The Ironman Suicide Pact

Aug 27

The Ironman Suicide Pact

A friend and teammate of mine just posted on Facebook that she signed up for her first Ironman-distance triathlon, Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Along with the Active.com registration link, she included an appropriate first-timer reaction of “Oh. My. God. What have I done!?” and warned another teammate of ours that she better not let her down because our teammate was planning to sign up for Coeur d’Alene, too. This, my friends, is the classic Ironman Suicide Pact. I’m a big supporter of the Ironman Suicide Pact. In 2009, when I drove up to Penticton to spectate Ironman Canada and nervously sign up for next year’s race, I took solace in the fact that my friend was planning to sign up with me so we could suffer through the next year together. Unfortunately, after she saw one of our teammates stumble across the finish line directly into the medical tent, she got nervous and backed out of the Suicide Pact until the following year. I was left standing in line next to Jason with my credit card in one hand and my heart in my throat, wondering who the hell I would train with for this ridiculous athletic feat. Of course, I had plenty of teammates to train with and survived my first Ironman, but still, there’s some weird comfort in taking the plunge with a buddy by your side, someone who you feel is equally crazy as you are and willing to chalk up the decision to fork over several hundred dollars to propel your body 140.6 miles to temporary insanity. You form a special bond with the folks you sign up with and train with over several months. In 2011, I made another Ironman Suicide Pact with some of my teammates and finished my second Ironman a year later, scrapes, contusions, concussions, and all. I’ve sat on the sidelines this season and will watch 2013 pass by without having pulled on my wetsuit or gotten to the start line of a triathlon all year. It’s a weird feeling, but I’m happy for the time off — I needed to get my work life in order and focus on restoring a happy work/exercise/personal life balance that would recharge my mental health....

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Becca Fall Down, Go Boom: My Ironman Canada 2012 Race Report

Oct 11

Becca Fall Down, Go Boom: My Ironman Canada 2012 Race Report

Welcome back, reader! It’s been a while, I know. I took a little hiatus after Ironman Canada to laze around and get fat, so now that I am sufficiently rested and newly-pudgy, it’s time for me to get back into the swing of things, and what better way to move forward than to recap a race I did a month and a half ago, right? If you’re all, “Pffft, this was forever ago, gimme some new material already!”, don’t worry, I’ve got some more timely stuff in the pipeline. But for the 12 of you who have been bugging me to bust out this bad boy, enjoy my ridiculously belated Ironman Canada 2012 race report (oh, and here’s 2010’s race report, aka The Longest Race Report in the History of Race Reports, if you care to revisit that one). Pre-Race Shenanigans Jas and I left for Penticton the Wednesday before the race, stopping a couple (meaning hundreds) of times so I could pee and pick up some healthy, pre-race organic, gluten-free, paleo-friendly nourishment… …just kidding, I had a gas station corn dog, a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, and about five pounds of potato chips. Every time I sign up for these endurance races, I fill out all of the information so far in advance that I’ve forgotten what I’ve written until I have to review the forms before the event. This means that Present Me will usually be simultaneously amused and embarrassed by Past Me’s responses. Case in point: when I went to pick up all of my important race crap, I saw this: The elderly volunteer who was going over my information with me did a double-take and laughed pretty hard, saying, “I haven’t seen that one before!” I took that as a sign to keep putting bullshit in my forms for future events. Thanks, lady! With registration taken care of, I taper tantrum-ed my way through my final pre-race workouts (“Eeeeekkk, my foot is hurting during this bike ride! I knew I should have brought my old nasty cycling shoes instead of the new pair!”; “Holy shit, this water is so rough! Why is it so rough?! It’s going to be even worse on race day, I know it!!”),...

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Feels Like the First Time

Aug 25

Feels Like the First Time

Ironman races are a funny thing. I signed up last year, slimmed down, got healthy, (mostly) stopped eating like a complete moron, did four races with mixed results (one win, one DFL), juggled training amid the stresses of starting a new job. And now here I am, on the eve of showing up at the start line to Ironman Canada for the second time. But despite the fact that I feel as prepared as I’ll ever be, it still feels like I’m racing for the first time. Feels like the very first time! I told Teresa exactly that when we sat down for my pre-race athlete meeting, and she laughed and asked why I’d feel that way. Racing an Ironman has an entirely different feel to it. I’ve done three half Ironman races this year, eight since I started doing triathlons in 2008. I’m healthy enough to bust one out a month during the peak of triathlon season. Yet there are only a handful of Ironman races a year, and a mere mortal like myself typically only tackles one per season (or, in my case, one every other season). So although I’ve done this exact same race in this exact same location on close to the exact same date two years ago, it kind of feels like my first Ironman all over again (even though technically it’ll be my last Ironman Canada since next year the series gets changed to Challenge Penticton under new organizers). Sure, I sort of know what to expect this time around, and I figure that I should be faster than I was back in 2010, but it’s a long enough day and enough time has passed since I was at the start line that I’m going to have to rediscover the feeling of racing Ironman all over again. In some ways that’s a little nerve-wracking, but in other ways it’s kind of exhilarating, like being able to recapture the magic and excitement of a first kiss or rediscovering the joy of Saturday morning cartoons and a big bowl of sugary cereal when you were a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bit nervous, especially as the list of friends who are planning to...

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To M-Dot or Not to M-Dot

Feb 06

Recently some professional triathlete was all proud of himself for coming up with an arbitrary “do’s and don’ts of triathlon.” He started his post by exclaiming that some athletes will “probably be offended at some point” while reading his list, as if he were making a racist rant about Obama or opining that men should decide whether women should have abortions instead of making the controversial claim that triathletes should use chamois cream before their rides. I didn’t take offense to his list so much as rolled my eyes to it, as if you’re not a “serious” or “hardcore” athlete if you commit any of these cardinal sins. According to him, nobody in the history of ever should do their swim workout while wearing a watch, even if they need to record splits that would be much easier to track via the lap button than trying to memorize them all from the wall clock. Got it. You should also listen to this guy when it comes to fueling, because it’s better to forgo extra fuel on the bike and a fuel belt during your runs so you don’t look like a fool, amirite? Because everyone laughs at you if they see you carrying some bottles and a few gels. They all point and cackle, “Look at this dumb-ass, carrying a couple unnecessary extra pounds! Revoke his USAT card right now!” Also, despite the fact that I have never seen anyone ever eat a gel outside of training or races, thanks for pointing out that one should never consume them as a snack or meal. I’m sure that happens all the time. I suppose the only truly “controversial” point this guy brought up was the M-dot tattoo. You all know it well–it’s the Ironman logo that some athletes get tattooed on their bodies after completing their first Ironman. His argument was “do fat people get the McDonald’s Arches tattooed on their bellies because they love a quarter pounder with cheese?”, which is a straw man argument. It’s not like some guy ran out and got the M-dot tattoo because he liked the Timex Ironman brand watches; typically the mindset is that the tattoo is “earned” after months of training and upon...

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The 2012 Race Schedule Has Been Set (It’s Like a Fantasy Football Draft, Only Lamer)

Nov 22

I know it’s only November, but Teresa has me training like my “A” race is right around the corner (and it kind of is since I’m running the Seattle Half Marathon). I’m a bit nervous about having such a jam-packed 2012 race schedule after coming off a fat and injured 2011 season, but I’m feeling good and the coach seems pretty confident in me, so it’s game on, beeyotches. Behold, my 2012 race season (aka, the last year I get to race in the glorious 25-29 age group before being thrown to the fast and strong 30+ assholes): November 26th: Seattle Half Marathon This will be my first half marathon since the Eugene half in spring 2010, where I PR’d on a relatively flat and fast course. I’ve never done the Seattle half or full marathon despite having lived here for over 10 years. There’s something about the course being difficult and the fact that it’s during a typically shitty time of the year weather-wise that hasn’t struck me as being terribly appealing. However, a ton of teammates are racing the half and a lean and fast Jas is hoping to run a 3:30 or better in the full, so I decided to woman up and race it too. It’s hard to say what I’ll bust out on Sunday–I’ve been running well lately, which is a refreshing change from how slow and painful my runs were for the first half of 2011. I’d like to do 1:45 or better, which would be a PR for me (on a tough course, no less), but as long as I have a solid, strong race, I’ll be pretty happy. March 18, 2012: Rev 3 Costa Rica It’s happening, folks! Jason and I are going to kick off the tri season waaaaaaay too early for my tastes by doing our first half Ironman of the year in freaking March. I bet my first outdoor ride and open water swim will be the week we get there, right before the race. The trip will actually end up being relatively inexpensive since I used miles to book our plane tickets and we’ll be sharing a house rental with two other couples. The pricey part will...

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