It's a Long Road
I’ve turned down a different fitness path this year and after 70.3 miles, I’ll only be half-way there. Just over seventy miles is the total distance of a Half Ironman. That’s right, a full Ironman triathlon is 140.6 miles and the number one fitness goal for me this year.
Through a few friends and a few inspiring individuals, I got the bug to go after an Ironman, an endurance race that is the pinnacle of triathlons. I’m not sure what it was that drew me to a triathlon specifically, because I have never done anything even remotely similar. Although comfortable in the water, from surfing to swimming, I have never swum in any type of sport or competition. I have never ridden a road bike, not even once, and would curse the idea of wearing tight shorts and funny shoes. I was a decent runner in my day but hadn’t done so since my days in the Marine Corps, more than a decade ago. So, to say I have little experience as a triathlete would be a massive understatement. I have none. It would be the equivalent of saying you have experience as a racecar driver because you have a license. So, why be so hell-bent about becoming an Ironman? The pain, of course.
I haven’t pushed myself in awhile. I haven’t competed in anything in a few years. To be honest, this past year or so has been a pretty cushy life. It’s been great, but if we aren’t growing were dying, and I can feel it. As I continued to try and learn and grow, I neglected the one thing I have had a handle on for quite some time. Ok, neglected is a bit harsh. Physically, I had become complacent. For me, that’s not ok. I wanted to find something that was going to cause me to go beyond the comfort levels I have become used to. I wanted something that was going to push me more than anything I have done in the past either. A 140-mile race seemed just like the place to do it.
The Ironman Challenge
If you are unfamiliar with an Ironman, it is an endurance triathlon consisting of a long open-water swim, an even longer bike ride, followed by a marathon. Yes, a full marathon. The distances are intimidating to the point that just reading about them starts the mental conditioning process. 2.4 miles in open water, 112 miles on 2 wheels, and then 26.2 miles to the finish line. The closest thing I have done to this is an event I participated in at my local gym a few weeks ago. An indoor timed triathlon where you gave your all for 10 minutes in the water, 30 min on the bike, and 20 minutes on the treadmill. To try and put this in perspective for you, the world record time for an Ironman is 7:40:33, and only a handful of athletes have broken the 8-hour barrier. That puts the average triathlete in the grueling 10 to 12-hour range.
My philosophy has always been to go “all in” and take drastic steps to commit yourself to whatever is you want to achieve. So, two months ago I made a public declaration that I was not only going to finish an Ironman, but I was going to be someone to watch while doing it. That may be a bold statement from someone who hasn’t even run a half marathon before, let alone something as difficult as an Ironman. But if you have ever taken one of my courses or heard one of my talks on next-step intentions, this is a perfect example. My intentions to finish an Ironman are all but guaranteed by taking my intentions one step further and aiming for a time better than the average triathlete. Whatever it is you want to achieve, ask yourself what the next step is. What would one more step look like? Whatever that might be, set your intentions there.
I’ve gone “all in” on this intention. My first race will be a Half Ironman at the Florida 70.3 in Haines City just minutes from my hometown on April 19th. Registered, entry fees paid, tickets booked, just waiting on the t-shirt. We’re committed. My wife and I both are fully invested, not just financially, but in time and effort as well. We’ve added to our home gym to make a full training center, complete with an aero road bike, Wahoo KICKR, treadmill, and recovery ice bath. I swim three to four times a week at the gym across the street and I follow a detailed training program for the Ironman triathlon. We know for this to happen we must set the right intentions, take massive action, and fully support each other along the way. I’m lucky to have her as a partner and coach.
No Pressure Just Purpose
This is just the first step towards the full 140.6-mile Ironman. This will undoubtedly be a long journey this year and one that I’m looking forward to. Find something that makes you uncomfortable, something that’s painful, something that may even seem irrational. Find something that makes you take a look inside and ask yourself, “Why?” Set your intentions and one step beyond, take massive action and achieve them, or don’t… whatever.