So I Signed Up for My First Half Ironman — Now What?

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If you read my babbling here on a somewhat regular basis, you may have noticed my announcement yesterday that I’ve signed up for my first half Ironman. Very smoothly I snuck that in, indeed, at the end of a 2,000-word long post.

But yes. I did it! I signed up for Ironman 70.3 California Oceanside next year:It’s on my birthday, too. What better way to check one item off the bucket list and celebrate turning 21 [in the 34-39 age group]?

Am I freaked out? Yeah… kinda. Of course I am, what did you think?

I have run plenty of half marathons, but not after swimming 1.2 miles in the cold ocean and then biking 56 on crazy hills?!?

But you know what? I’ll do it and I’ll live. I know that because I’ve already made a plan. Here it is, the mother runner’s plan for becoming a half-Ironmom in a pink skirt [will decide on the outfit later!].

1. Breathe, relax, believe

The feeling I had when I clicked that Register button…. I suspect we’ve all been there. And not just in reaction to that $350+ credit card stinger [what’s up with those prices, anyway?!?]

If you’ve ever done a 5K, 10K, a half marathon, a marathon… any distance you’ve never gone before, really, you know how it is. It seems so darn long and intimidating. What? Run 26.2 miles? Me? Crazy.

But then you find a training plan, go through it, day after day and week after week, and by race day — what do ya know, you take yourself from the start to the finish and laugh and cry about it. The human body is amazing. It adapts to anything we throw at it, as long as we prepare it carefully and patiently.

Like my 5-year-old said one time we were looking for water shoes at Target and they had none in stock: “Come on, Mommy, you can do it. You just have to keep trying and believe in yourself.”

My Ironman is those water shoes! And so is your first marathon, half marathon, triathlon… you just have to keep trying (and training) and believe in yourself.

2. Mark the calendar, count down

Most half Ironman training plans are 20 weeks, or five months long. The day I signed up, I got a calendar, marked March 29 and counted 20 weeks back.

November 11 is my first day of training. [Now I’m glad I didn’t sign up for any races in the second half of November or December, giving me time to follow a training plan like I should.]

Which training plan will I choose? I don’t know yet, but I’ve got five months to think about it.

3. Stalk it on YouTube, Get Psyched

It’s a good thing I’m already obsessed with watching Ironman videos on YouTube. Now I can channel that towards Oceanside 70.3 videos — of which, thankfully, there are plenty. My favorite so far has got to be the drive-through of the second half of the bike course. Because it is on a military base, riding on the course is not allowed before the event, so watching this video over and over will be my way to prepare for those insane hills:And here’s how last year’s winner Andy Potts did it:

Doesn’t it look easy-peasy lemon-squeezy? Yes! Can’t wait to do it myself!

4. Live the “Iron” life, starting now

Training kick-off may be five months away, but the time to start preparing myself psychologically – and physically – is now. I’ll have to make sure I maintain a good endurance base, eat well and gradually get used to some of the things that most intimidate me about this Half Ironman thing. That means taking longer rides (I envision at least one 45-50 miler in the near future) and doing at least a few open-water swims (luckily, there are quite a few organized events here in the Bay Area).

I can’t wait!
What’s your next challenge? Any sage advice for a half-Ironmom wannabe?

Today’s workout:Just some laps at the pool at a relaxed pace. Though, with school out now, I have to say the pool is becoming more of an open-water swim experience. Three people to a lane, several kicks to various parts of my body. Just the way I like it!

8 thoughts on “So I Signed Up for My First Half Ironman — Now What?

  • Pingback: 18 Weeks to 70.3! | Confessions of a Caffeinated Mother Runner

  • June 18, 2013 at 9:48 am

    You’ll love this race. It’s such a beautiful venue and very well organized. Practice, or race, runs that take you past the end point after one loop so you get mentally prepared for running a second loop while some people are finishing their run. Best of luck with your training!

    • June 18, 2013 at 10:27 am

      Thank you! I hope it’s going to be as enjoyable as it looks beautiful on videos 🙂 And yeah, luckily, plenty of those two-loop races around, I can’t say I love them but I’m used to that sort of stuff. It’s the hilly bike that worries me – and the swim! Lots of time to prepare, though!

  • June 17, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    What an inspiration! I love that you said that you’ll do it and you’ll live. That’s the thing, it will be hard and painful, but you will feel like such a rockstar instead of living with the regret of never trying. Bravo for really living!

    • June 18, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Thank you! And yes, very well put: I do not want to live with the regret of never trying, and that doesn’t just apply to crazy endurance sports 🙂 (I even tried olives once, just to make sure I do hate them. :))

      • June 18, 2013 at 11:08 am

        LOL! What a risk taker you are because olives are horrible!

  • June 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I missed the subtle announcement! Wow, how exciting….you’re going to rock it, I’m sure of it. If you haven’t found it already, check out – super-cool girl doing her first full ironman this coming weekend!!!

    • June 17, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Oh, cool! I’ll head over there right now! She’s probably doing IMCDA, like Dimity 🙂


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