Seriously, that’s all I can say. After starting this crazy journey last June my husband can officially say he is an IRONMAN. That’s crazy. For those who don’t know, the Ironman is a 140.6 mile, long course triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run). It is a testament to the human capabilities. Training for it is basically a full time job. Between the workouts, the nutrition planning & the recovery time he easily spent 40 hours/ week dealing with this part of his life. And? It paid off. The race didn’t go as “planned” (do they ever???) but he finished. He set a goal, he prepared as much as one person could, and in the end? He achieved it. Needless to say? It is inspiring. I should get off my butt and do something……..
BUT ANYWAY- what on earth does my HUSBAND doing an Ironman have to do with your ROWING???????? Well, oddly enough, a lot.
Here’s the thing, he basically went from couch to Ironman in 14 months. Last June he decided to do the sprint distance of the Philadelphia Triathlon, on a whim; seriously, he just woke up & decided it sounded like fun. So he did it & he liked it. He then set his sights on an Ironman (because rowers have a tendency to take things to the extreme, & at his core he is still a rower through & through). The IM that fit best into our schedules ended up being Louisville in late August of this year (FYI- Kentucky in August is HOT); he paid the entry fee, found an online coaching program & got to work. Slowly but surely he amassed the necessary equipment. Slowly but surely he built up his cardio base. Slowly but surely he saw his splits in the pool drop. Slowly but surely he saw his target wattage on his trainer grow. Slowly but surely he was able to run further at his goal cadence. By the time race day rolled around he knew that barring catastrophe he could finish the race. His coach had two words of advice for him- Patience & Determination. Craig needed the PATIENCE to stay within his goal numbers. The PATIENCE not to get on the bike & go as hard as humanly possible. The PATIENCE to stick to his plan. Patience is all well & good, but what do you need when something goes wrong? Determination. When your stomach starts cramping & you still have 30 miles left on your bike course? You need DETERMINATION to get to transition. When you leave transition for your 26.2 mile run & you haven’t had proper nutrition for the past few hours due to said cramping? Yep, DETERMINATION gets you up the first hill in the blazing afternoon heat. After 20 miles of running when your legs decide enough is enough? Determination keeps you moving forward, even if you have to walk. Patience alone won’t get you to the finish line before the midnight cut off. Relying on all out determination will probably leave you halfway through the bike course with nothing left in your legs. But in combination? They are a thing of beauty.
Does any of this sound familiar? Think of your last *successful* race (or erg test for that matter). Why was it successful? Did you have a plan? Did you stick to your plan? When things went “wrong” did you keep going? I’m betting the answer is “yes”. You had the patience to follow your plan; you shifted to race pace after your starting high strokes (even if it felt like you could hold that high rate forever, you shifted because THAT was the plan & your legs thanked you a few hundred meters later). When you hit the wall at 1200m in you had the determination to keep going. Or, if your last successful piece was a 6k, you saw your split go up a bit for a few strokes & had the determination to bring it back down. Through these hiccups you didn’t freak out, you trusted the plan. Or maybe you did freak out a bit, but you got it under control. When all was said & done, you saw the results. You probably didn’t do any of this consciously, lord knows I had never put the two things into context until last week when Craig’s coach texted it to him, but think about it- you had to posses both qualities.
Whether it is a 2k, a 6k, a dreaded hour of power, or a full Ironman, you arrive at success through patience & determination. Pure & simple.
Congratulations, hubby, YOU are an Ironman. <3