Ironman Training 101: 12 Weeks to Race Ready

The last few weeks of iron man training have been a bit sporadic (with Spencer’s work deadlines and me doing translating when I get home from work), but now that Spencer has time he is back to training more regularly. Earlier last week, Spencer found out about a free unofficial half ironman race about three hours away. Friday afternoon we decided to give it a shot and Saturday morning we left the house at 3:30 AM to drive to Laurel Lake, KY.


7 AM at Laurel Lake. Do you see the white sign on the other side that the swimmers were supposed to sight off of? Yep, me neither. This is when I realized that I was going to be at least 30 minutes slower than the last swimmer and would probably get lost/disoriented in the fog, so I volunteered to photograph the swim instead. The fog eventually wore off, but I don’t regret that decision.

iron man training

The race organizers pointing out general direction of the swim markers still hidden by the fog.

unofficial ironman swim start

7:15 AM They’re off! Spencer is on the far left. With water about 85 degrees and smooth as glass, this was pretty close to perfect swim conditions.

Laurel Lake, KY

How gorgeous is this lake?

open water swimming

The second turn.



laurel lake iron man

7:55 AM done with the swim! Spencer beat his goal by two minutes. Not bad for his first ever open water swim.

iron man bike

Next up: Hills on the bike.

We haven’t trained on hills, so this was more of a challenge. Spencer kept up with the group and did not get lost. I started later and planned to do about half the distance they were covering. Then I ran into bees, was chased by dogs, and got lost twice. I finally met up with the group at the last water stop as they were coming back. With about 9 miles left, I started up the steepest hill of the course and as I was switching gears my chain snapped. (I think I cross-chained). Like I’ve said before, time seems to slow down when you realize that you can’t clip out fast enough and see the ground slowly rising up towards you. I was going slowly, so it was mostly just my pride that was hurt. And then I had to walk a few miles with my bike before someone was able to pick me up… but the race went on and by the time that I got back Spencer was on the run. Spencer ran the middle five miles with me–which made me feel more apart of the race–before he sped up again to complete the last stretch.

Spencer Reynolds

2:15 PM. Finishing strong with a time of exactly 7 hours. That is 1:15 hrs faster than two months ago. Not a bad PR.

BAM racing

The seven finishers plus the support

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  • Alvin Van Orden

    Bees?!? Yikes. I got lost on our little sprint triathlon we organized. (So impressed by a half ironman.) Getting lost is lame. And biking is my least favorite part of the triathlon anyway because it’s so equipment dependent. Looks like a fun course though. Cool that you found a small group to do it with, much better than the crowded kind where you get kicked by other swimmers.


      Yeah not my best day, but it was great for Spencer to do a race with other people. The best part was definitely that it was free:)