1) So, um, yeah. Wore an ugly boot for a few days by order of the podiatrist, and answered the question "was it worth it?" more than once. Hells, yes, it was worth it. It's always worth it to grab those endorphins for a few days.
I feel strong. I feel brave. I feel beautiful. And It lasts a little longer each time.
2) The people I've met in this sport are the only people I've met who consistently I find interesting and worth my time. Not content to sit still and say, "I wish" they are much more likely to borrow a bike or a wetsuit, and say, "I will"
3) I'm going to do Buffalo Springs again next year. Lighter, and better trained.
I must. I can. I will.
Random bits of advice for the slower athlete desiring to finish an ironman:
7) Do a half iron. Do more than one. Double that, add about 10-20 percent, and count on that as your iron finish time. Figure out from each one what you need to do differently, and change how you do things.
8) Do and train for a marathon or two, especially if you are heavy for your height. You, the heavier athlete, need to know what it takes to be upright and moving on your feet for 5 to 7 hours. It wouldn't hurt to do a couple century rides, either.
9) Train on hills (running and cycling) whenever possible. There are flat iron distance triathlons, but not around where I live, and the other ones sell out in about 10 minutes. Anyway, even if you are doing a flat one, it's better to be overtrained. The more you do scary nasty hills the more you are likely to say, that's a hill? That' ain't NOTHIN'! in the middle of an ironman.
Iron Distance can really play with your emotions - you'll want to give up. You may feel despair. But if you can look at that hill ahead of you and say, Oh, I've done this hill; this is like the one on Tramway, so I know I can do it then you're free to focus on the physical instead of being mired in despair.
10) Train to your weakness, more than you think you need to. If your weakness is heat, train when it's hot. Your body will adapt. If your weakness is swimming, train as hard as you can in the worst conditions.
11) Find an ironman that is lenient about cutoff times. (aka, NOT NA sports!!) Non NA sports races may say there is a cutoff time, but check the finisher's list; the OKC Redman, for instance, has a cutoff, but I was there in 2006 when they closed up all the aid stations and followed the last runner around in a golf cart, acting as a portable aid station, until he finished after midnight.
12) If you don't make it the first time, there's always other races, and other chances. Enjoy the journey, don't just make it a means to an end.
13) This is stuff I've learned. I make no guarentee that I actually practice what I preach all the time. I'm a work in progress...
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