Dreams of Becoming an Ironman in 2016

In 2015, I completed Muskoka 70.3 and earned the title of a half Ironman finisher. It was a grueling task and there were times along the journey that I wondered if I would make the cut of times. The Muskoka course is known for it’s rugged beauty of hills and water.

The bike course was notorious for being one of the hardest courses out there. To train and get better on the bike, I joined a cycling group and hired a cycling coach. I learned to ride in a group and although there is no drafting in triathlons, I became a stronger rider from being in a pack. I had to maintain certain speeds to stay within the pack and I became more confident in my handling abilities as I had to learn to ride closer to the cyclist in front of me. I also made two recon visits to the Muskoka bike course. The first time, I immediately regretted signing up for Muskoka 70.3. I sounded like I had tourettes every time I had to battle an uphill. The second recon mission, I ended up with lots of mechanical issues with flat tires and I immediately realized how important it was to learn to become independent and be able to service my own bike. I also took many rest breaks during my recon missions. I was bordering near the end of the cut off times. On race day, I surprised myself and I rode my bike without stopping for breaks, without mechanicals and I made the bike split.

Which leads me to my next problem, which is running off the bike. In shorter races, I regain usage of my legs after a few minutes of walking. I was really surprised at the race, because I had a shooting pain down my lower back all the way to my the back of my thigh. I really didn’t want to quit because I trained really hard for this race and I made the bike cut off. I walked as fast as I could and tried to run, but my body didn’t want to. I remember sobbing to myself as I was running and tears were streaming down my face as other athletes passed me on the way back. After the 2km mark, I slowly regained usage of my legs. I ran as long as I could then took a small walk break. After ingesting so many gels earlier in the day, all the gels and gummies at each rest station looked really gross. I forced myself to keep eating to maintain my energy levels. Step after step, I inched my way towards the finish line. I had friends and family waiting for me at the finish and mostly importantly a medal and the privilege to become a half iron finisher. I battled with my inner voice that told me to stop. I became really excited when I was nearing the 1km mark and I could see the finish line. I tried to run down the finisher chute, by my body couldn’t. I managed to do a half waddle to claim my medal.

Which leads me to today. From my race, I learned many precious lessons such as the importance of brickwork and volume training. The biggest lesson I learned was that anything is possible with enough determination and resolve. I dare dream the big dream of becoming an Ironman. This goal is so big, it excites me but terrifies me at the same time. My debut race will be Ironman Mt. Tremblant in 2016 and a quite fitting race. Ironman Mt. Tremblant was the first Ironman I ever spectated and fell in love with the idea of becoming as strong and as remarkable a the other Ironman athletes. By attempting it to race it, it finishes the cycle of spectate and participate.

I’ve been diligently doing base training which averages 10 hours a week. My full Ironman training plan starts at the end of January. I have attended additional training camps to brush up on my techniques. I have had monthly swim video analysis and have been slowly evolving my swim technique. I have purchased a triathlon bike and I am learning to ride in aero position. I have joined a new triathlon group to surround myself with like minded people. I also have a mentor, is a very accomplished athlete, to guide me through this journey. At this moment in time, I might not be able to finish the full Ironman but the product of months of training and discipline might give me a fighting chance. Whether I finish it on my first attempt or not, I will be growing from this experience. I have no regrets of signing up for this race. I will do whatever it takes to become an Ironman either this year or in the following years. The year 2016 is a big year for me and I look forward to this new challenge. Happy New Year and happy training!