November 6, 2014

Having My Cake---and Eating it Too

I have always said I would never do a full Ironman (140.6 miles).  The idea of swimming 2.4 miles, then biking 112 miles, and then running a FULL MARATHON (26.2 miles) did not appeal to me. At all.  I have referenced this all over my blog, in various posts, and whenever I wrote that I meant it.  Whenever people would ask me why I didn't want to do a full, I'd answer that I love to swim, bike and run, but not THAT much. I likened it to a cake:  I enjoy eating a piece of cake, but the thought of eating a whole cake at once seems really unappealing.  I've done the distances before. I've done a marathon, back in 2003, and never want to run another. Although running is my passion, that's TOO much running for me.  I've biked a century (it was 106 miles, only 6 miles short of Ironman distance).  And I've done the Tiki Swim twice, both times the 2.4 mile distance. I had no interest in putting it all together.  I even remember telling someone once that even if my Ironman entry was comped, and I got free coaching, and all new gear, I still wouldn't consider it.  I simply, and truthfully, had no interest.  And it was telling to me that, after both of the half-Ironmans I have done (SuperFrog and Ironman Oceanside) I told my husband and best friend that I would never do a half-Ironman (70.3 miles) again.  If 70.3 seemed like an ungodly amount of mileage, you can imagine how 140.6 sounded to me.

Well, now I'm considering eating a whole cake.

Let me back up.

A few months ago, my friend Steena was doing Ironman Wisconsin (for the second year in a row, I might add).  Ironman puts live feeds on their website on race day, and I was on the computer watching for her on the finish line live feed. Now, I've watched these finish line live feeds quite often---whenever I have a friend doing one of these races I try to check it out.  Never before have I been pulled in.  But for some reason, on this day, watching the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin, I thought to myself "I want to do that!"  The thought sure surprised me!  I mentioned it to my husband, J, and he was not surprised at all!  He said that over the years, as he's watched me increase my distances from sprint to Olympic to half-Ironman, he's expected that one day I'd want to do a full.  I guess it's taken 4 years of me doing this sport  to wrap my head around the thought of actually doing it.

And can I do it?  I think so. I need a lot of training, obviously. There's a 17 hour time limit, and because I am so slow in swim, bike AND run, I'll be cutting it close.  But I know this---if I complete the course and don't make the time cut-off (and therefore be an official DNF--did not finish) I will still be proud of myself.

But I won't find out for a while.  Although I'm suddenly hungering for a full Ironman, I won't do it for about 5 1/2 more years. I have my eye set on Ironman Texas, 2020.

Why wait? Why 2020? And why Ironman Texas?

Well, when I train for a 70.3 race, it takes a lot of time. Obviously. I am fortunate that I don't work, so I am able to train a lot in the week while the kids are at school, but I still have to do a long run and bike (and sometimes a bike-run brick) on the weekends.  J has NEVER made me feel guilty about my time away from the kids on the weekend, and neither have the kids, but, as a mom, I feel guilt anyway.  Because for both half-Iron races I tried to train as much as possible on the course, I biked a lot on Coronado and the Silver Strand for SuperFrog, and on Camp Pendleton for Oceanside.  That meant that on top of the 3-4 hours or so of biking I was doing, I had to add on 60-90 minutes of driving time to get to and from my destination. I would be gone all morning and into the early afternoon.  Again, my FAMILY never made me feel guilty. It's me.  I know I need, and deserve, my own life and time away, but still. 

So when I think about doubling the training effort, and knowing that I will be away a lot on weekends, it makes sense to wait 5 years.  In 2020, my son, D, will be going on 16 years old. My daughter, A, will be going on 14.  It will be after her Bat Mitzvah, which will be a stressful year.  They will be both be teenagers, and while I'm sure they will still need me on weekends, I don't think they will need me in the same capacity as they do now, at ages 10 and 8.  For my own sanity and mommy-guilt, I would feel better about this.  They are only young once, and while it's unrealistic (and unhealthy) to be with them every minute, I don't want to overdo the swim/bike/run and sacrifice my time with two of the loves of my life.

Also, 2020 is the year I turn 50.  What better gift can I give myself than to do an Ironman?  Yes, waiting until 2020 makes sense.  And Texas?  Because I have a lot of family there. I have two sisters, who are my best friends. One lives in Houston (where the race is) and one lives in Dallas.  And my dad and step-mother live centrally, so it's not too far for them. If I'm going to be spending 17 hours (or hopefully less) on the course, I want everyone there cheering me on---my husband, children, father, step-mother, sisters, brothers-in-law, niece and nephews. While I don't really relish the thought of traveling to Texas for the race (and all the expense and hassle of shipping my bike, etc), having my family there to cheer me on, as we also celebrate my 50th birthday, is gold. That's priceless.

My son is very excited about me doing this.  I have two caveats---I need to make sure that my body is holding up enough to train (I'm perpetually injured) and I need to make sure my family situation is ok (we have so many medical issues in my family, so really, knock on wood)....but I'm committing right here, on my blog, that if my body and family situation hold up, I'll be competing in the 2020 Ironman Texas Ironman.  April 25, 2020. Oh---and also if my passion for triathlon holds up.  There's always that. I can't, and won't, put in the hours upon hours of training if I'm over triathlon and training by then.

In preparation, I have signed up for my third half-Ironman. I will be doing Vineman 70.3 in July! I'm very excited about this race.  It's a very popular race, and it sold out in about 7 minutes, so I'm very lucky to be registered. It's supposed to be hot---can get up to a yucky 90 degrees--but also beautiful, as the course goes through the vineyards of Sonoma County.  Unlike my first 70.3, when I felt nauseous after hitting the registration button, or my second, when I felt nervous, I have only felt excitement about this one.  Yes, the nerves will come, but I KNOW I can do the distance. While I'd love to improve my times, my main goal is to have fun and practice my nutrition for long-course racing (which I always mess up on during race day).

So, that's that.  I'm doing another 70.3 in 2015, with an eye in the future for a full Ironman.  Putting out there on the interwebs makes it seem more real.  And I know that though it seems so far off right now, the time will fly by and soon enough I'll be in the depths of training!


  1. I'm so happy that you're even giving it a good, serious thought! I really am! I smiled so big when I saw your tweet about this post! I know you can do it, I know you will train your butt off and go for it! You're going to have a ton of support!!

  2. Wow! See I read it and now I know your reasons


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