6 days from now (Saturday, May 7th) I'll be taking my place at the starting line for Ironman St. George (rated as the toughest Ironman in North America). The pro race begins at 6:45 a.m. Mountain Time Zone...7:45 Central. I recently realized I'll have to deal with the confusion of going between 3 time zones within 2 hours on Thursday when we make our trip to St. George. We fly out of the central time zone, touch down in the Pacific time zone, and then drive our way into the Mountain time zone which is 1 hour behind our time here at home. The work over the past 26 weeks has been done to prepare for this day. I'll be asking my body to do something it has never done before when the gun fires on Saturday. I'm confident that I am ready. The numbers for the 26 weeks of preparation include over 520 hours of training. I have swam 286,700 yards, biked 3,874 miles, and run 1,187 miles. Those numbers only tell part of the story. I've paid close attention to doing the small details that make a big difference over the long haul. I've been to the weight room 55 times, done 62 sessions of lunges, and 48 sessions of plyometrics as well as over 120 sessions of core work. I've been religious about getting speed drills and strides in 3x every week leading up to this race. I added push-ups and jump rope 3 times each week this year to my other exercises. I realize there are others out there who have posted bigger numbers...but for the schedule I have holding a full-time job, parenting two wonderful children, as well as being a husband to an awesome wife...I'm proud of the workload I have been able to put in for my Ironman preparation. The weather in Iowa hasn't exactly been ideal this spring for Ironman training but I dealt with it the best I could. I was really fortunate to meet Adam Bohach through this journey. Training with him on most weekends has made a huge difference and we've developed a great friendship. We will be traveling to this race together and I know he'll get a Kona spot and I wouldn't be surprised if he were to win the overall amateur title. I fully believe he can post the fastest run time of any athlete on the course...pros included.
For anyone who is interested in watching the race unfold, the entire thing will be televised on the internet thanks to Universal Sports. The website for the Universal Sports race coverage can be found by clicking here. Race coverage begins at 7:45 a.m. central time. The pro race begins at that time with the amateurs to follow 15 minutes later. I'm not sure how deep they will follow in the pro race but I do know they show everyone finishing. Being a weak swimmer it would probably not be until the middle of the run when I'm in the picture if at all. I watched nearly the entire race last year in the week following my surgery while I was still elevating my leg in a cast from my couch. This past Wednesday marked my 1 year post-op anniversary. It was while watching the Universal Sports coverage last year I made the decision that if I was healthy St. George would be my 1st Ironman. I will be wearing my new Kiwami Konami jersey for the race. This jersey is exactly what I was looking for in an Ironman jersey for a number of reasons. The jersey is mostly white which will help detract the sun. It has a long front zipper that I can open up during the run if I'm heating up. It also has two pockets in the back I'll utilize to carry some nutrition during the bike and run portions of the event. It also has a small pocket on each leg large enough for a GU to fit in. I'll put those in when I begin the run. You may also be able to track my progress through the race by visiting the Ironman home page at http://www.ironman.com/ on race day. From that page you will see a "Live Race Coverage" box and if you click "Athlete Tracker" and then click "GO" you will be able to see the progress through the race. If you click on the athlete names you will get even more updated info as they have timing mats placed periodically throughout the race and the times will be updated through those checkpoints when you click on the name of the athlete you are tracking. My wife Jen will also be sending out text updates for anyone who is interested when she sees me. Her updates may not be as frequent as the ones on the Ironman page because once I leave on the bike she will probably not see me again until I return. There are 28 pro athletes on the starting list. I'm hoping to place in the top 1/2. In an ideal race my goals would be to swim under 1 hour, bike somewhere between 5 hrs. and 5 hrs. 10 min., and run 3 hrs. 5 minutes for the marathon. My total time would then be between 9:10 and 9:20 when factoring in transitions. That would put me at the finish line between 4:55 and 5:05 p.m. Central Time. I realize a lot of things can happen in an Ironman and wish I could promise that I'd finish in that 10 minute window...but unfortunately I can't do that. You'll be able to figure out if I'm ahead or behind schedule if you check the ironman page for tracking updates. I've worked tremendously hard for this race and more than anything I want to enjoy the experience. As much as I'd love to race well and I dream about a top 8 finish...finishing an Ironman is a tremendous accomplishment in itself. The scariest thing about it for me is that I'm not going into this race with a mindset of just finishing. I have no doubts with my fitness that I could finish the race if I approached the race at a training pace. The thing that makes it so tough is that I have to find that line between conservation and death...if I go too far under the line I'll certainly finish but not at the position I've been dreaming of. If I cross that line I'll pay dearly. I've rehearsed exactly what I'm going to think about when the storms come...and they will come during the course of a 9+ hour race. I can't wait to get it started. Thanks for following the journey...it seems so long ago I was a 203 lb. out of shape fat guy neglecting my own fitness. Now I'm dreaming of a top 8 finish against some of the best triathletes from around the world. I hope the journey has inspired some of you...and I hope my race on Saturday will inspire a few more! DREAM BIG!!