Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A grant for an Ironman

As my first post on the new triathlon blog, I thought I would share why I'm blogging.

Back to the beginning.... a year ago I wrote a grant to compete in an Ironman distance (2.4mi swim/112 mi bike/26.2mi run) triathlon.  I won the grant and have chosen to race Ironman Coeur d'Alene on June 28, 2015.

My background is in running, not cycling.  I wrote the grant for a few reasons.  As a runner I have gotten about as far in my sport as I can.  I finished 34th in the Boston Marathon (18th American) in 2009, I have represented the United States at the World Mountain Running Championships three times, I won the Masters World Mountain Running Championships as a 37 year old in 2013, and have finished second at the Pike's Peak Ascent twice.  I am grateful I have had a long and exciting running career, but I'm not getting any younger and probably cannot accomplish these feats anymore.  So I needed a new challenge and something different in my life to train for.  Plus, an ironman is a cool bucket list item.  It's going to be cool when I'm 50 or 60 or 70 years old to look back and say I completed an ironman.  Hence the grant was written in hopes of winning the award.

Once I found out I actually won the award (March 2014), I was like "oh crap, now I actually have to do this."  I knew I couldn't compete in the summer of 2014 because I needed more time to train.  In my grant, I wrote my goal was not to finish an ironman, but was to race an ironman - big difference.  Then I found out I had the fiscal year, until June 30, 2015 to compete and use the funds awarded.  I looked around at a few iron distance races and chose Coeur d'Alene.

I didn't start training for the triathlon until after July because I was still training for running races until then.  And I didn't own a road bike so any rides I did were on an old crappy mountain bike.  Anyone who saw me on that thing told me to buy a road bike, and I planned to, but road bikes are expensive and I wanted to make sure I got the right bike, with a good fit, at a good price.  So I rode the old mountain bike for 1-2 hours at a time with the thought that spinning my legs and being on a bike was better than not riding at all, even if it was a crappy bike.

In November I finally bought a road bike and started training a little more seriously.  The first week of February (20 weeks out) was when I started training very seriously and started following an ironman triathlon training plan.  It's now the beginning of April, I've been training for 7 weeks, and I have no idea what type of triathlon shape I'm in or if my training has been beneficial or a complete waste of time.  My cycling fitness has increased; my running fitness has definitely decreased, and I have no idea if I'm ready to race or not.

This blog was started to write down my thoughts about triathlon, training, my weeks, my ups and downs, and to share news and stories about my new life as a triathlete.