I can remember 10 years ago I was on my first "group" run with some fellow runners in the town I live in. I was somewhat new to the area and I was looking to start training for a local half marathon and I figured, what better way to make friends then to join the local running community. So I'm about 5 miles in on this group run and they are all chatting about their upcoming full marathons. I recall saying, "there is NO WAY I would ever run a full marathon. You couldn't pay me to run that far... no way!" Sigh.... never say never.
I finished that half I was training for and the next day, I registered for my first full the following October. HA! Every runner that is reading this right now knows that feeling after finishing one race and immediately looking for the next one!
This pic was taken of me and my sister running in the KC marathon in 2013. We were at mile 16 and stopped to stretch. I finished this race in 3:56... didn't even wear a watch!
After that race, I got bitten by the running bug... I was ready to do more races.
Fast forward 8 years and a lot of races in- between, Ironman was coming to Oklahoma! I had always looked at maybe doing one, but I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the money not only on the race itself (which is ridiculously expensive), but on the travel to get there including shipping my bike.. etc! So when Ironman chose Tulsa to be the host for the next 3 years, I was sold.
I've done multiple sprints, longer distance, and the 70.3 (half ironman distance), but I was ready to take it a step further. The full Ironman has been a bucket list item for a few years and I wanted to get it done before the big 4-0 later this year.
So what is a full Ironman? It consists of a 2.4 mile swim (usually in a lake or large body of water), a 112 mile bike, and a full marathon... all on the same day. Yes, I know what you are thinking... this is insane. And I agree, when you put it all together like that, it seems like the dumbest idea to ever. But we runners are stubborn and never say never, right??
I started my training on Jan 4th and I'm 13 weeks in so far. I have 7 more weeks to go before the big dance. Am I ready? Yes~ I will finish. Will it be pretty? Probably not. Do I have a goal? I have several plans. Plan A - finish around 14 hours (which I feel really confident about). Plan B, finish under 15 hours. Plan C, just finish the damn thing.
Up until week 10, training was going as scheduled and I was finishing each workout strong. However, the last few weeks my left knee hasn't been recovering quite as quickly from my long bike rides as I would like. So I've been backing off the intense bike training and getting it worked on by a PT. I wouldn't say I'm "Injured"... I'm just backing off the original intense training and at this point, maintaining and getting race ready. Sometimes there are things that happen that are out of your control. So you have to focus on what you CAN control. For me, that meant backing off the bike intensity, swimming a little more and water running a bit more.
Today I did a tempo run (faster pace run) and it felt really good so that has made me confident that it's going to be fine! I have some long bike rides ahead, but if they don't happen and I need to save my knee for race day, that's ok. I haven't lost sight of my main goal. Finish.
"An undertrained healthy athlete is better than an injured one" Carlee Daub.
These words have kept me positive, despite not doing the bike workouts as planned. It's crazy how much of a mindset shift I have made in the past 13 weeks.
I have gotten used to the long bike rides and actually I have really enjoyed them, even though most of them have been on my trainer due to weather. The pool used to intimidate me a bit, but I'm learning to really love my time in the water and I've gotten much faster too! My running has even improved and I only run about 2-3 times per week. When you focus on quality and make each run intentional, it makes a big impact.
So on May 23rd at 7am, rain or shine, wind (for sure because this is Oklahoma and it's windy AF here), and hopefully no tornados, I will be lining up to get started for my first full IRONMAN.