After being an Official for the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon a couple years ago, some co-workers and I got the bright idea that perhaps we could complete a long distance triathlon. The ensuing competition led to our participation in the Vineman Half Ironman in August 2004 and as a result of an unfortunate related side bet, each of us found ourselves on the hook for completing a full Ironman in 2005.
I signed up for the Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach the day registration opened in 2004. Because the triathlon was not until November 2005, that gave me a full year to train for the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. Yep, to be done all on the same day!! But the time limit for completing all of the events was 17 hours (7am to midnight), so I could do that, right??
In many regards, 2005 was a tough year for me with work, coaching and Life Issues getting in the way (in addition to my own lassitude!) so my “training” was severely lacking for an event which required such extreme levels of multi-sport proficiency and stamina. Through three seasons of coaching my Team in Training marathoners leading up to the November 2005 Ironman, each session my Team would ask “How is your training going?” To which I would reply, “How ‘bout those Dodgers?”
While I have not yet been through the life event for which this adage generally applies, as event day dawned I had my something old (trusty $60 Panasonic bicycle), something new (wetsuit – bought on site in Florida and worn once) and something borrowed (pedals and shoes). Without something blue, I did not know if I was ready to participate, but a pesky eternal optimism buoyed my spirits and as the gun fired on November 5th, I was off with a couple thousand of my closest rubber-clad cohorts on my all-day adventure.
To make a long story (and day!) short, my 2.4 mile swim went well with my coming out of the water 30 minutes before the 2:20 cutoff. After taking ample time in transition to the bicycle portion, I found myself finishing the 112 miles even further ahead of my projected times than what I had hoped. I actually worked hard (for me!) in the swim and bike so that I would have plenty of time for the marathon run which was to come. As I came out of the bike to run transition just at dusk, I recall emoting to no one in particular, “FINALLY, something I KNOW how to do!”
Just before 11pm, I reached the finish -- an IRONMAN!! -- happy that I had completed my goal. And, since I never break a promise, I had also made good on my “bet” – not soon to be repeated!
As with the Academy Awards there are literally scores of people to thank for their help in my completion of the Ironman Florida (please be patient, your cards are in the post!). As far as AREC’ers, many thanks to Eric Villalobos for his encouragement, technical expertise, and loaning of equipment (my something borrowed) and to fellow Ironman Tommy Robles for his unbridled enthusiasm and excitement about my participation in the event. Kudos go also to my Friend and Co-conspirator Coreen Sterritt (with whom I had lost the bet) for sharing her first Ironman experience with me.
Most importantly, it was Margaret Everitt along with my twin sister Tina who made this entire experience possible. I would be lost without Margaret’s year-round support (tolerance?) of not only this but my many other hare-brained experiences and escapades. Both Margaret and Tina not only came to Florida to be with me on site, but without their help with finances, planning, and encouragement I would most certainly have never even have made it to the starting line.
The folks who know that I have done completed nearly 200 marathons asked if I would attempt just one more Ironman. But this year went so well that I hesitate to do another. All I have to do is let each entry deadline pass and I may never have to do another. Or will I just go ahead and sign up …??