In January, I completed the Ironman 70.3 in East London. It’s take a few weeks to mentally and physically digest, but these are some of my thoughts and experiences on doing the race. I still cant quite encapsulate the event in words, because it’s far more than that, but it’s as much about the 25 weeks before the race that help make it what it is.
First up, it’s terrifying. So much so, that the fear will get you out of bed every morning at 4.45 to go and train and make your pulse race at 150 bpm when the start gun is about to go. The challenge of training, though, is that when you’re exercising at one discipline, you’re neglecting two others. That makes it terrifying and an anxiety. But nonetheless, a great way for you to realise your limits. You soon realise where your body cannot go any further – sometimes that’s as simple as not being able to run or cycle anymore, but also when you run out of patience with a friend or colleague, cant concentrate on your work, or find you’re so tired that you’ve got nothing to add to a conversation, even though it’s only 7pm.
It’s costly. It’s quite a commitment to buy all the necessary goods, from a racing bike, to enter the events, to a wetsuit, trisuit and all the other bits of paraphernalia one needs. But more so, it’s costly on your time and relationships. Your weekends are consumed by training and travelling to your training, sleeping and eating properly. In lieu of this, your relationships don’t get the time they need to be enjoyed. You’re also the laughing stock because you can only manage one beer at a party, and need to get out of dinner parties at 9 to go and sleep. But in this all, a real sense of clarity about your life emerges. In having a day that needs a lot more crammed into it, you become more focussed and efficient at work, more inclined to make the most of seeing a friend or family member, and cut out all the useless, wasteful time you used to have.
It puts your body and mind on the edge of their own precipices. During the last ten km’s of the run on race day, my leg muscles knew what to do, they’d done it hundreds of thousands of times before. But my body just wouldn’t let them. Or maybe it was my mind. But there was nothing more to give in that hour, and that’s one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had.
During the race, I thought I’d never want to do another one again. But now, having gone through the range of emotions subsequent to it, I cant wait for January next year. I know how I’ll change my training, where I’ll push harder, and where I’ll take my foot off the gas. I guess that’s how your own progress and development works.
Have you ever thought about trying one? The backing music might make it seem a little easier to sign up 😉