FORGING IRON

Cool title, eh?

I was trying to think of something awesome to call the complete physical transformation that I am about to undergo in order to prepare myself for the Ironman 70.3 Florida, and that's all I got so far. Whatever, it's a working title.

If you aren't already aware, an Ironman 70.3 (or half Ironman) is an endurance race that consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. To answer your question, yes, I am a little bit insane.

My training will be very different from the typical Ironman athlete, however, in that I still want to maintain or even increase muscle mass through strength training and a high caloric diet. This is, of course, counterintuitive to the whole purpose of endurance racing. In events like this, a normal athlete would train in order to have the fastest time possible after they cross the finish line. Having excess weight or muscle mass is a hindrance, because it takes more physical effort and oxygen to propel your body for hours on end.

I am a realist, though. I know I will never be among the top finishers, so it would be pointless to subject my body to that kind of punishment. I know through my own experience in training for an ultramarathon how physically taxing strict endurance training is, and how easy it can be for endurance athletes to become injured if they do not cross-train and give their bodies a break. I also want to look good, and not have that emaciated look of a pure endurance athlete. Not my thing.

So, over the course of the next year, I will be preparing myself for this challenge by training on my own with event-specific workouts, strength training with personal trainers a couple times a week, and competing in other endurance events such as the Chicago Marathon and various Olympic distance triathlons.

I know it will be extremely difficult, and there will be many times that I will want to quit, but it will be worth it in the end. If someone reading this were to take one thing away from this blog, I would hope that it would be that anything is possible with hard work and having the right mindset when adversity hits.