Congrats to Travis for his finish at the recent Ironman Arizona! Travis really worked hard on the mental side of training and was very thoughtful in his approach to the race choosing a well thought out race plan. That equaled great success in his first Ironman adventure. He shares his thoughts about his first Ironman.
Was it what you expected?
It was easier because of the weather, cloud cover and rain. The heat and sun would have been rough on me personally. However, the key is that it felt JUST LIKE TRAINING which is exactly what it should have felt like. I felt good with my pace, knew my limits and where I should push it, and what might happen (e.g. cramps) if I didn’t fuel, etc.
How did your training prepare you mentally and physically?
The IM was exactly like training with the exception that the run was tougher just because it came after the full distance of the other sports but that was expected. Knowing my pace and what I needed to do (pace, fuel) to finish was crucial. Knowing how my body responded to fueling was important as well because of my issues with solid food and sweets. Your tips on fueling probably saved me.
What was most helpful?
Having the pacing figured out ahead and burned into my mind. If I didn’t have a clear idea of what bike pace I needed to hit, I could see myself getting behind there. However I forced myself to keep my pace up on the 3rd lap which was hard mentally but important to ensuring I finished with time to spare. There was a time on my 3rd lap, in the pouring rain with sustained headwind, where I started thinking about sitting on my couch and showering and getting warm. But knowing the paces that I had to hit, I forced myself to pedal faster to keep the 2:30ish per lap. I’ll admit that was probably the toughest part mentally – heading back around mile 80 or so, when I was thinking about my living room, I almost mentally broke down but did manage to keep it together. At that point I wasn’t sure how the rest of the day would go, but after that it got much better. Coming out of the bike with 30ish minutes to spare, plus the 30ish minutes I carried over from the swim told me that I had an hour or so to spare heading into the run – and that gave me the confidence that I would finish and allowed me to take an extra minute or two in T2. Coming out of the bike I knew I would finish barring a major injury or cramp, and pretty much told myself I needed to fuel, not do something stupid, and keep myself moving forward at the right pacing.
What would you have done differently in training? On race day?
Considering everything, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. If I had another 10 months to train starting over, I might put more energy into improving my cycling pace b/c that was a weaker area, but overall I’m happy with finishing which was my simple goal.
Also, after the Seattle marathon I couldn’t walk for 2 days. I was stiff right after the race, and then for 48-ish hours afterwards.
After the IM, I was definitely stiff that evening and had a tough time walking around, but the next morning I was totally fine. Mildly sore and stiff but could easily walk around. And I have no doubt that is due to the training.