I want to be an Ironman and stay married

But I waaaaannnnnaaaaa!  I really really want to do and be an Ironman!

What's an Ironman? 

  • Swim 3.8km (2.4 miles) in less than 2h20min
  • Bike 180km (112 miles) in less than 10h30min
  • Run 42.2km (26.2 miles) a marathon 
  • Finish all of this in less than 17 hours or else you get a DNF (did not finish).  The race starts around 7 a.m. for age group non-pros like me but can take half an hour for everyone to actually start because there are so many athletes and the cutoff is around midnight.  Doesn't this sound like FUN!!!???  (To me, yes).

I have spent years preparing for this.  I know I can do this.  I want to do this.  I have a plan. I'm ready.

  • 2010 - learned to run
  • 2011 - first half marathon
  • 2013 - first marathon
  • 2014 - first 50K ultra marathon, volunteered at the finish line of Ironman Calgary 70.3 and was Ironstruck!
  • 2015 - first triathlon.  Biked and ran on a relay team.  Keith was my swimmer. race recap. 
  • 2016 - swam on a relay team.  Antje was my biker.  Jen was my runner. race recap.
  • 2017 - Ironman Calgary IMYYC - the half 70.3 solo in July
  • 2018 - Ironman Arizona IMAZ - THE FULL in November.  But wait.  A change in plans, now I'm considering it in 2017.

I'm ready and I really want to.

  • I'm feeling good and solid about my half iron training especially after riding 100Km+ solo on the bike course in good time last weekend.  My half iron is in one month at the end of July.  Doing a FULL Ironman 3-4 months after a half is fine and enough time to train.   IMAZ is at the end of November.  4 months later.  Fine.  I have a solid base and enough time.  I'm ready.  I have a plan for post-race recovery.  
  • I have given this lots of thought:  I want to, I can, I am already putting in the hours, I have the (second-hand) gear (carbon road bike with aerobars and wetsuit), I just worry about my husband.  I am looking into joining the 3433 Triathlon club where I swim at Repsol Sport Center for training and coaching or a more affordable option to rely on friends who have done this before and online plans.  I know it will be hard work and I am more than willing to put in the work.  The reward will be worth it.
  • At least four friends who have done the full Ironman have told me to get a coach if only to train less.  It's typical to overtrain.  Having a coach can target your training specifically with focussed sessions.  Some friends spent more hours training for a half on their own than training for a full with a coach.  Hubby might be happy to hear that.  

Why Ironman Arizona?
I looked into the four closest full Ironman races to me:  Boulder, Whistler, Coeur D'Alene, Arizona.

  • Boulder is popular but I don't know anyone there, have never been there and it's unlikely anyone I know would be there to support me or cheer me on.  
  • Coeur D'Alene just announced they are discontinuing the full after 2017.  
  • Whistler.  It's in Canada.  No passport required.  I could drive there with my bike.  I attended an information session last week on Whistler and feel the hilly bike course elevation is too challenging for me at this time, along with black bears charging participants on the course and cub deaths and cold (I heard 3 degrees C) on race morning.  
  • So that leaves Arizona.  It was really the first place I considered and my first choice.  I have been there before, it's beautiful, and I can stay with family, though perhaps only this year. In a few weeks, I am meeting up with a friend who has raced Arizona a few times before to get his perspective.  The only concerns I have with the location and date are the water quality of Tempe Town lake and the fact that training for a race that late in the year could be challenging for me as it gets cold and dark here in Calgary and I get the winter blues early.  On the other hand, it's popular, lots of people do it, I'll wear a nose plug to avoid getting a brain-eating amoeba while swimming and the training could hopefully stave off the winter blues.  

Wait - isn't it sold out???  
Not quite.

  • General entry for IMAZ sold out online in the first hour.  It's the most popular urban Ironman race in North America.  
  • To my surprise, I just learned about other options to get in via the Ironman Foundation IMF:
  • 1.  IMF Option one is to pay double the race fee with half of my money going back to local charities.  This is not tax deductible for me as a Canadian.  I checked.   I will likely go this route and try to sell some of my "things" to help offset the huge financial cost of this race, which I will pay for out of my "allowance."  
  • 2.  IMF Option two is to fundraise four times the race fee and pay nothing myself, while begging everyone I know for money.  I won't be doing this.  

My only remaining challenge is getting my husband to support me.  Not financially.  I can't do this without him agreeing to support me without too much grumbling or resentment while I train for dozens of hours per week on top of working full time. Should I ask him about this plan after a bunch of martinis?  The race is close to my birthday.  If he says yes, I promise I wouldn't need or want another birthday present ever for the rest of my life.

Sherpas and triathletes, what are your recommendations to minimize the effect of training on your family?  Please comment, DM, text or email me.

Here are some of the things I am already doing to find time, and balance work, life and training:

  1. Get up at 4:15 to swim at the pool before work.
  2. Get up at 5:15 and bike commute 12 km each way back and forth to work, adding a loop on the way home to add distance.  
  3. Long bike ride on the weekend.  This is the tough one for hubby to cope with, especially if there is group socializing that prolongs my outing / delays my arrival back home. Try to limit/reduce/say no to socializing.  I do make a point of visiting my family on the weekends and often it's after my long ride because they live close to the race route. I think that counts as effective multitasking.  My family is very important to me too. 
  4. Run on my lunch hour.  There is a posh, hilly community close to my office where I can run hills and stairs or go flat.  
  5. Run commute for long runs.  Run home after work and take the long way.  This frees up some time on the weekend.
  6. Open water swims.  Lakes in Calgary are all private except for Sikome which just started charging a fee to improve their filtration system.  I joined a Facebook group to get in on lake swims with local residents.  June, July, August are warm enough to swim in the lakes. 
  7. I have even biked to the pool before work, swam, worked, run at lunch and biked home.
  8. Meal prep.  Every Sunday I make up 5 containers each of grab and go snacks for workweek lunches and snacks including: hard boiled eggs, nuts (peanuts and almonds), dates, yogurt, gluten-free granola, bell peppers, celery, apples, banana, vitamins.  Then I take leftovers from the dinner the night before as my entree.  So far, so good.
  9. Work on my bike(s) with my hubby.  He is an awesome bike mechanic and is teaching me.
  10. Mountain bike with my hubby.  Fun if and when we can get away and he is feeling up to it.
  11. Do laundry and houseclean on the weekend (or on Thursday night if the baskets are already full and the weekend will be too busy).
  12. Clean the litter boxes every morning (5 cats).
  13. Collect and take the garbage and recycling out the night before garbage day.
  14. Fill/empty the dishwasher when making breakfast/dinner
  15. Make dinner on the weekend (so hard for me because I hate cooking and because hubby is particular)
  16. Feed the cats in the morning and before bed.  Hubby does it during the day.
  17. Make time for hubby.  Very important.  How?
  • Have morning coffee in the backyard on days off.  
  • Go camping.  
  • Go for walks after dinner.  
  • Hang out and watch TV together.  
  • Visit our families together
  • Cut the grass while he makes dinner (so I don't have to make dinner) :)
  • Try not to be tired and complain about aches, pain or stress.  This is my choice.
  • Cut hubby's hair every 3 weeks
  • Help with home renos
  • Try to be the best wife ever.  #BWE

I have a dream.  I have a community behind me.  I believe in myself.  I have a dreamcatcher with a copper bead in it for Arizona.  Please let the universe come together to get me to the start line.  I'll do the rest.  


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