THE BEFORE & after of an ironman
This is the Story of one of my clients who actually started training with my husband, then my brother, and has now worked with me for the past three years. He is an all around athlete: swimmer, basketball players, the occasional volleyball game, and now not only a marathon runner but an IronMan finisher, which is something I cannot even imagine doing.
Why did you decide to do an IronMan?? – "I grew up swimming, and as I closed in on stepping away from competitive swimming I was looking ahead for something else to challenge myself with, and I had always thought I would like to finish an Ironman race. I mentioned this to my wife and in December 2013 she said " why don’t you do it this year?", so I looked at the schedule and picked the 2014 Challenge Penticton (swim 3.8KM, bike 180KM, run 42.2KM) race to do and finish".
What was your training schedule like?– "With the race in August, and my distaste for training outside in the winter, I started my training in the gym and the pool from January through March. I would train in the gym 2 days a week and in the pool 2 days a week. Once I was 6 months out in March I approached a local running shop to help me with my running as I knew that was my weakest discipline of the three (Swim, Bike and Run) and I joined the weekly running clinic. So starting in March I would run 3 times a week, swim 2 times a week, and bike 1-2 a week and I would also strength train in the gym 2 times a week which helped the other 3 disciplines in developing overall strength in my legs and really helped with preventing injuries. I never had to stop or slow down due to an injury during my lead up to the race. Over the 6 months leading to the race I increased the volume and intensity of my training focusing on building the distance in each of the 3 disciplines to a point where I got up to 4KM in the water, 160KM on the bike and 30KM running".
How you adjusted your diet ?– "As I increased the volume and intensity of my training I had to ensure I increased the amount of calories I ate each day. I made sure that I was properly fueled each day because I knew if I didn’t I would have a hard time keeping up with my training. So I made sure I had my 3 square meals plus ate before and after the training, as I knew I had to do it again the next day. I always had to be looking ahead to ensure I had enough fuel in my body to complete not only that days workout, but the weeks and months worth of high training volumes".
What did race day look like for you? - – "The race started at 7AM in Lake Okanagan, since the swim was going to be my strongest and easiest leg I positioned myself at the front of the pack for the start so I could avoid the thrash of arms and legs and people swimming over each other, I started off fast to get out a head and once I was in the clear I found a comfortable pace that I knew I could hold for the entire swim without killing myself for the rest of the race. I finished the 3.8KM in just under an hour which was my goal time and I was first for my age category and 3rd overall for the armatures. Into transition I quickly stripped off the wetsuit and into the cycling gear, out on the bike course starts in Penticton and heads south to Osoyoos, BC and then winds its way back to Penticton, during the days leading up to the race I actually drove the bike course in my car so I had an idea of what to expect there was to main big climbs, Richter Pass coming out of Osoyoos and Yellow Lake which is near the end of the bike coming back into Penticton. As I had crested Yellow Lake I knew it was downhill back to transition and there had been some rain on the back half of the course and I was worried about my speed coming down the hill so I was so tense that when I finally came into Penticton after a hard 178KM I relaxed just a little too much and misjudged my speed and the corner and hit the curb and flew off my bike with only 2KM left to the end of the bike. I came off the side and slid to a halt with a large case of road rash along my leg and arm, I had done some minor damage to my bike and with the help of some spectators I was able to get back on the bike and finish the last 2KM, finishing the bike course in just over 6 hours. As I went into transition from the bike to the run I really had second thoughts about if I could finish the run course which is a full marathon with my leg bleeding and having just finished over 7 hours of racing. As I came out of the transition area I saw my wife and all the other family and friends that came all that way to cheer me on, and that gave me a new sense of fight to get to the finish line. The first 10KM was a struggle, I couldn’t get any tempo going and the only thing I kept saying is just keep moving. The second 10KM was the hardest as we moved out of Penticton running south along Lake Skaha and since they closed the road for the race it was quite lonely and with only your thoughts to keep you going. As I came though the half way point of the run at 21KM my family and friends had staked out a spot to cheer. This was a big help as I was almost there. The third 10KM I finally found a good rhythm although a slow rhythm it was a good sign I could keep going. The final 10KM was my best one pace wise as I could finally believe I was going to finish and as those last 10KM ticked by on my GPS I got faster and faster. The home stretch is a long straight away and once I saw the finish line it felt like nothing else I have ever experienced, it was like I had just started the race and the last 12 hours did not happen, I sprinted though the finish line I was met by my wife and friends and family and was one of the best feelings I have had in a long time, such a sense of accomplishment finishing the run in just over 5 hours, for a total time of just over 12 hours".
What happened after the race - how you felt, what your training was like; how you felt mentally – "After the race I was sore and the house we rented had lots of stairs so that was a bit of a struggle, but I started to feel “normal” after about a week of rest, although the injuries from the crash took about a month to fully heal. After the race I took the month of September off and went on vacation and started back in the gym in October. I felt great about completing my goal of finishing my first Ironman race, and was ready to put long distance racing behind me, except…….."
When you decided and why you decided to do the Chicago Marathon - "Before I took on the race people had warned me I would get “addicted” to long distance races and that this wouldn’t be my last. In a way they were right, as I reflected on the race I was very happy with the race as a whole except I was not 100% happy with the run and in order to fix that I set my sight on doing a marathon on its own in order to put the race to bed as they say. I looked at the 2015 marathon calendar and as I mentioned before I don’t like training outside in the winter, so I looked for the fall marathons which meant I could train in the summer and fall. Of all the races in October the one that really interested me was the Chicago Marathon. It is one of the biggest ones in the world with around 45,000 runners and over a million spectators I thought if I could get into that race that would be awesome so in March of 2015 I applied to the lottery as I did not have a qualifying time to get in automatically and in April I received confirmation I got in and so the training started all over again, but this time I only had to worry about running, which was a welcome change".
Stay tuned to here how he did this past Thanks Giving Weekend!
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