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This is What it Takes to Become an Ironman

September 18, 2012

Those were the words going through my head yesterday evening as we started our run at the same time that the skies opened up and rain poured down on us. I woke up yesterday still moderately sore from the Lake Geneva Triathlon on Saturday. Yes, I could workout. But another rest day would have been so nice.

At noon, I went in to the gym for a crossfit workout. It was short, but a doozie. The WOD, for time, was: 10 Hang Power Cleans (HPC), 2 Back Squats (BS), 8 HPC, 4 BS, 6 HPC, 6 BS, 4 HPC, 8 BS, 2 HPC, 10 BS, for a total of 30 Hang Power Cleans and 30 Back Squats. This was all done with a single bar at 85% of our 1 rep max power clean. (Hang power cleans involve taking the bar from just above the knees to resting on the shoulders, but use mostly legs, hips, and core muscles to get the weight up, not arms.) To transition from the cleans to the back squats, we had to push press the bar up over our head and bring it back down to rest on the back of our shoulders. For me, I did this at 125 pounds. I struggled with the cleans, but I pushed and got through them. I started out doing 3 or 4 at a time and having to put the bar down. By the end I could do 1 or 2 and have to put the bar down. But at least I could get through all my back squats in single sets (if I had to put the bar down on the back squats, I would have to first get it back up to the front of my shoulders, and then push it back over my head, a much bigger deal). I finished in about 9:30, exhausted. I knew my legs were going to hurt later in the day for our run workout.

At 5:30, I left home for our run. The weather report called for thunderstorms over the next several hours, and I could already see the storm clouds forming. The clouds just got more ominous as I biked the couple miles to Montrose Park, where we were doing hill sprints on one of the few hills around (this was a very short hill, the kind I would stand up and sprint over on my bike). It was still dry as I locked up my bike and walked to the top of the hill, but by the time our group was assembled and ready to workout, the rain started. And it quickly went from dry to pouring down pretty hard. We ran around the park (about .6 miles), then sprinted up the hill, jogged down, sprinted back up, then back around the park, for five total laps. Then we did 5 or 6 times just sprinting up the hill. And finally, soaking wet and exhausted, we did three sets of one-minute squat holds (at least we were standing under a tree at this point, partially protected from the rain). By now, I could really feel the crossfit workout in my legs. I always struggle with squat holds. But this time was particularly hard. My legs felt fatigued and ready to give out as soon as I started.

I’ve done two-a-day workouts before training for the Ironman, but not quite as often. And I’ll admit, in the past I would have been more likely to skip my second workout if I was already tired and it was going to rain hard. But I knew I had to workout. We’re two months from the Ironman, time to really push the training. This is where it really counts. And this is what it takes. No excuses, no missing workouts. Honestly, once I’m started in any workout, it’s not that bad. Even when it’s pouring rain and I’m exhausted. It’s just the push to get myself out the door that’s hard. That’s when I ask myself “remind me why I’m doing this…” I can’t wait to hear those words late in the day on November 18, “You are an Ironman.”

61 Days Till Ironman Arizona.


From → motivation, running

  1. I can totally relate to the running in rain but as I’m just starting my IM journey I thankfully am not at the stage for 2 a day workouts! I also have no idea on the crossfit stuff you just talked about so I think I need to start looking into it. I know I need to do some core work so will be looking it up!

    • Jeff Kosbie permalink

      I think only a small slice of the endurance / triathlon community does crossfit, but I highly recommend it. Crossfit has done a lot to build my power and speed. And I think it’s even built my endurance. But it’s a departure from the traditional long, slow miles approach to endurance events.

  2. A family member did the Ironman in Lake Placid earlier this year. It was his second time. I can not begin to express my thoughts on how much dedication you people put into this race. He finished and we watched it on the live feed from home. It was so exciting. Best of luck to you on your event.

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