It appears that the “one and done” thing is not part of my thinking when it comes to Ironman triathlon. When I started my path toward my first Ironman I really had no idea what to expect. Would the training be hard? Would I drown? Would I have to crawl at any point during the run? Would I be able to finish the race under the 17-hour time limit? Don’t laugh, those were legitimate questions in my head.
But I took the training one day at a time, and it was manageable. I took the time to learn to swim, practiced it and built confidence in the pool and in the open water. The crawling thing? I watched athletes like Julie Moss, Sian Welch, and Wendy Ingraham on TV crawl across the finish line in Hawaii and wondered how anyone could put their body through such an effort, let alone myself. But I didn’t have to crawl or even shuffle. And I finished well under the cutoff, far exceeding my time goals and become a newly minted Ironman.
Three years passed and my group of buddies and myself signed up for Ironman number two, Ironman Lake Placid 2016. I got better, faster and more confident. It may have taken us three years to do it again, but we proved that this wasn’t a “one and done” thing.
We didn’t waste time signing up for another. For our third race, we headed south to Louisville, Kentucky the following year. With a decent day for racing, I put in my best effort and went sub-12 hours for the first time.
And last year we regrouped and headed further south to Chattanooga, Tennessee to swim, bike and run in what would be one of the hottest days I have ever raced in.
So signing up for a fifth race really wasn’t much of an effort at all. We’ve decided to head back to Louisville in 2020. It really is a great race location. The swim is fast, the bike pretty scenic and challenging, and the run is still predicted to be pretty flat and fast even after changing the course from when we last did it in 2017. The finish line is one of the loudest and best in all of Ironman. I have heard some rumors that this might be the last year for Louisville, so that was just another incentive to do it one more time. It’s going to be fun! Training begins in March, so here’s to a safe and memorable 30-weeks of training.
But the real reason I keep doing it is because of the people below. They make the journey worthwhile.
I’ve grown to love the training and experiencing the events with my buddies. That’s where the special memories get made. Without them, maybe I would have been “one and done.”