Well! Today is the day! We leave this afternoon for Chattanooga where Donnie will run the Inaugural Ironman in the city. He’s been training since April for this event, has been coached since May, and has blown my mind every step of the way.
If you aren’t familiar with what training for an Ironman looks like, it basically looks like you took on a part-time job. You’re look at weeks where your workout load is 12-15 hours total. And that’s JUST the actual workouts. That’s not the prep that goes into each workout. The cleaning of the bike. The rinsing of the swimsuit. The blending of the recovery shakes. The filling of the water bottles. He drove to Chattanooga several times to do 90+ mile bike rides on the actual course itself. This is the perk of doing a close-to-home race. But the idea of driving less than 100 miles to RIDE YOUR BIKE FOR 108 MILES, seems slightly insane to me.
But the more insane part? Most of his long bike rides were followed by runs. Like 75 miles on the bike followed by 2 hours running. And that 2 hours? Was STILL done at a HUGELY FASTER pace than I could even do a 5K. He’s fast. SIDENOTE: His bike is worth more than E’s first car was worth.
We’ll find out around 4:30am Sunday morning when they take the official water temperature if the race is wetsuit legal. If it is, there will be people there to help him rip off his wetsuit after he gets out of the water. They’re called “strippers” in many circles and that was my Dad’s favorite story to tell after my brother did his Ironman in 2008. “Kim…they have these people there and their only job is to strip the wetsuit off of you as fast as possible when you come out of the water.” SIDENOTE: I helped as a stripper at a race once. It’s a hard job.
The swim is all down river. They plop them in and send them on their way. We were hoping to take the shuttle to the swim start and walk back but it turns out that Donnie can swim 2+ miles faster than I can walk it with two kids in two.
So…the distances are supposed to be 2.4-mile swim 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run. Yes…You heard that right. The LAST thing he does for the day is runs a marathon. BUT! The Chattanooga bike course is actually FOUR MILES longer than the 112 it should be. And to an outsider, it may not seem like 116 is much more than 112 in the grand scheme of things. But trust me – IT IS A LOT MORE. But people are already making Chattanooga stickers that are different from your typical 140.6 stickers. I love that.
The bike and the run are both loops because – logistically speaking – it’s a lot easier to control loops in terms of safety and aid. This is good for us because our potential to see him is double what it would be otherwise. However, the bike course requires a shuttle and we’re worried they may be a little crowded so we may only see him once and then catch the shuttle back so we don’t miss any of the run.
If you want to keep up with him – here’s the info he posted on Facebook:
I’ll be wearing a myathletelive tracker. You’ll be able to see me (and my data) for the bike and run in real time here: http://www.myathletelive.com/storage/races/2014/092602/index.html
If you can’t live without knowing how I’m doing even for a second, you can link to the iphone/android app download from this page: http://www.myathletelive.com/events
Official Ironman live feed: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/coverage/live.aspx
IM Chattanooga page: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/chattanooga.aspx
And – of course – you can follow me on Instagram if you want to see our updates as spectators.
It’s been a long and hard 6 months for him and I’m so very excited to see him finally do this thing he’s been thinking about so much. He’s as ready as anyone can be and I know he’ll do great. I would have thought that this would have been so hard on us as a family that I would never want him to do another one, but – while it has been hard – it’s also been loads of fun. Yeah, he’s working out 10-15 hours a week, and when he’s not working out he has no desire to wash dishes or mow grass…but it’s been fun to watch him. He’s learned so much and come so far and we’ve loved going to every race this summer gearing him up for the big event. I’m actually really excited he wants to do it again next year!
So…off we go. I’ll try to blog from Chattanooga but I may be too exhausted, so if you don’t see me here, catch me on Instagram.