Reflections on a year of Ironman training

Wow, that happened fast.  Today is just two weeks away from my first Ironman, taking place in Boulder, Colorado on August 3rd.  Today is my last day of training, and tomorrow begins the taper, or as I’ve come to call it “taking the journey through taperlandria.” It’s been a crazy training journey with a lot of ups, few downs and a lot of miles put in with a great team.  When Hollie and I made the decision to go for it, she put it best “Why wouldn’t you?” I’ve been lucky enough to have the family fully support my efforts, and for the most part, my job has allowed me to meet my weekly training targets. Clayre even got in on the action, completing the Boulder Triathlon Club Kid’s Tri Clinic and racing in the Ironkids event prior to the Boulder Peak where she qualified for the Hy-Vee Ironkids National Championship!

In the fall, I left my local client and spent 6 months bouncing around between DC, SF, Austin, LA and a few other places.  This time really extracted a heavy toll and it wasn’t until I was able to return to my local client that I started to hit my stride.  Keeping up with your training while on the road is incredibly difficult as the time management must be a constant focus in all things.  When I was in LA, things were stable enough to allow me to leave the CAAD-10 at the hotel and I could swim at the Rose Bowl Aquatic center a few miles away. Still, this probably the hardest part of the training year and finding the balance was incredibly difficult. Landing back on a local project was a game changer.

2014 Perf Mgmt ChartOn my Performance management chart, you can clearly see in late March when I was able to start dramatically increasing consistency.  The blue line is my Chronic Training Load (CTL) which is an indication of fitness, but it has to be taken with a grain of salt.  Overall, I’m pleased with what the chart shows, but more pleased with how I feel. Returning to local work also meant I was able to spend time every week training with my team.  Tuesdays are typically the best day of the week, when we bookend the day with EK team workouts, swimming in the morning and running in the evening.  I also must give full credit to Coach EK for managing my training through everything and making sure that I was able to get to a peak 2 weeks before the race.

Training with the team has been a blast and it’s been great getting to know everyone.  I’m not sure I would have made it this far without such a great support group.  We’ve all had rough days and having people there to help push you through makes the journey that much more manageable. Spending time outside of training has been a treat as well.  From team parties, happy hours, or just grabbing breakfast after a hard swim, my team has become my people.  I was even able to help make a connection that led to one of them getting job (which she has subsequently rocked and will likely get promoted soon!)!

Before I knew it, racing season kicked into high gear. Having trained hard and learned a ton in the off-season, I’ve raced very well this year.  I’m still far from the podium, but so far I’ve been able to set PRs in every event I’ve done.  In IM Boulder 70.3, I knocked nearly 50 minutes off my time from last year!

Here’s what a year of training looks like:

  • Swimming – 157,505 yards in 59 hours, 41 minutes and 12 seconds
  • Biking – 2,876miles in 198 hours, 46 minutes and 36 seconds
  • Running – 626 miles in 96 hours, 43 minutes and 49 seconds
  • That’s nearly 15 days!!!

The Ironman

What lies ahead in two weeks will be my greatest challenge to date, but I feel prepared.  I know  things will go wrong and I’ll have to roll with them and going hard when you’re tired is just part of it.  Mentally, I’ve finally gotten myself to the point where this feels manageable.  By no means do I mean easy, but that mentally, I know the distances very intimately and all that remains is to put them all together.  I’ve done a handful of swims over race distance, even hitting 5,000 yds for the first time last week in a workout.  I’ve ridden the bike course at least 3 times and done numerous rides in the 70+ mile range.  I’ve run a marathon and several half marathons, but more importantly, I’ve gotten to the point where I run very well off the bike. Again, manageable.

I’ll be taking a few days off before to prepare and relax and a few more days after the race to recover before returning to work. Mom and dad are coming to town as well as Katie and Hannah. Rob and Luke have also talked about coming out on the course to provide support. Having friends and family on the sidelines combined with seeing all the people I have trained with out on the course, it’s going to be an amazing day.

I’m ready.  It’s go time. Let’s do this!







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