Monday, August 26, 2013

Oh Sugar Honey Ice Tea, It’s On

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” 
T.S. Eliot

On Monday, August 19th, I signed up for my first Ironman – Ironman Mont Tremblant!  As I waited for registration to open at noon, I thought I was going to either pass out or lose my mind.  My heart was beating crazy fast and my breathing was sporadic.  When registration opened there were already 100 people ahead of me.  There must be some Flash Gordon typists out there because I started the registration process right at noon.  When it was my turn to register, I was a nervous wreck!  I’m a pretty good typist, but I couldn’t type to save my life.  I finally got it together and completed my registration.  When I saw my confirmation I let out a whoop and started to cry.  I know, that is sad, but this race is so much more than just a race to me.
 Ironman Mont Tremblant - in the Village
(This photo is from the IM Mont Tremblant Facebook Page)

Ever since I completed IM 70.3 Augusta I knew I wanted to do an Ironman.  I didn’t know when or which one, but I knew doing a full Ironman would be part of my future.  My desire for completing an Ironman became even stronger when I crossed the finish line at IM 70.3 Raleigh, which is very surprising since Raleigh took me to a very dark place during the run.  I guess that’s one of those things about triathlon….you go through all this pain and discomfort, but as soon as you finish you can’t wait to sign-up for the next race. 

My decision to do an Ironman in 2014 was kind of made for me.  Next year I will be the big 4-0 and I want to do something special to celebrate such a significant occasion.  Also, if you add up the numbers individually for 2014, you will get the number 7.  The number 7 is a very significant number in the bible.  It means completion.  Once I complete Ironman Mont Tremblant, I would have completed all of the triathlon distances.  Furthermore, next year will be the third year of IMMT being held.  The number 3 represents the Holy Trinity and wholeness.  So in many ways the numbers are on my side! 

On a sadder note the medications that my mother is own for her Alzheimer’s is supposedly effective for two years. So in my mind I only have a two year window to knock this Ironman out.  I know there are new drugs on the horizon, but I don’t know if they will be available in 2 years or if they will help my mom.  Alzheimer’s is such an ugly and unpredictable disease.  It’s a thief that steals the mind of the one affected and steals the affected person away from his and her love ones.  With all this in mind, I decided on Mont Tremblant. 

I want my first Ironman to be a once in a lifetime experience.  From what I have heard from my friends and read on blogs, IM Mont Tremblant is one of Ironman’s best races.  The location is spectacular and the people of Mont Tremblant are excited to have an Ironman event held there.  Furthermore, my coach, retired pro Karen Holloway, is Canadian.  She won Ironman Canada in 2005.  So by doing IM Mont Tremblant, it is my way to honor her.

IM Mont Tremblant will not just be about me, it will also be about the fight against Alzheimer’s on the behalf of my mother, those that are battling the disease, the caregivers, and the families affected.  I have teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Association of New York to become part of their Athletes to End Alzheimer’s team.  In the upcoming weeks I will begin fundraising to raise money to fund research and the services provided to caregivers and those afflicted with Alzheimer’s.  As my mom’s primary care giver, I know first-hand some of the resources the Alzheimer’s Association provides such as a 24/7 hotline, support groups, and a website that is a wealth of information.  My support group has been such a blessing to me.  They are helping me deal with the grief of daily losing my mom and showing me how to navigate through the world of Alzheimer’s.  Completing IM Mont Tremblant will have so much meaning for me.  I’m so excited to be on this journey.

As I began the planning process for this race I decided to email my second favorite female pro triathlete, Linsey Corbin (my coach is my favorite female pro triathlete).  Linsey had recently won IM 70.3 Mont Tremblant and I wanted some Ironman newbie advice.  Some people may think I was wasting my time emailing a pro, but I knew from a previous experience that Linsey would respond back.  And boy did she respond back in a big way.  Here is her response to me:

Hello Sabrina,

Thanks for taking the time to email and congratulations on signing up for IMMT! You couldn't have picked a more perfect venue for your first Ironman experience. I also think the first Ironman is one of the best – you don't know what to expect and the journey just to the start line is such a rewarding one.

I guess my advice for doing your first Ironman would be a few things:
1. Have fun with it - it's a long journey just to get to race day. Recruit some good training partners (a
masters swim group, or a group to do your long rides with) to share in the adventure with you. Training
partners will also help to keep you accountable when you lose a bit of motivation as well.

2. Find a plan - either find a coaching plan, or an online plan. I know that Purple Patch Fitness has premade Ironman plans for a reasonable price. Take out the guess work of when to ride and how hard to ride - get a plan and believe in it and follow it to help you attain your goals

3. Make a specific goal for the race besides "Just finishing" - having lots of mini goals along the way, sort of as stepping stones will help you stay on track to your ultimate race day goal.

4. Consistency is key. Try and be consistent both with your nutrition and your training. Consistency breeds success.

5. Ironman is much more than swim, bike and run - I would include some sort of strength/flexibility program, look at your nutrition, rest & recovery as well.

Have fun with the journey and I hope to see you along the way! Best wishes - I will be cheering for you!


Linsey Corbin

How amazing is that?!  I couldn’t believe she had given me such a detailed response.  That’s one of the things I love about triathlon – most of the professional triathletes are accessible!  

I’m thrilled to be on this journey and to share it with you.  I know I will face challenges and be pushed to and beyond my limits, but I know once I cross that finish line… will be worth it.

IMMT here I come!