First of all, my brother is leaving on his church mission soon. This means that I lose my free computer programmer for the next two years. So please be patient with this site while we try to work out some of the kinks and switch up the design before he goes.
Second, here is last weekend’s story. It is a little longer than normal. Next post we’ll be back to flashy pictures.
Last summer, on a whim I grabbed A Life Without Limits: Chrissie Wellington off the library shelf. Suddenly it seemed like we kept running into half or full ironman finishers. One fall weekend, Spencer and I spent the evening youtubing extended race highlights. We both agreed that the race looked cool (and painful), and toyed with the idea of maybe doing one in the distant future. We could start exercising every day when we went back to school in January, and then maybe work up to doing a full race in a year or two.
January and February actually went fairly well, we met my sister and the cousins in the gym every morning, but then March hit. Spencer had field trips coming up and final projects due. I got sick. People stopped coming and our group fell apart.
Fast forward to late May when we moved back to Cincinnati. We realized that we’ll probably have more free time this summer than ever again.
1. We don’t have children or church callings.
2. We’ve already explored
all most of Cincinnati.
3. Most of last year, including last summer, was spent indoors which was hard on both of us.
4. Spencer doesn’t get every other Friday off like last year, so long road trips are no longer an option.
So three weeks ago we started exercising every day. We planned to sign up for a triathlon when we both felt ready and when we knew where in the world we were going to be/move after this internship finishes.
Then Spencer ran into a friend from our old church group. Spencer mentioned that we were training and possibly doing a race this fall, and the friend advised him to jump on it because it is extremely rare that there are still spots available this late in the year.
I didn’t feel like we could register for the race until Spencer had at least done a half ironman. Completing a full ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) sounded unrealistic when the longest distance he’d biked was 12 miles, and the longest distance he’d run was 6 miles in the last four years. And the biking and running weren’t even on the same day.
Spencer suggested, “Then I’ll run a half. This Saturday. Two days from now”.
Me: But you have to promise that you’ll stop at the first sign of anything bothering you. It isn’t worth getting injured.
And then I started worrying. And half tried to to talk him out of it. As the only one of us who had run a half marathon before and knows a little about what goes into it, and as someone who is currently still working up to running three miles without stopping, I wasn’t sure how the “law of the harvest” was going to pan out. On the other hand, I had also recently listened to Natalie Portman’s Harvard Commencement Speech and had some of her ideas running through my head:
“Make use of the fact that you don’t doubt yourself too much right now. As we get older, we get more realistic…and that realism does us no favors. People always talk about diving into things that you’re afraid of, that never worked for me… Fear protects us in many ways. What has served me is diving into my own obliviousness. Being more confident than I should be…it can be a good thing, if it makes you try things that you never would have tried. Your inexperience is an asset and will allow you to think in original and unconventional ways. Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset.”
So, Spencer started off on his self-timed race Saturday morning.
And he finished within the allotted half ironman time.
1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run.
If he’d been running an official race, he would have made the cutoffs with time to spare.
He was tired, and probably wouldn’t recommend that anyone else do that with so little training, but he came out smiling.
This past week, besides taking a few days off to recover, we’ve talked to several people about their ironman experiences. There is quite the range of participants–from a guy who walked most of the run section, to our cousin Julie who recently dominated her race. Everyone we’ve talked to has two things in common: They trained enough to earned the ironman finisher title and they highly recommend the experience.
Yesterday, we finally decided to sign Spencer up!!! It is easier to train when you have a firm goal in mind and we want to put some serious time in this summer. One of the few Saturday races left this year also happens to have a few open slots, and be close to where Spencer’s parents live. See you in November, Panama City!
Anyone want to join him?