Officially Training for Ironman 140.6

Well if you couldn’t tell already from my new blog header then I am officially making it public knowledge now — I signed up for my first 140.6 and will be competing in Ironman Lake Placid on July 23, 2017!!

ironman-lake-placidI announce this calmly now, but when I registered back in August I was a hot mess! I’ve carried the 140.6 dream deep in my heart since starting triathlon nearly four years ago. Then while training for Ironman 70.3 Ohio, I noticed how much fun I was having and I knew the time was right to think about a full Ironman. I felt challenged, inspired and so much joy as I pushed on towards my goal of 70.3. It was early August then and I was nearing the end of my training for the half Ironman. I was shocked to find myself so desperately sad that it would soon be over. I knew it was a sign that I was ready for 140.6.

I started doing research and very quickly stumbled upon Ironman Lake Placid. I was looking for a mid-summer race that had to be within driving distance of Cleveland. I also wanted my first 140.6 to be a large, iconic race and for it to be scenic and challenging. Lake Placid fit the bill for everything I was looking for. For two weeks straight I did research about the race. I read every race report and blog post about Lake Placid that I could find. I was so consumed by the idea that I could hardly sleep. Could I afford it? Could I handle the training? Would I survive the hills? Am I in over my head? Am I an idiot?

stop-thinking-about-ironmanI was legitimately obsessed and I couldn’t stop thinking about competing in Lake Placid. Finally after countless late night talks with my husband and long conversations with my friends and mom — I felt confident enough to register. The whole time I was registering I was shaking and sweating. I felt sick to my stomach, but also so excited that I wanted to scream and laugh at the same time. I was nervously laughing as I typed in my credit card information. Then I had to take some deep breathes to finally be able to hit “submit” on the screen. After I did I ran around the house laughing and screaming like a crazy person!!

(I was later told that my emotions while registering for a full Ironman were pretty common — LOL. I guess registering is one of the scariest parts!)

scared-of-itWith the excitement of my first 70.3, our 1-year wedding anniversary and a 10-day trip to Italy, I hardly had time to process everything. Then when we got back from Italy it was full marathon training time and now after a crazy few weeks I am just starting to wrap my head around everything. I have been researching training plans, coaches, prep races and everything in-between and I can feel the excitement starting to grow again.

Right now I am on week 3 of 6 for a weight training program. I’m enjoying taking some time off cardio/endurance training and having fun remembering why I fell in love with lifting weights like when I first got into fitness. It’s nice to not be obsessed with weekly mileage numbers, although I know I will be again soon!

My tentative plan is this:

  • Finish my weight training program, which will take me into November
  • In November join (another) gym and start taking an endurance spin class 2-3 days a week (this will help keep me honest in bike training over the winter). Also I’ll buy a new bike and an indoor bike trainer and start using that. (All while keeping up with regular running and workouts)
  • In December I will get back into the pool (swimming is my least favorite discipline and I wanted to take some time off after 70.3 — trust me I needed it mentally) (Still keep up with regular running and workouts)
  • In January I’ll start 29 weeks of training to get me to July 23. (Actual training plan is TBD)
  • I will throw in key training days and prep races including a (possible) spring full marathon, a few 100-mile rides, a few long brick workouts (80-mile bike and 20-mile run), one 70.3 distance and a few Olympic distances to even it all out

goal-so-bigThis summer I learned that I’m decent at hills. I wouldn’t say “I love hills”, but I would say that I think I’m pretty decent at riding them. Nothing beats the challenge of getting up a massive hill and proving to yourself that you can do it. Lake Placid has a challenging bike course, but there’s something about it that excites me. I’ve read the race reviews and honestly I’d rather have hills than riding flat. I loved Ironman 70.3 Ohio, but it was SO flat that I grew bored at times. In a few longer rides I did over the summer I knew where the hills were and my excitement and nerves grew as I neared it. To me hills help pass time. Also the swim at Lake Placid is supposed to be second to none. It’s in Mirror Lake and one race review said it’s the closest thing to swimming in a pool because the water is so clear. Not to mention the Lake Placid course in general is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL! (I’d expect nothing less of upstate New York in the Andorak Mountains!)

It’s gonna be crazy, but it’s gonna be such an amazing journey and I’m excited about the challenge. I know there will be low points as well as great high points.

Right now I am focusing on getting in great workouts, building as much muscle as possible and doing a lot of research. I’m so thankful and grateful to be able to afford to train and compete in this race. Here’s to another crazy Ironman adventure!

140-6

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4 thoughts on “Officially Training for Ironman 140.6

  1. Everything you said reminds me of registering for IM Wisconsin 2014. Hitting “submit” was terrifying, but I didn’t have much time to think about it as the race sold out in 9 minutes! It was a grueling trading year full of insecurity and self-doubt (I am a lifetime couch potato who started running and cycling in 2012 and started swimming again that year after a 25 year hiatus). If you want it bad enough, and willing to do the hours and the training, then you can do it.

    I used the “Be Iron Fit” plan and it worked well (way cheaper then a coach), but a coach is better for some athletes.

    One quick warning. Ironman training can easily take over your life and this can strain your other relationships (marital, friends, work, etc). It took me awhile to realize that I was doing something very self center and greedy. If others complain that you are shutting them out, it is likely valid. You need to make time for them. Skipping a workout to strengthen your non-Ironman relationships is more important then any brick. The Ironman divorce is a real thing. There is nothing wrong with chasing your dreams, but if you are feeling that someone isn’t being as supportive as they should, calm down and do a reality check. My wife was incredibly supportive, and it was only afterwards that I could take stock of how selfish I had been, and rebuilding took some work. My dog (my little buddy who was always a daddy’s girl became a mommy’s girl since I was just never there…she died a few months after the race and I still feel guilty that I wasn’t there enough for for during her final several months).

    OK, enough with the Debbie Downer stuff. Training for this will push you well beyond what you believe your limits to be. The journey, the training, is what makes Ironman special. The race day is simply a 140.6 mile celebration of your journey. I am looking forward to reading all about it!

  2. Thanks for the advice and support. My husband was amazingly supportive during the training for my half Ironman. He’s also an athlete himself so he “gets it” and I’m incredibly lucky and thankful. I had to do some convincing with him on the price tag of Ironman 140.6 before I signed up — but he eventually came around 🙂

    Thanks for the tips on training and Be Iron Fit, I will look into that. One of the reasons I picked a mid-summer race is so that the bulk of my training would be in April, May and June and it will hopefully clear up the rest of the summer and fall afterward the race. I’m exited and nervous, but after how well my half Ironman training and race went I am looking forward to a new challenge. I def agree with training vs. racing. The toughest part is the training – the race is just a celebration of all your hard work. Thanks again for the support!

  3. Thanks so much for the support Christy!! I’m excited and ready for the challenge 🙂

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