Ironman Coeur d’Alene is now less than five weeks away and as much as I try to avoid it, I’ve gotten a little obsessive about the upcoming race.
A friend of mine posed the question if one could just do Ironman for fun. And, unless you are independently wealthy, I think the answer is no. I think if you are going to do a race for ‘fun,’ it really means that you are doing the race on a whim. For the average Ironman racer, you have to sign up close to a year and then in order to get yourself to the finish line in under 17 hours, you have to put in some training. Even if you are in the back of the pack, I think you are racing for more than just fun, whether it is reaching for a PR or to prove that you can do it. Racing Ironman can get extremely personal and there are some incredible stories out there.
So, indulge me for a bit and let me obsess. Going over my 13th place finish last year, I’ve looked at all the numbers over and over so I am very familiar with what it will take to reach the goals I have for myself this year. It’s funny, because the transitions give me the most anxiety of all.
I’m a bit of a dawdler and I’m clumsy. These are not character traits you want as a triathlete as they have always made my transition times have always been slow. Even as I’ve edited my process down to the bare minimum, I’m still as fast as molasses.
Last year, I raced Ironman to finish and to do the best I could. I was surprised I finished so well in my age group which was just icing on the cake. My transition approach was to be quick, but to take action needed to stay comfortable throughout the day. That meant using the porty-potty, reapplying sunscreen, wiping the crusted sweat off my face, putting on clean socks and powdering my toes to avoid blisters. TICK. TOCK.
My recent realization is that had I simplified my transitions, I would have actually been 12th!! That’s right. In a race that is hours and hours long, I lost a placing to my poky transition process.
I will not let that happen this year! Any clever suggestions to make this process faster for me are more than welcome and appreciated. (An all-day, sweatproof, waterproof, lanolin-free sunscreen??) I kind of wish Kevin didn’t have a zoom lens for his camera, because its not going to to be pretty and I will not be racing to look good in photos. When I cut out the creature comforts, I might look like a 3-year old toddler after a long day—ratty hair, caked snot under my nostrils, a sports drink mustache in the corners and on the upper lip of my mouth, and temples crusted with sweated-out salt mixed with dirt. Hot. It’s amazing that I’m not single, right? Ironman is definitely not a hygienic sport.
But no matter what happens on race day, I guarantee I will have a giant grin on my face when I cross that finish line and hopefully hear my name followed by ‘YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!’