Adventure on the Horizon

Most years since I started running, September marks the end of my real training. With the Chicago Triathlon out of the way, I might do a couple of races here and there—the Bucktown 5K is fun (and yes we're doing this year's) and there are Pumpkins-in-Parks and Spooktaculars and Turkey Trots and Santa Shuffles and so on and so forth—but that's usually it. But this year I'm keeping my training rolling through the winter and I've got some exciting races coming up over the next twelve months.

Get Your Rear in Gear

Get Your Rear in Gear is a Colon Cancer Coalition fundraiser, a cause close to our hearts, and so this year Erica has formed a team. You can register for the race, or just donate, in the name of the David Reid Memorial Classic Rock Appreciation Club. The race is October 21 at Montrose Harbor—Erica will be walking it and I will be running, so you can come along with either of us.

Istanbul Marathon

First off, I have to say that we're just doing the 15K distance, but we still get to cross the Bosphorus Bridge and run on two continents. My friend Matt is working in Turkey and invited Shaun and I over to run with him. We're going over for the race and will also be doing a few days of sightseeing in Istanbul. This will be my first trip to a non-English speaking country, so that's exciting.

New Orleans Marathon, Wisconsin Ironman

So.

Somewhere in the endorphin rush of doing the Triple Triathlon a few weeks ago, it started to seem reasonable to just keep it rolling and do an Ironman. I mean, I just swam 1.7 miles, biked 43 miles, and ran 11 miles over 2 days, with a nice rest in between. So how hard could a 2.4 mile swim, 112 bike, and then a 26.2 mile marathon run be?

You want to know the weirdest motivator? Shaun got a big Ironman logo tattoo on his forearm after completing Ironman Louisville two years ago and I have to see that stupid thing all the time when we're running and swimming and such. I'd hate to have to look at it for the rest of my life without ever trying to complete one myself. And if I'm going to do an Ironman, I figure I should do a marathon first, since I've never actually completed one. So I signed up for the New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon at the end of the February.

There are two Mid-westernish Ironman races—Madison, Wisconsin and Louisville, KY. Shaun did Louisville two years ago and there a few things that make it a challenging course—the swim start is staggered, which can be bad for a slower racer like I expect to be, the bike course is rather hilly, and Kentucky can be warm in August. Wisconsin has none of those disadvantages. But it's biggest problem is that it doesn't have any problems—the race sells out very quickly every year. Past participants and volunteers get priority signing up, so I actually thought about volunteering, but it was the same weekend as a wedding ceremony I was helping perform, so that was out. But this Monday afternoon when the registration opened (the day after this year's running), I was online and got in. I say that like I was buying tickets to a concert and instantly clicked "Buy". Actually, I filled out the form right away and then dithered for an hour, talking to Erica and Shaun and my brother, trying to figure out if this was a reasonable idea. It's not just the size of the challenge—I'm confident that if I use a training schedule and stick to it, I'll be able to complete an Ironman in less than 17 hours. But that training schedule itself is part of the daunting nature of this thing. By next summer, I'm going to be spending many hours a week swimming, biking, and running. I'm going to have to start going to bed much earlier than I do these days, to be able to get up early enough to get in a run or bike before work.

But I went for it. Shaun was able to get a spot as well, which is awesome, so we can train together, which I'm sure will help keep me on track.

So one thing at a time. For now, I just need to get a habit started again of running four times a week (including the Bucktown 5K this weekend). Then in late October I'll start a marathon training plan that just happens to have a 9 mile long run on November 11. And then a marathon. And then...