For guys like me that have a family and a regular job, committing to 140.6 is a huge decision. First and foremost, we have to make sure we have the support of family and that they understand the commitment and are onboard. Training alone will require 10-18 hrs per week. Prior to signing up, I discussed with my wife, Beth, and she agreed to be my “Crew Chief,” which is a big job. Beth is amazing and she is always there to support me for most of my wacky ideas. (I will mention that she nixed the whole idea of me someday climbing Mt Everest; yeah, she read Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”). She also knows me well, and once I got this idea into my head, I think she knew that resistance would be futile (she has already been assimilated).
November 14, 2014. That’s the date that I committed to my first full distance Ironman® event. Through a special early entry promotion, I was able to get into Ironman Arizona (IMAZ), one of the most popular 140.6 mile triathlons on the Ironman circuit. General registration slots sold out immediately when registration opened onsite just after 2014 IMAZ completed. Lucky me! My deal involved signing up for two events: 2015 IM 70.3-Silverman and 2015 IMAZ. I have completed 70.3 triathlons in the past but going for 140.6 is a whole new game.
With one stroke of the keyboard (actually, many strokes-you know this if you have ever completed one of those IM registration forms), I made a one-year commitment to attempt an endurance event that has intrigued me as long as I can remember. Swimming 2.4 miles in the open water, riding a bicycle for 112 miles, and then finishing up with a 26.2 mile run. That’s 140.6 total miles and for most amateur triathletes we are talking about 10-17 hours to complete.
By completing the 140.6 mile triathlon, I would be joining an exclusive crowd. Doing a quick google search, I estimate that only about 50,000 people worldwide complete the 140.6 triathlon on an annual basis. By comparison, according to statistics posted on runningusa.org, approximately 541,000 people completed marathons in the U.S. alone in 2013. For me, it is less about joining the 140.6 club as it is about setting a big goal and then seeing it through to completion. It is also about the adventure along the way. Although joining that club would give me some pretty cool bragging rights.
In addition to family considerations, there is also work. I still have to pay the house mortgage and my job helps me do that. So unfortunately, I won’t be pursuing my dream to become a full-time adventurer anytime soon. I’m at a place in my career where I have a fair amount of responsibility and a lot of professional demands on my time. I am a big believer in work-life balance, so I have made a conscious decision to allow myself time to pursue activities outside of work. Hopefully, I can reach that balance during this next year.
It’s been over a year since my last competitive triathlon event. I completed IM Austin 70.3 (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) in October 2013 with a respectable time of 5 hrs 44 min. I say respectable because it was only my second 70.3 race and only my fifth triathlon ever (the other three were sprint distance). I have tried to keep up a training base since then, but a rigorous work travel schedule has hindered me from getting into a regular training routine. I’m excited to get back into the training that I loved while building up to the 70.3 events that I had done in the past.
So my journey to become an “Ironman” begins. I know there will be highs and low along the way. Life has taught me to not get too high or too low and try and keep an even keel. I’ll approach this just like I do most other things in life: put my head down, work hard, and grind it out; looking up occasionally to enjoy the sights.