THE SAME DAY. It takes the average person around 15 hours to complete. The maximum allowed time is 17 hours.

I went down the checklist of things I knew I should consider before making the decision of doing an Ironman:
  • Not being a great swimmer and no real experience with open water swims - CHECK
  • Being a terrible cyclist with a huge fear of traveling fast and/or falling - CHECK
  • Sick to death of running - CHECK
But seriously, I thought about the triathlon races I'd done that would make me think I was ready for something like an Ironman:
  • Number of Sprint Triathlons (.46mi swim, 12.5mi bike, 3.1mi run) I'd completed - ONE (3 yrs ago)
  • Number of Olympic Triathlons (.93mi swim, 25mi bike, 6.2mi run) I'd completed - ZERO
  • Number of Half-Iron Triathlons (1.2mi swim, 56mi bike, 13.1mi run) I'd completed - ZERO
Obviously, given my currently level of triathlon fitness and experience, I was ready to take sign-up and begin training for an Ironman.

I've been a runner since 2010 -- picked it up as part of a mid-life crisis set. I've run a couple of marathons, a dozen or so halfs, and a bunch of crazy races (like 200-mile Ragnar relays, Tough Mudders, and various other local races). I'm not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm pretty consistent. But lately running had just not been keeping my interest.

So, of course, the obvious solution was to do MORE running, and add swimming and biking to the mix.

I blame Kona for this choice. In October they broadcasted the Ironman (IM) World Championships on the Interwebs from Kona and found myself watching all billion hours of it, entranced.  I made this post on Facebook in jest:

I swear on all that is true and right: I did not post that status with the intention in my mind of doing an IM. But for days afterwards I couldn't get my own statement out of my head:
Sometimes I wonder if all my racing craziness isn't leading up to an Ironman.
I came to this conclusion: yes, my racing craziness was leading me to an Ironman. Even with all my glaring inadequacies (listed above) I decided I wanted to do one. And that 2014 was the right year (for reasons I'm sure I'll discuss further in the future). I talked about it with my hubby (who prefers to be called Capt Awesome for this blog) and we researched costs and schedules.

Capt Awesome knows me well enough that we have installed the "3-day Rule" at our house. When I bring up something crazy I want to do: get a puppy, move to Germany, buy the entire boxed-set of Friends on Blu-ray -- and certainly an Ironman fits in the "crazy ideas" category -- he doesn't tell me no. He just tells me to make sure I still want to do it three days from now. If the idea still seems *fabulous* after three days, then it's a go.

Day one - Check.
Day two - Check.
Day three - Check.

Three weeks later - Still check. In 2014 I plan to become an Ironman.

And hopefully not die.

This will be my blog and training log. It won't be clever or witty -- I'll save that for my regular blog. (I realize not everyone who wanted to know about my writing or life in general would want to know my training or vice versa, so I thought I should keep them separate.)  I'm sure this blog won't be pretty (I sure as heck know my training won't be), but it will be honest.

There's more, of course... My partners in crime, selecting a race, choosing training plans. All part of the...dumb fun.