Ah, the wise words of master Yoda! Now of course he wasn’t referring to the Ironman triathlon when he said this to luke, but the sentiment is the same – either you do it, or you don’t.
Well recently, the question of whether I do or don’t has been milling about in my head. There are a number of reasons that keep nagging me about why I shouldn’t do it – like the time commitment, the huge amount of training, the difficulty of the actual race, the fact that I can’t swim… and together they add up to a pretty compelling argument against entering the race. But as I wrote in yesterday’s post, I AM entering the race!
Now I finally made that decision by looking at each of these objections individually, and asking myself if that alone was a good reason not to do it. Now up until now I’ve only done this in my head, but I figured that by getting it all down in writing it would cement in my mind that I’ve made the right decision, so here we go (I’ll start with the big one!)
I can’t swim
Well, as I’ve said before that’s a slight exaggeration. I can float, and I can make it from one end of the pool to the other, but it’s not fast and it’s not pretty, and I doubt I could do more than a few hundred meters, let alone 2.4 miles!
But is that a good reason not to do an Ironman? No, not really. The Ironman UK is over 14 months away, and that’s plenty of time to learn to swim well, and get the training in. In fact I’ve already got myself a copy of Terry Laughlin’s book, Total Immersion, and starting next week I’ll be using that to teach myself a decent front crawl. If that alone isn’t enough to get my stroke reasonable then there’s plenty of time to get some private tuition from a swimming coach, then once I’m competant I can buy a wetsuit and get some open water swims in, and then maybe enter a sprint distance triathlon to get some experience in a group swim. So all in all, while the swim is definitely what scares me most about the race, it’s certainly no reason not to do it.
Well duh! Yes, it will be hard. Both the race itself, and the training will be tough, but that’s the point! If it was easy, and everyone could do it there would be no challenge. Now I’m sure that there will be tough times when I wished I’d never decided to do the Ironman, and there will be times that I want to quit, and there will be blisters, and sore muscles, and probably the odd injury… but the fact that it’s going to be hard is not a reason not to do it!
OK so this is a legitimate objection, there is a certain amount of financial commitment to this race. I’ve not attempted to work out how much it will cost, but off the top of my head there’s the race fee (£300), a wetsuit (£100+), a bike (???), running shoes (£80 – my current ones won’t last many more months!), travel and accommodation for the race (£200+), books/training aids (???), other expenses (???) – at a rough guess I can see the entire race and training costing best part of a grand all-in, even if I manage to get a decent deal on a second hand bike. Now that’s a reasonable chunk of change, but it will be spread out over the next 14 months, and if I want to I’ll have the option of selling the bike and wetsuit on ebay afterwards to recoup a lot of the costs, so potentially that would reduce it significantly. So, yes the money is a consideration, but again, this is not a reason not to do the race, I’ll just have to work harder to pay for it!
It’s a huge time/effort commitment
OK now this really is a big consideration. I’ll need to invest many, many hours of training in order to get race fit. Especially in the 10 – 12 weeks leading up to the event, I’ll be needing to put in some serious hours each week. But the fact is that those hours are not invested only in the race, but in my general fitness which is something which will benefit me long after the race has finished. So while that amount of commitment needs consideration, it’s certainly no reason to avoid doing a big event like an Ironman.
I’m sure there are many, many more objections I could come up with, but the fact is that none of them will give me a different answer, I will do the Ironman, I just need to plan, prep and train well. As I’ve already mentioned, I’ll be readying Total Immersion over the next few days and starting my swim training next week. I’ve also ordered a couple of Ironman books – Becoming An Ironman which is a collection of stories of people’s first Ironman experience, and Be Iron Fit by Don Fink which should give me a better idea of the training involved.