April 15th, 2007 Tempe, Arizona

In the Beginning

For years, I have always looked at Ironman from afar. It seemed to me that the event was a feat requiring super-human strength and endurance. I had never thought it possible for an average joe, such as myself, to embark on such a journey. Though after some small successes in running competitively and witnessing the effects of proper training, I decided to embark upon the journey myself... the journey to become an Ironman.

One reason for Ironman appearing so daunting to me was that the race begins with a 2.4 mile swim. I grew up land-locked, far from the water. Swimming was not even an option as a sport when growing up. It wasn't ever a matter of me finishing the swim in any amount of time, I was only concerned with finishing at all (ie, drowning).

So my first hurdle was to begin swimming. I added swimming to my weekly training schedule sometime in 2004. I had just raced the Boston marathon and knew that I want to shift some of my training focus to triathlon. I swam on my own for a year, reading and watching as much as I could.

After some time off from running, due to injuries, I was finally able to knock out a marathon PR at the end of 2005. This was 25 seconds off my goal "A" race (sub-2:50), so I then decided it was time plan long-term. I knew that I wanted to race Ironman Arizona. It is close enough to me so that I could drive there for the race (and possibly training). I would not have to pack and ship my bike. And the climate is very similar to the conditions that I would be training in.

Ironman Arizona would be held in April of 2007. I wanted a solid year of training leading into the race, and I wanted to race a half-ironman (with Ironman training) 6 months out. This worked out, as another triathlon I had always found enticing (SUPERFROG) was scheduled for October 2006. Because my training focus would not begin for another 6 months, I trained for and raced the Big Sur marathon (a "must do" and my favorite marathon to date) in April 2006... one year out from Ironman Arizona.

Naval Special Warfare SUPERFROG Triathlon

My trial run for IMAZ was the NSW SUPERFROG Triathlon, a half-Ironman put on by Navy SEALs at the SEAL base on Coronado Island. Again, this was a race that was close to me, so traveling and expenses would not be an issue. I wanted the half-Ironman experience to be as close as I could get it to training for and racing a full-Ironman.

The schedule that I picked and used was not the same schedule that I would use for Ironman. Sometime ago, I replied to an email request for coaching info with all details of my training, coaching and schedule selection. But I need to dig it up... stay tuned for that. But, in summary, I did not feel that the training schedule I used for SUPERFROG was either detailed enough, nor did it have the volume that I felt that I required to turn out a good race in Arizona.

The outcome of Superfrog can be read here: 2006 NSW Superfrog Triathlon

Ironman Arizona: Training

Ironman Arizona: Race Day

The End