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Or rather, continues.

Training for the 2017 Ironman Louisville really began early last year, in 2016. Having just finished a PR marathon in October of 2015, I felt like Marathons weren’t my future. I was running in pain from extensive run-only training, and I felt like a new challenge was needed.

Thankfully, or regrettably, my neighbor had finished his second Ironman the week before running the Columbus Marathon with me, and had taught me enough about what it takes to train for an Ironman. It sounded daunting, to say the least. A 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, THEN a full marathon. What an insane way to spend a day!

Knowing that kind of event would take much more than nine months to train for, my neighbor and I signed up for the first 70.3 Ironman ever in Ohio. That sounded a little more tolerable – half of everything that a full Ironman inflicts.

The week after the 70.3 Ohio Ironman, I felt like a woman who had just given birth. I swore I would never do that again. But it wasn’t long before I was obsessed with how I could do better if I did it again.

 

When Training Begins

By October 2016, a year before the actual Ironman, I began planning for the big one. A full 140.6. That planning consisted of working out almost as if I was already doing a training program. The fear of unbearable pain on the day of the race was, and still is, motivation to do something every day – even if that something is just to plan for the next workout.

Now it’s March, 2017, and I’m realizing I don’t know when to actually start a training plan. If you start too early, you can burn out your body and mind. If you start late, workouts are punishing and grueling and no fun at all. There are sooo many sources for actual training programs, but nothing I can find about how to build up to it.

 

There is also a much greater financial investment than I was expecting. The race itself is over $800 to register. I will need at least 2 pairs of running shoes for the duration of the training period. Swim trunks wear out, and swim accessories are like owning a Barbie doll – goggles, ear plugs, paddles, heart rate monitor that works underwater, tri-watch for tracking swims, and runs and bike rides, a wetsuit for open water swims… not to mention the nutrition needs.

But it’s all incredibly engaging. It absorbs each day, both literally by planning the day, and emotionally, being driven by the prospect of the Big Day being an impossibly painful one if the training isn’t done right.

 

The Daily Grind, Captured

I’m not sure I’ll ever do another Ironman, so I want to record my training for this one as best I can. My goal is to post notes about what it’s like to train for 6 months, two times a day 6 days a week (there’s a recovery workout on that seventh). Those long runs, rides and swims provide a lot of time to reflect, and I’m sure there will be some profound thoughts. It might also be really boring.

This isn’t by any means a way of bragging. The things I’ll be doing, most anyone could do if they wanted to. For some reason, I want to. Hopefully along the way I’ll realize why.