First day of Ironman Boulder Training

After years of dreaming Ironman, today is my first day of training. When I trained for my first marathon and then turned into an ultrarunner, I always wished that I had better documented my progression because when I say I went from being unable to run a mile to running a marathon, I wasn’t making it up. So here’s an honest appraisal of where I am at the start of training for my first Ironman (hint: it’s not where I want to be).

Swim: I haven’t been in a pool since I moved to Denver over a year ago. Historically I’ve been comfortable swimming long distances slowly, but I did have  a really rough swim during my first triathlon. This time around I’m joining my first Masters swim team, an experience I’m hoping will be a positive one, but is a huge unknown.

Bike: I am terrible on a bike. My longest ride has been 30 miles and right now I’m more worried about handling than endurance. I never learned to ride a bike as a kid and so right now I have a hard time being comfortable on a bike. I can’t drink on a bike and I really don’t feel comfortable lifting my hands off the handlebars. I think part of that was my bike was fitted improperly, but I also know a lot of it is lack of skill. I got a set of rollers so this winter is going to be focused on getting more comfortable with my bike so that I feel safe enough to join group rides in the spring.

Run: I maybe run once a month between 4 and 6 miles. Even though I’m not in run shape, coming into Ironman training I feel most confident in my run because I have the most running experience.

Unquantifiables: Even though I haven’t been doing swim, bike, run, I am probably in better shape than I was as an ultrarunner. I’ve been doing Crossfit-inspired workouts, lots of yoga and living in Colorado means weekends that are spent being active, whether it is climbing mountains or skiing down them. I work out for 5-6 hours a week at high intensity and have built a lot of strength (particularly in my core) and flexibility.

Things I’m worried about: My bike and my back. After running JFK I herniated a disc in my back and I haven’t done any big races since them so I’m not sure how it’s going to hold up. I also love skiing and we have a house near Keystone for the winter so I’m not sure how my Ironman training is going to impact my ski season.

Things I’m thankful I have in the bag: Knowledge that I can push through mentally when training and racing get hard. So much of endurance sport is the mental aspect and I’ve been on courses for hours and days before. I am also thankful that The Boy is being exceptionally supportive. We’ve sketched out training plans and contingency plans, meal ideas, date nights, and he is even going to do some training with me.

Let’s start this crazy Ironman journey!