What a journey leading up to this one. Back in the fall of 2014 when Jim L. prodded me (for the second time) to signing up for this event, I decided to “cease the day” and go for it. After signing up, I sent my registration email to Michael and with milliseconds he was registered as well. The three of us were In. Then came the training.
This was all of our first Ironman events and from what I understand is arguably one of the most difficult Half Ironman’s out there. After Saturday’s 7 hours and 36 minutes of racing, I think I now know why. As with any long race there is plenty of time to ponder life and just think about things. I came up with a few fun points on why this race was hard and what I prefer about Triathlons.
- I coined this race “The three H’s” which stands for Heat, Headwinds, and Hills.
- Half Ironman’s require at least 12 hours a week of training with solid work on bike/run legs (longer rides are critical)
- Coastal races are much more attractive to me now. The heat is a major factor.
- Late starts (8:50am) are No Bueno.
- M&A and Tri Training don’t mix.
The overall race took me 7 hours and 36 minutes to complete (about 45 minutes longer than my estimated time of arrival) this was largely due to underestimating the sheer intensity and climbing of the bike route. The hardest part being starting at Mile 41 (Nasty Grade), then proceeding to climb until mile 45. My legs were shot after this hill. Then some downhill, the continuous bouts of uphills until finished.
This would have been doable if it was not for the remaining 10.9 miles or run course left. The Run was an absolute monster. I walked a lot, but I finished by running the last two miles.
On this Wildflower and previous races, I have been wondering what attracts me to this sport? They are extreme challenges, robs from my family, requires missing work events and lunches, spending longs hours in solitude and is overall physically exhausting.
Here are some reasons for why I keep doing it.
- Time spent alone in training helps me work through problems in my life and is my meditation.
- Maintaining health and fitness, having a TRI on the calendar reminds, gets you out of bed on a cold morning to train.
- I have become a better leader, as leadership starts with the Individual (Dr. Wayne Strom) and have been inspired by TRI.
- The commitment of signing up, training, and following through with a challenge shows my kids that we don’t quit in life.
- We just don’t give up, beaten down, bloody, to the point of exhaustion, demonstrates true grit and tenacity, which has been a primary tenant for me in my success at work.
All these things and more translate back to life and how life can be difficult at times. We just do not give up. Its not about winning its about fighting when life throws you a curve ball. I feel strongly about why this is so important to me. There have many of these races where I have moments of pure raw emotion and I just find myself welling up to an emotional peak of happiness mixed with pure goodness. I cannot explain this feeling to anyone who has not experienced it, but on the other side of all this work and pain there is a feeling of “Life” and truly how good it is, which can only be obtained by fighting for it.