Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Double Ironman 281.2

That is not a typo.
Yes, that is still in Miles.
No it's NOT back to back events, it is ALL at the same time - just as in an Ironman format.

I get some weird questions and some funny looks from even the most experienced triathletes, so let me first spell this out for everyone. Maybe it will help clarify what I am talking about here:

4.8 Mile Swim
224 Mile Bike
52.4 Mile Run

36 Hours to Complete it.

The race starts at 7am Friday, it finishes 7pm Sunday. Just get it done in that time. You can sleep if you can afford to make the cutoff. Most don't sleep. Some take really small naps repeatedly. Just get it done.

Sounds easy right?


OK so obviously I haven't posted in awhile. It's the off-season, and it has been one heck of one so far! I've been drinking like a fish, eating like a whale and I take lazy to a whole new level. Somewhere in there I impulsively registered for Ironman Muskoka 70.3. You know the race I swore I would NEVER ever do again - yeh that one. There's this thing called 'finish line fever'. I had a bad case of it and wanted to do it again and again and again and well lets just say I got my ass handed to me at Muskoka. Burnt out and unprepared I should have listened to my gut and just volunteered haha! My gut ultimately did me in and I did the entire race with no nutrition - now THAT is an experience. I should have quit, I really wish I would have because the effects of pushing your body like that is not just physical, it's mentally damaging. Talk about a loss of motivation, big time. Bummer.

So moving forward the next logical step of course - find the next Big Hairy Ass Goal! Sure I'm signed up for  IMMT next year but I am going there to finish, not qualify cuz lets face it - I dont stand a chance next year. I'll wait until I cat up to the next age group in 2013 and maybe try then. So if I'm not going to try to go FAST I may as well stick to going LONG. So in the world of Long, Double-Iron scares the sh*t out of me. Originally when I set out on this whole Ironman thing I learned of the UltraTri's and I know in my heart that I wanted to do one. It's been a nagging thought in the back of my mind.

Some ask why? Why do it?

Well there's two sides of this answer and I haven't completely shared them with even those closest to me. The quick and dirty short answer - to 'one-up' everyone else. I never lose, I'm always the best at everything I do. So instinctively I have this inner desire to set myself apart from the rest of the Ironman athletes out there. I'm incredibly proud of my Ironman finish and don't think any less of it, but lets face it - I am just another Ironman finisher in a sea of finishers. Ironman finisher is a rare breed, but not rare enough for me. Looking to go longer (double) or faster (Kona) would set me apart from the rest.
I said that was the quick and dirty answer. I say dirty because it's the easiest for the average person to understand and relate to. Sure I'm competitive, but deep down that's not the real reason for this. It's just the easiest one for people to wrap their head around. I risk looking like a shallow I-Am-Better-Than-You douchebage but people generally don't care to understand the real reasons for someone attempting such a crazy event.
The underlying reason for me setting out on an Ultra-Triathlon attempt comes from a desire to explore my own limits, to see what lies just beyond the impossible. One of my original goals of Ironman was to find this mythical wall - the point where I absolutely cannot continue no longer. I measure this by my state at the time of the finish line - If I can still breathe and walk and talk coherrently then obviously I could have kept going. Obviously I could of gone further or faster. I'm looking for that ultimate collapse at the finish line, knowing that there was nothing left, nothing held back and I exerted every last drop of potential. In theory this wall would come BEFORE the finish line, and in that moment I would find the willpower to endure and continue, or simply quit. I want to get beat down, stripped to my raw core, visit the deepest darkest places of my mind and in that moment... maybe I will learn something about myself. Some might call that Hell, I'd like to call it home, even for just a moment.

The beauty of it is I don't expect anyone to understand. I am doing this for me. It's like saying to someone you are doing an Ironman - those that get it, do. Those that don't get it, will never get it. You cannot explain it to them.

So where to begin? Well getting up off the couch and stop eating so much candy and potatoe chips would be a good start. I'm a solid 12lb-ish up from my Ironman weight,  maybe more but I am afraid to look haha! MUST. GET. OFF. THIS. COUCH.

I admit - I have no idea what I am doing. I don't know any Ultra-Triathletes. Actually I lied, I do know of one but I just found out. I fully expect to chain him to a chair and have him divulge all his trade secrets. Other than that though, I come to this event armed with the least amount of experience than all the other athletes. So this year there were less than 30 Double-Iron contendors. Yes, less than 30 in the whole world. I may be one of the few Canadians attempting this. A list of this years athletes and there resumes include some seriously Bad Ass Mother F*ckers. Ultra-Athletes with scary resumes, I mean look at this list of athletes and  their amazing accomplishments. These people are tough-as-nails and then there is me. Little gurly computer geek with a single Ironman finish under his belt. Frig, I'm gonna be the greenest one there. haha!

2011 Athletes
2012 Athletes including ME!

I just HAD to throw 'PFG Triathlon Club' in there cuz we all know that to gain membership to the Previously Fat Triathlon Club is tougher than a simple Deca-Ironman race. aha! That and the list under my name is patheticly small haha!

So I am self-building my training program the other day and I've come to the conclusion it's going to be much harder to build a training program with pretty much no reference material. I could find tons of Ironman training programs and peice together what works for me but in the case of Ultra-Triathlon I am hard pressed to just find ONE training program. I can't find one ANYWHERE. I did find a couple websites with Double-Iron training tips so I'm using that in conjunction with the myriad of Ironman training plans to come up with what I think will work for me. I'm really venturing into the unknown here, but I'll keep looking for resources. The plan I have built so far looks really really scary. I'm beginning to doubt it's supposed to look that scary. I'm more worried about doing TOO MUCH than NOT ENOUGH.

My state of mind right now is - I am confident I can get the 4.8 Mile swim done because I am a strong steady swimmer. I've never swam that far but I am pretty good in the water so other than the water being too cold from being in it that long, I'm not very worried. Oh and I need to learn how to do nutrition in the water because for that distance I'm going to need to take in calories during the swim. My stomach has never experienced that. Do you think you could swim for 3 Hours straight??

The bike is definitely possible. I've done a double century before. It was awhile ago but it gives me confidence. The key to success will be my nutrition and a proper pace. As long as I dont screw up my nutrition, I should be OK. The other part is bike fit - I need to dial in a fit that is comfotable, not necessarily the most aero/fast. I know I'll be dead tired off the bike so that leads me to the death march - errr I mean run. Do you think you could Bike for 15 Hours straight?? Oh and YES you bike through the night with lights.

The run scares me to death. I've never run that far. OK I'll go as far as saying I've NEVER run a marathon in my life. The only time I've gone as far as a marathon was at the end of my only Ironman. Yeh, I'm asking for a world of hurt here. I'm venturing into the borderline STUPID category. So needless to say I'll be working on my run alot. This comes with a great deal of risk, injury is apparent. I will train the winter with the intent on running an Ultra 50 Mile trail race in the spring. Whether I actually do the race is questionable, I dont want to risk injuring myself and screwing up the whole season by pushing too hard. I WILL however do the training necessary for it. The race is extremely hilly and historically these hills have injured me in some way so I need to be smart about this. I use the term 'smart' lightly. Do you think you could run 14 Hours Straight? And yes, you run through the night, including your 'witching hour' which I've seen videos of and it ain't pretty!

So ummm maybe I should start training then eh?

The next chapter of my Endurance 'career' begins......


  1. If *anyone* I know can do it John, YOU can. Good to see you back.

  2. Crazy! That is all (but I am secretly rooting for you....totally understand the desire to "stand out from the crowd".)

  3. Soooo, if you are the best at everything... how come Fran tells ME otherwise? ;) LOL!

    In all seriousness, I know your demented feelings towards finding your body's limits. I feel the exact same way. I actually don't care to do another IM race. It did nothing for me and I feel that I get more satisfaction in a 70.3 where I go all out and leave it all out there. You can't go full throttle at IM distance... well, if you train like a pro you can. Therefore I think I am done with them.

    As for ultras... I would do a trail run, don't care to be on a bike seat for 200+ miles... sorry, I don't want my dick to fall off from lack of blood flow haha.

    Should be awesome watching you struggle and complain about running your long runs in snow storms and blizzards again :) I will sit back and enjoy the show!

    Good luck buddy. Don't worry, since you threw it out there, we are ALL holding you accountable for that damn medal come next year. So get your shit together and make this happen will you???

  4. Love Peter's comment.

    Here's a want to find a wall, find that "impossible" point? You can get that not only by distance, but by speed as well...did you consider pushing your speed limit in another IM (and that could also help drive KQ). I guarantee you will find a wall without having to go 2xIM!

    Given you have signed up already, my point is moot, of course. I have no idea how one trains to go double, but will be interested in following your path this winter. You're going to kill IMMT if you work on going double!

  5. Wow. Just wow. Hats off to you for attempting that!! I'm sticking with my plan of qualifying Kona before 2015 over attempting a double-IM :)

    I think you look the most pumped up of any of the 2012 contenders!

    Welcome back to the blog world!

  6. Well that is for sure one big hairy ass goal!!! So glad to see you around again! I just asked Adena about you and your lovely bride. :) the fact that 3 of the names on that list are from Colorado! :)

  7. Forgot reason number 3 and why most guys do it. Deep phycological problems that have not yet been addressed. haha.

    Who know, for a double, I may join you. No promises yet.

    That is definitely a BHAG and would give you bragging rights. I assume you'll wear that medal to work for the entire year? haha




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