Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reality Check

Image: Grant Cochrane /

Day 6.

This morning I slept in and woke up happy with the knowledge that tomorrow is a rest day.

But first, there was today to contend with.

A full brick was on the books, the total distance being almost as much as an international triathlon--I biked 26 miles, swam one mile and ran two. Then did absolutely nothing for the rest of the day.

Over the past six days, I have swam a total of 4000 meters (about 2.5 miles), biked 88 miles, and ran almost 9 miles. And this was a recovery week, not to mention a wake up call and a reality check.

I'm slowly beginning to appreciate what I am up against over the next 20 weeks and hoping I will be able to hold up--mentally as well as physically.

I'm also beginning to understand that training for the Iron Man is a triathlon in itself. Not only will I need to be physically fit, but mentally and nutritionally fit as well.

Physically, I will have to be prepared to cover 140.6 miles, but also to remain well-rested and injury-free during the training. Stretching and icing have become a mandatory part of my training and, while getting enough sleep has always been a challenge for me, it is now non-negotiable. My body will need the time for repair and recovery.

Mentally, I will need to be strong enough to keep going and not quit, to run when I want to walk and possibly walk when I wan to stop. There's no doubt I will need to push through the pain that is sure to come, in my muscles and joints and in the form of blisters and chafing and saddle discomfort.

Nutritionally, I have a lot to learn. I am a vegetarian and, as such, I'm always aware of my need to get enough protein and iron. For other health reasons I follow a nearly gluten-free diet and avoid certain food combos and plants in the nightshade family. I have found several nutrition plans that meet most of these needs, but none were geared toward endurance athletes who need additional daily calories. That is, until I found Ben Greenfield and his free podcast on

Holistic Ironman Nutrition: How To Fuel Your Body For Endurance Sports Without Destroying It.

But I need to start putting the principles to use on a regular basis.

And, when it comes to the race itself, a good friend who has done two Iron Man races has recommended Infinit Nutrition:

I am planning a phone consultation this week to decide if this solution might be a fit for me.

So, as I tackle the training for this race, there are many mountains to climb--and not just the kind I encounter on my bike. This week has truly been a reality check for me.


  1. great post! i enjoy your blog! i too am training for my first iron distance event in september. I am on week 10 of 20. doing the Redman Full in Oklahoma City. I have two small children and a deployed husband. It is definitely a reality check! i struggle mentally alot of days too! finished a 70 mile ride this weekend and i wonder how i am ever going to go farther! thanks for your blog!

  2. Thanks so much for your positive and encouraging comments. As a writer, I hoped this blog would help me not only to record this journey and share it with others, but also serve as an outlet and a way to cope with the whole ordeal! I'm so glad you are enjoying it. If you are on Facebook, you can view my blog and all other related posts on my page, "Triathlon Mom." If you "Like" the page you will receive updates on your news feed when I post. Here is the direct link:

    Way to go on your training--you are half way there! Keep up the good work and stay focused on your goal, and on the great example you are setting for your kids! Please keep me posted on your progress and pass along any tips you learn to succeed in this race. Also, many thanks to your husband for his service to our country and to your family for the sacrifice you are making.