Ever since we started training to “Run for Dom” in the winter of 2009 we have been training, posting and chronicling all of the highs, lows, struggles and victories along the way.
Back then I was concerned with how in the world I was going to be able to run two marathons just 13 days apart. I trained hard, tried to take care of myself the best that I could and strapped myself in for at the time was the most difficult race of my life. Pittsburgh in May 2010 was a long day at the office for sure, but in the end it was still over with in less than 3 hours and 45 minutes.
I wondered at the time what was going to be the next adventure, never really thinking we were going to top that effort. One of the by products of training to run those races for Dom was cross training on the bike. I planned on some day trying a triathlon. Just for fun of course. But never anything crazy. Certainly not an Ironman.
Maybe I’m one of the few people who honestly believed that, but I honestly didn’t think we would ever “go there”. I have told numerous runners that unless you feel like you “need” to run a marathon, you shouldn’t do it.
Wanting to just isn’t enough, to do it in a serious way, you have to need it. The requirements are just too stringent for us amateur athletes. The penalties too severe if you are undertrained or injured.
For Ironman, the same disclaimer applies.
2.4 mile swim. 112-mile bike. Marathon.
Not something to enter into lightly. That said, here we are as in just 23 weeks we will slide off the dock into the water with 2,700 other athletes for the most grueling, challenging endurance athletic event in the world.
Dom would have loved this.
So where have I been the last few weeks?
I took a break quite honestly.
I knew what these 6 months were going to be like. Swims, rides, runs, weights, nutrition, posting workouts. Many professional athletes do exactly what I did, which is take it easy, let all the bumps and bruises heal and then attack their training with renewed vigor.
Let me tell you something, it works.
I ran ran a bit, biked a bit, swam a bit.
I refined my swim form. I dialed in my new bike set-up. I trained for and absolutely crushed the 5-mile in 30:25.
I also hit the reset button mentally and I am completely stoked for this training cycle. Much like Run for Dom, I really don’t know how this is going to all work out. So much can go wrong in an Ironman, there are too many variables to count.
But there is one variable that I have no concern over whatsoever and that is being prepared for race day. I am attacking this event emotionally detached and very businesslike. The emotions of it all are going to be suppressed until the cannon fires on May 18. Then it will be time to let it all hang out.
140.6 miles in what I hope will be somewhere around 11 hours.
There is a little more than 7 billion people on the planet right now with approximately 500,000 ironman finishers walking among us. Pretty elite company. I have no illusions of sneaking onto the podium at Ironman Texas or of securing a qualifying spot for Kona and the Ironman World Championship.
What I do plan on doing however is honoring a close friend who was taken from us far, far too early. With his name on my flats and my daughter’s on my race kit I am going to race and finish every damn one of those 140.6 miles.
A long time ago I promised Dom that no matter how hairy things got out there I would always try. Never quit, never give up no matter what. Seemed like the least I could do. So after taking a little mental health break here we are once again making the same promise.
Dom, this one is for both of us. As little guys who were told all our lives we were too small, not big enough, not strong enough … I say now to those people they underestimated one thing about us egregiously.
The size of our heart.