I BLAME MIKE REILLY FOR ALL OF THIS!!!
i was recently asked "WHY BRASIL FOR YOUR FIRST IRONMAN?" and this wasn't the first time this question has come up, so i thought i'd take a second or two or million to tell you how this whole stupid idea came about in the first place. a "Declaration of Intent" if you will, or better yet, a "Declaration of Blame." i know i know. usually people write these up at the BEGINNING of training. hey, if it wasn't already clear that i do things outside the box and ass backwards, well here's your proof. so sue me...
let's go back to 2005 was it? yeah 2005. after competing in tris on my own for a few seasons, at the urging of some fellow marathoners, i joined LA Tri Club and soon after was attending my first banquet. they put these events on quarterly and bring in really awesome speakers. some have included the likes of Paula Newby-Fraser, Kate Major, Bob Roll (laughed my ass off all night) Macca (i was out of town. SO PISSED.), and Floyd Landis (very funny too considering all that he's endured). but the very first banquet i ever attended was an evening with Mike Reilly, "The Voice of Ironman." first off, i barely knew anything about Ironman other than that you had to be insane to even think about doing one let alone that there was "A Voice" to it all. turns out Mike has been announcing Ironman races all over the world for years and is the famous voice you here shouting " (insert poor, exhausted sap's name here) YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!" he gave a great talk, had us all laughing, told us stories about some funnier moments he's witnessed, some tragic ones too, but in the end, i still thought the same thing i did when i walked into that banquet that night: YOU HAVE TO BE INSANE TO THINK ABOUT DOING AN IRONMAN.
then after Mike was done talking he had a visor that he threw into the audience. mind you, it's a banquet hall of about 200 people, and everyone starts scrapping and clawing to get to where he ultimately threw it. now i was just sittin' in my seat, minding my own happy-to-be-doing-sprints-and-olys-thank-you business when the damn visor landed in my lap along with the smashed up faces and arms of about 6 triathletes all scrambling for it. I DIDN'T EVEN WANT IT. VISORS ARE SO NOT MY STYLE!!!
then through the rest of dinner, everyone starts pressuring me.
"you gonna keep it? i'll buy it off of you. you gonna get him to sign it? you HAVE to get him to sign it"
really? cuz it's just a visor. is it really that big a deal? ok, ok, i'll get him to friggin' sign it. pipe down!!! so i walk up to Mike Reilly.
MR: "hey, you caught my visor!!'
me: "actually, it kinda just landed in my lap."
MR: "give it here. i'll sign it for ya.."
me: "sure, ok."
MR: "which Race have you done?"
me: "which race?"
MR: "yeah, which Ironman?"
me: "uh, i've never done an Ironman."
MR: "you gonna do one next year?"
me: "uh, yeah, NO. and probably not the year after that or after that either. Ironman is for insane people."
MR (kinda joking, kinda condescending in that sing song voice getting higher tone) : "well ya know you can't wear this visor until you do an Ironman..."
me (to myself): "who does this guy think he is, Santa Claus? what, i gotta sit on his lap and play naughty or nice just to get him to sign this thing?? I DON'T WEAR VISORS AND I DIDN'T EVEN WANT THE THING!!! where's that guy who said he'd pay for it? now that it's signed i bet i can get more from him. FUCK IT. IT'S GOIN' ON EBAY TOMORROW MORNING."
it all started with a stupid visor
but i didn't sell it to the guy or on ebay. instead i stuck it in a drawer along with all the other free schwag i haven't decided to either throw out or sleep in. and there it sat for another year. i'd take it out every once in a while to look at the now illegible signature (someone spilled water on it later at the banquet) that used to read "Mike Reilly 'VOICE'". and i'd say to myself "fuck that guy!!! i can wear this visor if i want" but then i'd hear his voice in my head, chiding me because i didn't give a crap about Ironman, and i'd feel like a poser for wearing anything with the mdot logo on it. so back in the drawer it would go to collect dust bunnies.
cut to the following year, 2006. i'd done my first olympic distance at the end of the previous season and got the bug to GO HALF. BUT JUST A HALF!! OH GOD NEVER A FULL. i picked a race that happened to fall on my 35th birthday and had a blast training for it and finally racing it. i was amazed at the change in my fitness level, and somewhere on the bike in the middle of the race, i caught myself saying inside, "ya know, this ain't half bad. i might, JUST MIGHT, be able to pull off THE FULL MONTY!!!!" and there ya have it.
so i went for another season of 2 HIMS in '07, but knowing i needed to decide in advance which Ironman i'd want to do in '08. now i liken picking an Ironman race to buying a house. when you buy a house, there are 3 factors involved in the choice: PRICE, SIZE, and LOCATION. when you first set out to buy a house, you have to understand that you will compromise. you will only get 2 out of the 3, so it kinda breaks down to this:
GINORMOUS HOUSE IN POSH NEIGHBORHOOD = SELL YOUR SOUL TO THE BANK AND PRAY LIKE HELL YOU DON'T FORECLOSE.
SMALL ASS HOUSE IN SEMI-POSH NEIGHBORHOOD = SOMEWHAT MANAGEABLE MORTGAGE, BUT YOU'RE GONNA NEED A STORAGE SPACE
GINORMOUS HOUSE, 2-3 HOUR DRIVE TO WORK AND ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY = FARELY AFFORDABLE MORTGAGE
or you could go with my dream situation:
TINY BREADBOX IN THE GHETTO, A TEAR DOWN DISGUISED AS A FIXER UPPER = THE LAST GREAT STEAL!!!
hey i love my ghetto, i love my neighbors, i can afford my mortgage, and well, there's just barely enough room for me, my two dogs and THE FUCKER. 'nuff said.
so when you set out to pick an Ironman, there will most likely by 4 factors involved, maybe 5, but you will compromise on 1 out of 3 or even 2 out of 5. for me it was: COST, HILLS, HEAT, and TIME OF YEAR. i couldn't really bend on the timing. i coach 6 months out of the year for The Aids Marathon Program, and i didn't want to give that up. my season runs from early June to first week in December when my runners complete the Honolulu Marathon. coaching pretty much eats up my Saturdays which, up until Ironman was still fine, as i could usually fit in some sort of short to medium length workout later on Saturdays and could still race on Sundays, but this would never work for THE FULL MONTY. so i started base in November during my last month of coaching when workouts weren't stupid long yet, and then it ramped up as soon as the coaching season wrapped. this had me mostly training through winter, but i'm fortunate to live in SoCal where "winter" is a relative term, and this winter proved to be mild. basically, i think i rode in some rain ONCE the entire training (sorry TEA and everyone else to the north or to the east). TIME OF YEAR=SOLVED.
next was HILLS. with cycling being my limiter and this fine, black thang pretty much weighing down the whole two-wheeled experience, i was deathly afraid of hills. so Lake Placid (sorry Kim) and Canada (sorry Rainmaker) were out. come to find out i've really improved on the bike, and i don't suck as bad as i used to. in fact i love climbing, but um yeah, not so much for the majority of the 112 mile course. Brasil is not hilly, but it ain't flat either, and it can tend to be windy, but it all sounds manageable. HILLS=SOLVED
moving onto HEAT. this is again where i could not compromise. i have learned my lesson from my marathon experiences that i just fall apart in extreme heat. so yeah, when i watched IMAZ live and in person a few weeks back, i seriously wondered if i coulda made it under those conditions. just trying to knock out a 15 mile run while everyone was out on the bike course was absolutely miserable. no no, me and the heat do not get along. so while we're in Spring and moving towards Summer here in The States, south of the equator, IT'S FALL!!! yep, IM Brasil reports temps between the mid 60's to high 70's and recommends that all participants expecting to finish after dark should pack a long sleeve top in their special needs bag. SUWEEEEET!!! only caveat could be humidity, but that's what salt is for. i'll just have to pace myself and see how it's effecting me, but i can deal with humidity easier than heat. HEAT=SOLVED
lastly we have COST, and this is where i get screwed. i have chosen to travel to another country on another continent, requiring that i arrive 1 day early for every change of time zone (4 hour difference, thanks!!), visas, vaccinations, bike cases, the whole enchilada (or whatever yummy delicacy they eat in Brasil). i will also extend my trip (more on that soon) to a destination that is CASH ONLY. but ya know what? i may only do this once (not likely), so why not go all the way?? i wanna race somewhere that i really wanna travel to and explore, and no offense, but it ain't C'oeur D'Alene, Idaho (sorry EVERYONE!!), or for god's sake, Louisville, Kentucky (sorry suckas). i mean come on. Louisville Kentucky in August?? with my heat issues, i just peed my pants laughing when they announced that new gem of a location. so ok, COST is where i'm having to bleed a little, and i'm gonna be ok with it (more on that later too).
for some, the ocean swim might have been a consideration. maybe you're afraid of sharks or you live in a landlocked region where you've never even seen the ocean before, or maybe you prefer not to start your salt intake before you get on the bike? i grew up swimming in the ocean from the time i could say FUCK (about 3 i think), so it's second nature to me. in fact i like when the surf is big on race day, cuz it gives me a chance to get ahead of you skinny bitches who will inevitably pass my ass on the bike or later the run. so yeah, big ocean, bring it on, but even that isn't the case in Brasil. the swim takes place in a calm bay, nearly no surf, but possibly a current. JEALOUS YET??
some out there might venture to say that i've picked an "easy Ironman," and to them i say BITE.ME. it's an Ironman. is there really such a thing as easy?? if it were easy, everyone would be an Ironman. i picked what works for me.
so there you have it, peeps. let's review, shall we:
I'M DOING IT FOR A FRIGGIN' VISOR, AND I DO WEAR VISORS NOW, AND I WILL WEAR THAT STUPID AUTOGRAPHED VISOR UNTIL IT DISINTEGRATES FROM MY IRON HEAD.
THE WEATHER WILL BE RELATIVELY MILD.
THERE WILL BE LITTLE TO NO SURF AND SOME CURRENT IN THE OCEAN SWIM. NO SHARKS, BUT CORAL REEFS JUST BELOW AND POSSIBLY JELLY FISH.
IT WILL BE RELATIVELY FLAT ON THE BIKE WITH 4 SMALL HILLS, BUT POSSIBLY WINDY.
SAME ON THE RUN AS ON THE BIKE, BUT I BETTER BUNDLE UP FOR AFTER DARK.
APPARENTLY, THE AWARDS CEREMONY THE NEXT NIGHT IS OFF.THE.HOOK.
AND IF ALL GOES AS TRULY PLANNED, YOU CAN SHIP ME ALL O' MY SHIT, CUZ I AIN'T COMIN' HOME!!!! YOU PLANNIN' ON STAYIN' ON IN LOUISVILLE?? YEAH, DIN'T THINK SO...
hey, sucka. YOU.ARE.AN.IRONMAN!!! have a visor...