Three weeks out

We’re three weeks out from Iron Man Wisconsin. These next three weeks are a tapering down from the peak hours of the last few weeks, the six hour rides and three hour runs and so on*, and so this is a good opportunity to stop and take a little stock.

The simple question everyone has been asking, obviously enough, is “how’s your training going?” And the answer is “pretty good”. Followed by, in my head at least, “I hope.” I mean, I’ve been training, basically, for almost a year—first to run a marathon and now I’m seventeen weeks into a twenty-week training program specifically to train a beginner to do an Iron Man. And I’ve done pretty well in sticking to the program, with my only major gap being the missed swims and bikes from the Paris trip. And I’m definitely in better space now than I’ve ever been. But.

But I’ve never done this level of effort before so I don’t know that I’m ready. A couple of years ago I did that 18-hour adventure race, but there was a lot of standing around looking at maps and plenty of chances to stop for lunch and so on. I did the Chicago Triathlon Triple Challenge last year, but that was only 48 miles total in one day, with a little break in between. A sensible person would have done a 70.3** this year and only then moved on to a full Iron Man. But a sensible person probably wouldn’t do this at all. And I started this whole running thing at all seven years ago because I could feel the years approaching—I didn’t want to push it off until I was gasp) 44.

I’ve done one marathon ever and in this round of training haven’t passed 18 miles. And the farthest I’ve ever gone on the bike was a 90-miler we did just last weekend, still a good few miles short of the 112 we’ll be doing in the race. And that was a flat 90 (though I am glad that Shaun and I made a second trip up to Wisconsin to ride a solid loop of the race route, with zero getting lost this time). Looking back, I half-assed some of the early bike rides this year. And I’ve been doing the math a lot out on lonely training rides and I should be able to finish the whole thing in under 17 hours, but I really, really don’t want to Mike Reilly say that I’m an Ironman “in our hearts”.

Which is to say, these are all my worries. And perhaps harder than the physical training is to take these very sensible and rational concerns and address them as best I can—I mean there’s nothing I can do now about a half-assed workout two months ago—and then just set them aside and do the race as best I can.

So here, to cheer myself up, let’s run some numbers and see how much I’ve already done and how surely that translates into race preparedness:

Numbers have always helped me with my training—discovering Nike+ back when I starting training for my first marathon attempt was a huge help to keeping me on track. On the bike I’ve used Cyclemeter and now Strava.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011 combined, I ran 370 miles.
In 2012 from January to August, training to run the Triple Challenge, I ran 251 miles.
From September 2012 to February 2013, training for the New Orleans Marathon, I ran 516 miles.
From March to now, I’ve run 390 miles.

In 2012 I biked 270 miles, mostly in training for the Triple.
So far this year I’ve biked 1019 miles.

2012: 28 miles of swimming.
So far this year, 56 miles of swimming.

Yeah, those are some nice numbers. Sweet numbers, carry me away to the finish line…

* Though, “taper” means that there are still a few three hour rides left and today I still need to go run for ninety minutes. ** A “Half Ironman”—a Half is still an amazing feat, almost double the length of an Olympic Triathlon. But there’s just something about that word “half” that diminishes the event and so the Iron Man organization is sensibly trying to rebrand it as “70.3”—the cumulative mileage.