July 4th – WHWL? (What Have We Learned?)

Today I learned about the pace I need to maintain in order to become an Ironman. These paces, if maintained successfully, will get me to the finish well before the 17 hour, midnight cutoff.

Swimming: I need to cover 100 meters in 2 minutes. If I can keep this pace for the full 2.4 miles, I’ll get out of the water in about 1 hour and 20/25 minutes. With 10 minutes set aside for transition, Maximus and I will set off on our 112 mile quest at around 8:35am.

Cycling: I need to average a pace of 16 miles per hour during this phase of the race. I believe this is possible because I can currently maintain 15.2 miles per hour in Manhattan. Averaging 16 miles per hour, I should be transitioning to the run in 7 hours. Giving myself 15 minutes to transition (and deal with the mental toll that this will take), I will start my marathon at 3:50pm.

Running: the lactic acid in my legs will make them feel like bricks. However, the run will be my strength. I have absolutely no idea whether I’ll get my legs to fire after 114.4 miles of racing, so I will hope to hold a 10-11 minute mile. My ultimate goal is to hold a 5 hour marathon pace. Anything faster will be an absolute dream. A 5 hour pace puts me at the finish line of Ironman Texas at 8:50pm.

That is the plan. Now I have 10 months to get myself ready. I better crack the whip and get to work.


July 3rd – WHWL (What Have We Learned?)

Today I learned that, in order to be ready for my first triathlon, I need to practice transitions. So I quickly changed after swimming 1000 meters in the pool into my cycling stuff (a dry tech shirt and some shorts – I don’t have the cool looking Tour de France type gear yet), threw on my helmet and took Maximus (that’s my bike) out for a 16 mile ride. Then, I rode my bike home and quickly changed into my running stuff.

Hopping off the bike after 16 miles and transitioning to running feels….weird. (Yes, that’s a technical term). It’s like being on sea for the day, and then hopping off the boat and walking home. It takes a few to get your land-lubber legs back.

I only ran 4.5 miles in the park – but as I covered the southern transverse of the park that I realized that I can finally handle the requirements of this form of racing. Prior to today, the individual forms of racing didn’t scare me – it was the concept of putting all three together that turned my spine yellow. Today, by going through the motions and practicing putting it all together, I came to the conclusion that I can be a triathlete. And now….all I need to do is put in the work to earn the title of Ironman.

One funny note – I stopped by my local bike store and had the mechanic give my bike the once over. He tweaked my brakes and added some air to my tires. Upon finishing, he asked me how I liked riding this bike – since he was the one that sold it to me. I said I loved it. He then asked me what the bike’s name was. I responded “Maximus”. Now let’s face it – I am NOT telling the bicycle store dude that I named my bike after the horse from the movie Tangled because that character made me laugh all movie. So I needed a more macho explanation. I thought quickly, and then added to my answer…..

“…you know….Maximus. From the movie Gladiator?”

“Oh yeah! Cool.”

The right response from Bicycle Store Dude. So, me being me, I decided to add a certain flare to the moment by embellishing juuuuust a bit…….

“…so my bike’s full name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Bike to a flat tire. Bike to a broken brake cable. And he will have his vengeance, in this race or the next.” (I did my best Russell Crowe impersonation there – and I never knew I had one to begin with). (And I don’t. At all.)

Now Bike Store Dude was laughing. “Best name all summer! That’s awesome!”

One of the keys to being a good comedian is leaving them laughing. Do you think I remembered that rule? Nope. I just had to throw another line out from the movie. Why not – I was on a role…..

“…and next Sunday, on my command, he will unleash hell.”

Bicycle Store Dude looked at me, looked at Maximus….and then the hearty laugh turned into a soft sad chuckle. “Will there be anything else? That’ll be $10 please.”

I need to quit while I’m ahead.