The Ironman Chattanooga Challenge started out with a challenge from me to KC to blog our way through a year of training for Ironman Chattanooga on September 28, 2014.  We knew that along the way we would be facing different scenarios that would force us to move training days and rest days.  We would skip parties, have to work late, sleep in all along the way to our own finish line.  Each of our travels there would be different and the point is to showcase that there is more than one way to get to the finish line of an Ironman. This week seems to showcase that we are built to crave a challenge.  Essentially we are looking at a challenge within a challenge.  It isn't hard enough to train for an Ironman but when it is so far away and you are Type A the difficulty grows exponentially.  We crave the challenge and this week it seems that KC and I have gone ahead and sort of accepted a new challenge on the way to Ironman Chattanooga.

KC's Week 10 - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Challenge

"Finally remember that God heals and the doctor sends the bills. Give nature every chance to do her own good work."    ~Tom Osler (1978) "One of the basic rules of health is, ‘Listen to your body.’ I am responsible for my health, and to respond to my body I must listen to it, learn from it.  ~George Sheehan (1978a) Those 2 quotes were taken from one of my favorite books, The Lore of Running, by Tim Noakes. Smart guy! Plus, he’s come around in his thinking when it comes to the conventional wisdom regarding endurance training with way too much emphasis on sugars and grains. [caption id="attachment_9329" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - ironman KC's Week 10 - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge[/caption] Those quotes hold true today as I did not do the Disney marathon. It was a hard decision to make but I knew by Friday morning there was no way I wanted to show up on Sunday and half ass it. Funny thing is, had you asked me Thursday morning if I was planning on doing the marathon, I would have said yes but then I had a little accident on Thursday afternoon, with the same foot that I have been having the nerve issues with, and that was the nail in the coffin right there. That’s when I knew, no marathon for me. So what’s a girl to do when she can’t run the marathon she’s been training for, for the last 10 weeks? She does another 100 mile bike ride. For anyone counting, that’s 2 centuries in the first 2 weeks of 2014. I’m kinda feeling a little challenge coming over me …a century a week? What the what? Is that the insane KC speaking? Why yes, yes it is and she loves this crazy challenge idea. Stay tuned to see what happens in week 3 of 2014. I plan on picking up the run slowly this week and should be back up to running speed soon, as long as I don’t pull anymore stupid human tricks while walking to my car in the parking garage at work! Easier said than done, I know. I had some fun this week. I was a guest on a really cool podcast! You should go listen to it. Not because of me, but because the 2 guys on it, Andrew and John, are awesome and are a hoot to listen to, plus you may learn a thing or two. Here is the link: http://doughboytoironman.com/2014/01/10/ironman-year-one-episode-13-coach-kc-kristie-conception-on-why-beginners-and-bopers-need-coaches-too/ That’s all I got for ya this week. Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Challenge

Week 10 of ICC is also the first week of overload training for Rocky Raccoon 50.  This week was quite the week in terms of running volume.  I hit 67 miles this week for what is easily the most miles I have ever run in a week.  It did not come with its own challenges though.  Mid-week I found myself sluggish and wondering what was happening considering I had just come off of a pull back week.  As I wrote, here, it boiled down to tracking my food and making sure that I was surrounding my workouts with carbs and then lean proteins and healthy fats for my other two meals.  Since I workout in the morning this turns out to be very advantageous for my running and recovery.  Big breakfast and then some healthy, tasty and protein rich meals the rest of the day. [caption id="attachment_9328" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - ironman - rocky raccoon First Week Of Overload For RR50 and HUGE base building for IMTN[/caption] This weekend was a breakthrough as well.  I was scheduled to run 23 miles on Saturday and 13 miles on Sunday.  Prior to registering for RR50 I had registered for the Bold In The Cold 15k which happens to be my favorite race.  This was the fourth year and I was torn about how to approach it.  Do I run prior to the race, run the race and then cool down.  Run the race then finish off the remaining 14 miles.  How would I fuel?  How would I hydrate? I took the option of running 12 miles as a warm-up first, then run the race at a steady but not fast pace and then cool down. I started at 5:15am with 12 miles and felt good.  I held a steady 8:56/mi pace with my HR at the top end of Zone 1. Perfect.  After that run I stopped and had coffee and a banana to refuel.  Walked to the start line and saw a bunch of friends.  We got in line and the gun went off.  I figured a steady 8:30/mi pace would be great to start and then drop down to 8:00/mi and negative split the race.  Well, after the first two miles and running a 7:50/mi pace I felt great and figured it was time to light the match and hang on for dear life.  Over the course of the next 7 miles I ran ~7:35/mi and finished in 11th place in my age group.  Finished off with a 2 mile cool down and 23 miles in the books. Sunday morning I went to Cedar Ridge Preserve where I ran 12 miles with 1500+ foot of climbing and cursed myself, the trail, Jeff and everything else along the way.  I was hurting big time.  I had two hours out there to contemplate what I wanted to do at RR50.  I have a 'plan' heading into the race so far but bigger than that is I think I am going to register for my next challenge. I originally thought I would be racing 70.3 Galveston in April, but with RR50 taking precedence I do not think that I can get the bike volume in that I would need to have an enjoyable and fast race.  What I will have is a HUGE running base and so the next logical thing to do is run a 100 miler.  I have the registration page open  and am ready to pull the trigger.  With running the 100 miler at the end of March I can get a couple of weeks of recovery in before entering into training for Buffalo Springs 70.3 and true IM specific training.  The next challenge is on the horizon and I think I am ready for it.

What Is Your Next Challenge?

Published in Train
Sunday, 10 November 2013 17:34

ICC (Ironman Chattanooga Challenge) - Week 1

Ironman Chattanooga is a while from now but I issued a challenge to KC of the blog 140 Point 6 Mile Journey about her and I blogging our way through the year with the finale coming on September 28, 2014.  The point was to show how hard Ironman training is when you are balancing job, family, friends and well just life.  I have had a feeling over the past few months that there is a movement to the sport and yet at the same time the lack of understanding regarding the amount of training and money that goes into this sport.  Yes, I take it seriously but when you are laying your body on the line for 8 hours to 17 hours you had better take it seriously. KC is working on Ironman number 5 and I will be working toward Ironman #4 so we are seasoned vets but that doesn't mean that it is any easier for us and that is the whole point behind this weekly series.  You will get an in-depth view into what we are doing and how we are feeling.  Was it a good week or just terrible?  Did we skip workouts or nail them all?  Did we feel compelled to get something done because we were going to blog about it or did we stay focused on our goal?  My hope is that by following this series those that are considering participating in a training cycle as well as an Ironman race they know what they are getting themselves into. ________________________________________________________________________________________ [caption id="attachment_9121" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - challenge - ironman Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - KC[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 1 - KC's Week

So I'm 8 days post Ironman Florida and feeling pretty damn good. Not much soreness, just a little mental fatigue. With that said, I kept my cardio workouts easy and short this week. I can't even think about doing anything over 2 hours right now. I have no interest at all in long workouts but this will quickly change tomorrow, as I begin an 8 week training plan for the Disney marathon. So, for the next 8 weeks, I'm using Hal Higdon's Multiple Marathons Training Program for back to back marathons. I used this last year after Ironman Florida and it was perfect. Not too much but just enough training to get me a Boston qualifying time at Disney without any injuries. I hope to better that qualifying time come January 12th.
 
As for Ironman #5, Chattanooga, not even really thinking about it too much yet, but be sure, all of these training weeks ahead, all 40+ weeks left, I will be laying down the strong groundwork and will continue to share what I am doing each week to reach that goal. 
 
Upward and onward always!
________________________________________________________________________________________ [caption id="attachment_9120" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - challenge - ironman Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Jason Volume[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 1 - Jason's Week

I am coming off of having ridden my bike for 809.75 miles in October and decided that I would focus the month of November on running with more swimming and strength training.  I have been extremely unmotivated about getting into the pool and it has shown.  I found myself crossing over as well as having a deeper pull than I am accustomed to.  My fitness is there which gives me some hope but I really need to get close to 4000-5000 yards of swimming per week in during this off-season so that when I start to do specific Ironman training I am not starting from scratch. With going to the gym to swim I might as well take the time and lift as well.  During Ironman training there is little to no strength training so I need to take advantage of the time off from specific Ironman training while I can.  This past week I went to the gym twice to do strength training and while it felt good to throw some steel plates around I cannot even describe how sore my upper body is.  I forgot about how sore you can become from lifting.  This is just a sign that I need to continue to do this so that soreness doesn't happen over and over because I stop.  Might as well throw in some core work while I am at it. The bike volume took a huge hit this week.  I just did not have the desire to sit on the trainer for an hour per evening.  I am putting together a schedule that has at least 2 days of trainer rides and a longer ride on the weekend. That brings me to today (November 10) and the long ride I had planned.  I scheduled myself for 4 hours but once I got on the bike I immediately knew I wasn't going that far.  I was cold and unmotivated.  After 30 minutes I started re-designing the route and wound up with a 2 hour ride covering 37 miles which game me just under 74 miles or what would have been a nice Saturday morning in October. So let's talk about my focus for the month and that is running.  I have been pleasantly surprised with my running in the past week.  My heart rate has been in Zone 2 or less and paces have been around 8:30/mile.  Normally that is around 9:00/mile at that heart rate.  Clearly the fitness I gained on the bike in October is paying dividends now.  On Saturday I went for a 12 mile run and wound up averaging 8:30/mile and held that pace consistent throughout the 12 miles.  The biggest problem for me on the run was the stomach cramps.  I literally used Valley Ranch and the Cowboys facility as my toilet.....take that Jerry Jones! Go GIANTS! This coming weekend for me will be a lot less training and a lot more smiling.  I am heading to Arizona to cheer on a bunch of friends including Susan Lacke as well as hanging with Emily of Run EMZ fame.

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Is On!

Published in Train
Monday, 18 November 2013 09:03

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week - 2

Welcome to Week #2 of the Ironman Chattanooga 2014 Challenge.  If you have made it this far, congratulations.  If you are just starting out be sure to check out Week 1 as well as the introductory post that explains what this challenge actually is.  For those of you who are not keen on clicking, the cliff notes version is that KC and I are both training for Ironman Chattanooga 2014.  We both have a handful of Ironman finishes under our belt but wanted to chronicle the ups and downs of training from two different perspectives. KC: Female, No Sugar/No Grain lifestyle, lives in Florida. Me: Male, Plant-Based Lifestyle, lives in Dallas. We both work full-time jobs and have lives outside of swim, bike, run but we are determined to toe the starting line in the best shape possible but that also does not mean that it comes easy.  Ironman is hard.  Ironman training is harder.

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Week 2 - KC 

[caption id="attachment_9136" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - triathlon Week 2 of Ironman Chattanooga Training for KC.[/caption] I am now 2 weeks post IMFL and have been fighting an off and on sore throat, cough, and stuffy head the whole time. It's pretty annoying. I wish it would get me already and run its course or just go away but unfortunately, it seems to want to linger. Even with a scaled back training schedule (refer to my training calendar - yes, this is scaled back for me), the cold symptoms remain. 
 
This week was my Hal Higdon, week 1 of 8, marathon training program that I mentioned in week 1's recap. I got off to a good start this week, except I had to scrap today's 1-2 hour run. I listened to my body and it said, drink some theraflu, hot tea, and take a long nap, so I did and I feel better. I did manage to sneak in a 50 mile bike ride though, yay!
Tomorrow is a new day ...and I WILL feel better!
Upward and onward!

Ironman Chattanooga Challenge - Week 2 - Jason

[caption id="attachment_9135" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training - triathlon Ironman Chattanooga Training - Week 2.
Color coded for Jeff.[/caption] As you can see from my training log I put in a total of 4 hours.  This was not an easy week for training from the simple fact that I just was traveling .  The long hours typically logged on the weekend were nearly zero because of my travels to watch this girl and the other athletes kick the crap out of Ironman Arizona and well this is what you get.  Truth be told if I tracked my running during the event along with the walking back and forth everywhere I probably put another 5 miles on my feet in the time I was down at the event. Am I disappointed in the lack of training?  Not one bit.  This is the 'off-season' so I am ok with missing workouts or not logging in as many hours or miles as I typically do.  The fact is that we have lives and not every waking moment can be consumed by triathlon, as much as we would like it to.  I have discovered that I have to make my workouts count these days.  When I was working from home I could get by with a one hour trainer ride that was sort of just getting through it, but now with limited time the workouts have to have a meaning and if I think I am just going to coast through it I do not bother. The perfect example is Wednesday's workout.  On Tuesday nights I stay up late watching Sons of Anarchy so when the alarm on Wednesday goes off at 4am if I am not jumping out of bed ready to go there is no point in getting up at all and slogging my way through a workout.  This week I had intended to go swimming that morning.  A late night coupled with 29* weather in the morning made me hit snooze and go back to bed because the idea of swimming right then and there was out of the question. I would have dreaded the drive, hated jumping in the pool and been even more mad at myself for just slogging away.  Moved the swim to the next day, got extra sleep and that evening got myself on the trainer for a solid one hour focusing on keeping a low heart rate that would not push me over the edge. I am looking forward to a more disciplined training program but for now I am doing the work I need to do and pretty soon that work will most likely involve prepping for a 50 mile run in February.
Published in Train
Monday, 16 September 2013 08:56

Challenge? I Welcome Them Especially This One

[caption id="attachment_8931" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - united states Challenge Family Comes To The US In June 2014
Source: Challenge Roth[/caption] Challenge is a word that may strike fear in some and in others bring out the best that they have to offer.  For me the word Challenge represents another triathlon company, with a tremendous following and reputation for putting on outstanding events, coming into the United States.  You know about World Triathlon Corporation and Ironman but you may not know who Challenge Family is and that is about to change. Challenge Family puts on the world's largest triathlon in Roth, Germany every year.  You read that right......the world's largest triathlon.  On July 12 there were approximately 3,500 individual starters and 650 relay teams from over 60 nations.  The size of the field isn't the only BIG part of the Challenge Roth race.  According to their website more than 200,000 spectators were along the course.  That is just a tremendous amount of people cheering you on and throw in the fact that Challenge Roth is fast and you have the makings for an incredible event. Let us compare the size of 3,500 individuals at Challenge Roth to Ironman and other 140.6 races in the United States:
  • Ironman Texas 2013: 2055 finishers with a 17% DNF rate which would bring the total to 2,475 at the start line
  • Rev3 Cedar Point: 288 athletes in the 140.6 event
  • HITS Championship 2012: 58 finishers in the 140.6 event
[caption id="attachment_8935" align="alignright" width="276"]challenge - triathlon - united states - roth Challenge Roth. Imagine riding through a crowd like that.
Source: Challenge Roth[/caption] As you can see the 3,500 individual racers at Challenge Roth dwarfs all others including Ironman.  The reason that I am bringing up Challenge and their races is that they are here in North America and have been building the excitement for an announcement regarding their first United States race.  This race is to take place in 2014 in June in the Mid-Atlantic region. To date the following areas have been eliminated:
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • New York City, NY
  • Hilton Head, SC
  • Behoboth Beach, MD
Not too much left when it comes to cities big enough to host the event but I am staking my claim to OBX in North Carolina.  There have been guesses that Ocean City, Maryland is another place to have it but in June I am not sure how the tourist faction would play there.  The same can be said for OBX but I am sticking to my guns. One of the main reasons that I am excited about this race coming to the United States in 2014 and hopefully beyond is that the Mid-Atlantic region in June is going to be hot and depending on where the race is held it will be flat as well.  If I could design a race course that fits my abilities those two ingredients would certainly be in the recipe. If you are wondering when the announcement will be made you will not have to wait much longer.  The race location will be announced on September 18.  I am not sure if there will be a rush to register like there is for Ironman branded triathlons but the cost could make it a race where people turn to, especially after missing out on Ironman Chattanooga.  The cost will be $575 for individuals and $625 for relays. With my commitment to Ironman Chattanooga I will not be able to race the inaugural event being held by Challenge Family but there is a 70.3 that is being raced in North America in July that might fit the race schedule.  Challenge has announced that they will be hosting their first half distance triathlon in North America to be held on July 6, 2014 in New Brunswick, Canada.  After speaking with Mandy of Caratunk Girl I have done a little research and it seems like the perfect location to host a race. [caption id="attachment_8932" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - united states - canada Challenge St. Andrews In July 2014
Source: Challenge Roth[/caption] The landscape of triathlon, especially long course, is changing and the penetration of Challenge Family into the United States is expediting that change.  I, for one, am excited to see Challenge enter the US market and provide long course triathletes with another option where the look and feel will be similar to that of Ironman with the number of expected participants and the pomp and circumstance that accompanies both race series.

Is Challenge USA A Race You Would Enter Considering Time And Location?

Published in Race
September is going to be the month of multiple challenges for me.  This past week I have travelled from Dallas to Charlotte to Wichita Falls to Tulsa and am back home for a while and during that time I had an opportunity to see my eating habits from the outside.  While it was fairly healthy there was also a very fair share of added sugar.  I also spoke with my buddy Jeff quite a bit as he embarked on what many will consider a crazy weekend.  From the moment that we raced Hotter 'N Hell Hundred Jeff set off on a 400+ mile cycling WEEK, which included 150 miles in one day.  Yes, I was inspired and so I am going to embark on three challenges this month that should jump-start me on my way to Ironman Number 4, whichever race that may be. [caption id="attachment_8882" align="alignright" width="300"]september challenge - sugar - detox Source: Healthy Pair[/caption]

September Challenge #1

Sugar Detox.  Back in June I went through a month-long sugar detox thanks to Amy and Sarah.  Their 21 Day Sugar detox was a tremendous lift for me after Ironman Texas was finished and I knew that I wasn't going to be putting in multiple daily training sessions or working as hard so I wanted to keep my diet under control. With all the traveling and eating out there was a less restrictive diet than normal and my weight and body fat percentage went in the wrong direction and now is the time to take control of that.  Going  on the sugar detox will not be difficult but when I couple it with the September Challenge #2 and #3. The sugar detox challenge is no added sugar of any kind which means reading labels.  I am also going to ban honey (my oh my!), syrup, molasses and agave.  Getting the sugar and the dependency on sugar out of my system is going to help me in terms of my fitness and allow me to also sleep like baby. [caption id="attachment_8881" align="alignright" width="180"]september challenge - eating - five ingredients - cooking Source: The Wicked Noodle[/caption]

September Challenge #2

The second September challenge I am putting together for myself is 5 Ingredient meals.  I have been toying with this idea for a while, but with the sugar detox happening I thought now would be a good time to implement this challenge as well.  The premise is simple and it is that I can only use 5 ingredients to make a meal.   Ingredients will not include water, spices, or herbs.  They will include hot sauce or sriracha so if I want a bowl of Asian inspired soup then I had better make it with 4 ingredients and pour in the sriracha or make Habanero peppers one of the ingredients. This will be a fun challenge as I will get to see how well I can combine flavors and textures while also exploring various cuisines.  I do not want to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day so really digging into my culinary imagination is going to be a key to this challenge. [caption id="attachment_8880" align="alignright" width="300"]september challenge - cycling - riding - triathlon - training Source: Nesta[/caption]

September Challenge #3

The third of the September challenge trio is going to be riding my bike 650 miles or more this month.  Based on what Jeff did in a week this should be somewhat easy to accomplish and as I am nearing 650 miles and have any time left I will change the mileage.  I chose 650 miles because it averages out to about 21-22 miles per day over 30 days or about an hour of riding per day.  What is going to make this a bit challenging is that no trainer rides can be counted for the mileage.  I have to accomplish all the miles in the great outdoors. I currently have 47.3 miles on the bike as of today (September 3rd) with 40 miles planned for Friday, 80 on Saturday and another 80 on Sunday giving me nearly 250 miles in less than a week.  Maybe I should change that number to 1000? These are the trio of September Challenges and I know that I have Amy and Sarah for motivation for the sugar detox. Maria will be monitoring the cycling through Training Peaks logs and I will be my own policeman for the 5 ingredient challenge. That begs the question:

Which September Challenge Are You Joining Me On And How Can I Help You?

Published in Race
Cycle September is something I came up with after my buddy Jeff Irvin decided to ride approximate 440 miles in one week.  Was that the smartest thing he could have done?  Not a chance but it taught him a valuable lesson and that is that it is possible to do.  As endurance athletes we are always chasing the question:  What if?  What if I went this way?  What if I ate this?  What if I drank that?  What if my bike wasn't as heavy?  What if, what if, what if?  In asking that question Jeff pushed himself and came out the other side a stronger cyclist for Ironman Florida coming up in November. Right now I am still in the no training plan, training plan so I am coming up with challenges to keep me engaged.  I am a self-motivated person but when you are chasing that carrot that ride on a Wednesday evening in the 100* weather takes on more meaning and you are less likely to skip it.  With Jeff's feat in mind I set my goals out for September, in this blog post, one of which was to cycle 650 miles in the month.  The miles had to all be outdoors as no trainer rides or spin classes would count.  This was going to be a big test for me because if I don't want to do it what do I lose? Nothing.  This would be a game of mental strength to see if I could hit those goals. There are a couple of things that would prevent me from hitting 20+ miles per day (on average) and so I have to plan accordingly.  First off, we will have my step-son for two of the four weekends and Karen runs on Saturday mornings.  This means I can start my ride at 11am in the sweltering heat or just go for a one hour run as a recovery run and skip the bike.  If I do that then I am only putting in 65-80 miles on a weekend when we have Chico.  The other factor is that it is HOT  here in Texas in September.  I mean sweltering hot so if I don't get out early I will not get out for a 'long' ride.  Since I take Chico to school at 7am then the morning ride it out.  Factoring these items into my, so-called, plan I would have to get 200+ miles during two of the four weeks and then another 100-200 during the other two weeks. The first week resulted in 216.5 miles or approximately 1/3 of the goal miles and that is a great way to start but more importantly a few things have happened along the way and I am thrilled about those lessons more than the miles.

Cycle September Lessons

  1. My bike handling has gotten tremendously better in one week.  I am now cornering in the aero position rather than sitting up and applying a gentle squeeze to the brakes.  I am taking more risks on the turns than I have before and I have come away better for it.
  2. Instead of getting weaker in terms of being tired I am noticing that I am stronger today than I was one week ago.  I have undergone a regiment of 10 to 15 minutes each night of either foam rolling or using the stick and that seems to aid tremendously in my recovery.
  3. I am also on a No Sugar Added challenge this month and I have been drinking nothing but water on my long rides and this has helped me to use fat for fuel.  My Body Fat % has gone from 10.5%-11.0% down to 9.6% as of today.  My weight is also down 2.4 pounds.
  4. I am a liquid nutrition rider.  I have taken nuts and dates on my two long rides this past weekend and consumed a total of one date while riding.  This obviously is not a great way to get through a long ride but I forget about the food in my jersey and thus have to come up with a way to get calories into my system without added sugar while riding.
  5. Soccer Moms in mini-vans are worse drivers than 18-year-old boys in Mustangs.  For whatever reason the soccer moms like to get really close to me and yet the Mustangs/Muscle Cars give me plenty of room.  By the way, if I can spit and hit your car while I am riding you are driving too close.
  6. I can spit to my left while riding with no problems, but spitting to my right and I am covered in saliva.
  7. My tan lines are ridiculous.  There are three shades of tan on my arms and now on my legs too.  I started this challenge with the typical bike short tan line but have now added the compression sock tan line and my knee caps are brown, my calves are tan and my quads are white.
  8. Riding around the airport makes me happy.  It is 4 miles on open road with planes flying directly overhead.  In the past two days I have seen 1 British Airways, 2 American Airlines and 1 UPS plane touch down and it was more amazing each time.
  9. 18 wheelers on the airport road love when I race them.  They let me keep the lead for about .25 to .5 of a mile then smoke me and blow their horn when they pass and it is a great way to get interval work in.
  10. My base when I start training for the 2014 Triathlon Season, which will most likely include 70.3 Galveston, 70.3 Buffalo Springs and Ironman Chattanooga, is going to be sky-high.  That makes me happier than a pig in mud.
Here are some of the maps from the Cycle September Challenge from the past few days. [caption id="attachment_8900" align="aligncenter" width="280"]cycle september - challenge - triathlon You Could Say This Has Been A Bike Intensive Week[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8901" align="aligncenter" width="300"]cycle september - challenge - triathlon Sunday Morning Takes Me Out Into The Country That Is Texas[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8902" align="aligncenter" width="300"]cycle september - challenge - triathlon Riding The Airport Brings A Huge Smile To My Face[/caption]   What Are You Challenging Yourself To Do This Month?  
Published in Train
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:49

Are You An Ironman?

[caption id="attachment_6503" align="alignright" width="275"]ironman_revolution3_triathlon Source: Train2Race[/caption] Are you an Ironman? That seems to be a rather simple question right? You either went 140.6 miles or you didn't, but it really isn't that simple. Recently I was asked if you can get the M-Dot tattoo only if you have done a WTC race. My first inclination was that the distance was the distance but the more I think about this the more I am certain that you should only get an M-Dot tattoo if you do a WTC event. Where did this revelation come from? It started with my race at Rev3 Maine at the end of August. I absolutely loved the venue as it was the 2nd best place I have raced the 70.3 distance. Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico is still #1 in that realm followed by Maine and then Ironman 70.3 California and finally 70.3 Austin. So we can say that the place was terrific but let's dig deeper than that. How about the race itself? The race was a gorgeous course, but shouldn't that be expected? I mean they are not going to schedule a 70.3 race through a run down downtown city that has abandoned buildings and the dregs of society on every street corner. So let's not go over board here in that the course was just unbeatable and unlike any other. It was very pretty but I wouldn't say it was better or worse than the other 70.3 races I have done. The on course support. Here is where it is much different. At the 3 WTC events I did I saw SAG vehicles everywhere as well as plenty of referees on the course to do what they can to keep the race clean. Of course not every act of drafting is going to get caught so please hold your argument that you see tons of drafting at WTC events. I saw plenty of it at Maine and there were only 444 athletes in the 70.3 race. And this brings me to the next point about Rev3 and why I think that if you do a 140.6 race that is not WTC sanctioned that getting the M-Dot tattoo or calling yourself an Ironman makes no sense. 444 athletes or what the WTC typically has in the M35-39 Age Group. There are claims that there were 1200 athletes at Maine, and while that may be true 2/3 of them raced the Olympic. Now my point about the 140.6 distance is this. The Ironman race starts with 2000-2500 athletes all going at the same time. There is something about having to battle your way through that many athletes in the swim then get through transition where there are hundreds of people in the changing tent, then fight them on the bike and blow past them on the run that makes the Ironman event an Ironman event. When there are only 450 participants there is no battle for space. You have all the space you need. The claims that Ironman races are so tight and there is no space are true and that is because there are 2500 people there, not 450. I don't know how many participate in the HITS series but I know for sure that it isn't 2500 and there in lies the difference between Ironman and the others. People love the bash WTC and the mistakes they have made with some of their races. It happens. It is a business run by human beings and last I checked human beings still make mistakes. Don't believe me? How about Rev3 not having a single thing to eat after the Maine race for a vegetarian? Mistake? I would think so. How about the fact that the gentleman at the lobster cookout told me I could buy water? Probably a mistake as well since Rev3 should have had water for the participants away from the finish line so that there weren't athletes walking back and forth into the finish area. There is also this, from the Rev3 Facebook page:

We apologize for the embarrassing mix up on your hard earned finisher medals :(. we are working on the solution now and we will email all of the Full athletes with details about the solution very soon. We just have to pack up these trucks first!

Had this been the WTC there would have been a barrage of social media posts as to what a crass organization the WTC is and how they don't care about their athletes. Listen, a mistake was made and Rev3 is fixing it and that is great. On the other hand let's not pretend like the WTC wouldn't do the same, but then again we don't know that because the WTC has not had this type of error since I have been racing. See everybody screws up at some point, and then that brings me to the next point.

With the news that WTC cancelled IMNYC the barrage of tweets and Facebook posts was crazy. WTC noticed the error in their ways, whether it was for profit sake or not, they noticed it and pulled the event. Smart move in my opinion and much better than trying to half-ass the event. If people think that the WTC is so rotten how come races sell out in minutes and new races are popping up all over the place? Just this year they announced a 70.3 Raleigh and I for one am ready to head to North Carolina and race.

Ironman Wisconsin sold out in minutes and Ironman Lake Placid just recently sold out as well. This is the pre-eminent racing circuit for long course racing and that much cannot be argues. Yeah there is Challenge and there are new series like Rev3 and HITS that are just getting started but if it weren't for WTC and its popularity there probably would not be another race series out there. This is what Ironman brings to the sport. When people think of triathlon they think Hawaii/Kona and not Cedar Point or Hunter Mountain. They don't ask about whether or not you are going to be on TV at the Challenge Roth or Redman. They ask when they will see you on TV in. Hawaii, whether they know you have to be the best in the world or not. Ironman is synonymous with triathlon. There are people out there that love Rev3, HITS, Challenge, etc and that is all fine and dandy. Support them and be behind them 100% for whatever reason but please just stop telling me how great the organization is and how poor of an organization WTC is, because it isn't. It is the only organization that you can qualify for the Ironman World Championships at and is the only organization, in my mind, in which you can call yourselves an Ironman.
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