Monday, April 28, 2008

When will we know?

There are a bunch of great athletes in this group, and then I suspect there are a also a bunch of middle-to-back-of-the-packers like myself. For some of us doing our first Ironman, success isn't guaranteed. There's no doubt in my mind that all of us are capable of finishing the race in under 17 hours, but some of us may be more vulnerable if we have an off day. And anything can happen along the course.

My question is, and I don't know if people have answers for it, at what point do you think you'll be confident that "yes, I'm going to make it." Or if you've already done an IM, when did you cross that threshold? I used to think that as long as I could start the run I would be OK. The bike cut-off is 5:30, so in the worst-case scenario I'd just have to do a 6.5 hour marathon. That sounds kind of easy, but then again at Wildflower (an admittedly much more difficult run) I did a 3-hour half-marathon. So a 6 hour marathon isn't too unrealistic, and that could be cutting it close.

I think that if I can reach the half-way point of the run by 8:00 then it's pretty much in the bag. I'd like to be well ahead of that, but with 4 hours to do 13 miles I don't think I'll have to worry about finishing.

What about you? Do you have a mid-race goal that will signify "yes, I'm going to finish this thing!" ?


SWTrigal said...

For me,at IMFL in 2004, as soon as I finished the swim, I knew I would finish. Don't ask me how, but I just knew it..Hope it will be that soon this time..

Tea said...

WOW--I hope it can be like that for me.

For me, it's all about the bike. That is hands-down my weakest area, and I have a running background. For awhile I was thinking that if I could just make it to the run, I can finish. But that's not true. It depends on what time I get to the run.

I don't think, at this point, I have a goal. But I do think there will be a time during the race that I will think "I'm going to be an Ironman."

On the other hand, I really truly believe that I'm going to finish. How I get from A to Z is yet to be figured out.

IronJenny said...

I knew I'd finish when I did this little math exercise:

If you can finish the swim in 2:20:00.0 (about 3 minutes per 100 yards);
finish the bike in 8 hours (about 14 miles per hour)
and walk the marathon in 7 hours (about 17 minute mile pace)

Then you can finish the IM.

Everybody will finish. If you go any slower (and puleeez - you know you won't) then you have some "banked" time to nap in transition or get off your bike and rest for a while.

The only thing that will cause you not to finish is an injury or "GI distress". Remember you Immodium!
Can't wait to cheer you on! You will do it!

Ultra Iron Misty said...

Soon as I finish the bike couse, then I'll know. Until then I don't even buy the IM stuff at the expo, because I'm just not sure. But I go full throttle anyway.

S. Baboo said...

Math is always much easier than actually finishing an Ironman. I have been in bad enough condition during an Ironman where my most focused thinking still produced finish time calculations that were more than an hour off and I didn't remember seeing my friends or speaking with them. Seriously, things can come unraveled in a great number of different ways and some very fast people DNF. I have been fortunate to finish every Ironman I have entered and only begin my response with gloom because I have discovered, quite suddenly and surprisingly, that I was on the verge of DNF’ing despite the fact that I can and have finished prior Ironman races.

So, based on the math I knew I could finish an Ironman before my first one started. During that race the issue of finishing didn’t really ever occur to me until some time early in my second half-marathon split and then it just hit me out of the blue that I was going to finish an Ironman and a pretty tremendous sense of joy and accomplishment washed over me.

You might be surprised, and I hope encouraged, to know that I think the first timers are at a bit of an advantage as far as finishing is concerned because you are all about the finish and time goals, while nice, are definitely secondary. I’ve known a lot of IM finishers whose first race was either their best or one of their best races. Of course there will always be exceptions. My first was my best time, the next two were poorly executed and my 4th was my best race but not my best time. I returned to the basic ideas of racing smart, racing conservatively and being flexible.

I believe all the bloggers here will finish I really do because we have an important edge, we have each other!

ironshane said...

My first IronMan was Wisconsin. I knew I'd finish when I got to the mile 110 marker of the bike. I could walk my bike in from there if I had to, and had plenty of time to do the marathon. It hit me like a tidal wave that I was really going to finish. I think it's different for everyone. I'd done several marathons, some pretty tough, and I knew I could get through it.

No matter when you know in your heart you're going to make it, try and take it all in as you approach the finisher chute. It's a magical place, and I'm of the opinion that it should be enjoyed as fully as possible. You earned it!

S. baboo is right - don't count on your math skills. Your thinking can get a little...fuzzy at times.