The last 4 weeks have been some of the most testing and rewarding of my life. Why? Because I'm training for one of the toughest sporting events in the world: the Ironman Triathlon.
It's been a 12-month journey since I attended Ironman Australia 2011 to cheer Steve Glowrey to finish his 10th Ironman. That day, May 1 2011, is the day I decided to become an Ironman. (An Ironman triathlon is a 3.8km swim, 180km bike & 42.2km run raced in that order without a break).
It's on my bucketlist
My dream to become an Ironman had been lingering in my mind and on my bucketlist for a few years. I'd followed Steve's progress and that of my EO mates Mark Moses, Kris Kaplan & Jack Daly. These guys were smashing out massive km's on the bike, the run and the pool and celebrating with Ironman finishes. The time had come for me to sign up and make my dream a reality. Ironman Australia on May 6 2012 was to be the day.
Some of those very first training sessions in mid-2011 were daunting. For example, the day I swam 20 laps (500m) of a 25m pool and felt like I was going to die! I was starting from a zero-base in both the pool and on the run. I had minimal bike fitness built from 6 months worth of occasional rides until mid 2011. I had set myself one hell of a challenge that I would question many times in the next 12 months.
Why am I doing it?
Why have I set such a huge challenge? A few reasons: 1) I love choosing goals that seem almost impossible and then testing myself to make sure they happen; 2) For the past 12 years I have been focussed on my work and career at the expense of my fitness; 3) I have set goals and tested myself many times over in my career, my journey as a business owner and in my personal life. I had never tested myself physically before. 4) A business with a great culture focusses on getting the work/life balance right for everyone. Every member of The Physio Co family is encouraged and supported to set personal goals. I'm the CEO and I'm no exception. This is the bucketlist item that I'm working on.
Jump forward to today, April 15 2012. The last 4 weeks have been the most intense and most important in my Ironman preparation. Every competitor preparing for an Ironman has to 'do the work' - the long sessions that train the body and the mind to perform on raceday. Each of the past 4 weeks has included about 18-20 hours per week of training with a majority happening on the weekends: a long swim on Friday, a long ride (followed by a short run) on Saturday and a long run on Sunday. The past 9 days have been the biggest distances by a long way. Before these last 9 days my personal records for the furthest distances I'd ever covered were: 3km in the pool, 160km on the bike and a 21km run. Here are my new records:
- Swim Record 1: April 6 - 3.5km
- Run Record 1: April 7 - 25km
- Bike Record 1: April 8 - 227km (yep, 3 records in 3 days up to here!)
- Swim Record 2: April 13 - 4km
- Run Record 2: April 14 - 30km
There are 3 weeks left until Ironman Australia 2012. My training tapers off now to give my body and mind a chance to recover from this 4-week period and prepare for doing it all together on May 6. I'm looking forward to a short period of less distance and more time mentally preparing for the race. I'm still an absolute novice (I've only completed one triathlon in my life!) and I've heard anything can happen on race day, but, I'm confident I've done the work and that in 3 weeks time I will become an Ironman. Wish me luck!