Thanks for your patience last night.
Thanks to our awesome panelists!
The Ironman Seminar Handout is here:
This is a good read. I read this when I went to the same seminar a few years ago. I'm reading this now and it's funny how you can relate/appreciate more to it after you've done one. Either way, if you have an IM in your head, it puts a little smile on your face to be able to relate to this on some level.
Interesting summary - Would be interested to know if there are any Moms out there with elementary school kid(s) contemplating an Ironman. I have had enough push back from family simply training for 70.3. The memo states the difficulty of being single and doing an IM - trying throwing a kid and a husband and a FT job into the mix and it becomes a sleep deprived relationship anxiety plagued disaster. Would be curious to know if a Mom has conquered all this.
This is a Facebook quote from a DCTri member and 4x Ironman finisher Michael Leshnower. It has nothing to do with what went on during the seiminar but seems appropriate for this discussion. When he was told that with money and enough free time to train, most lay people can do an Ironman. His response was:
"I hear you on the $ and time, but you know there's a certain state-of-mind (some might call it "insanity") required to do any triathlon, let alone an Ironman."
This rings quite true once you've started the journey and becomes more true once you've completed one.
One thing that was not discussed was the post-IM blues or as I like to call it 'OFF-SEASON'. I would definitely have chimed in on that topic unless Amanda hushed me again.
Someone who ran track in COLLEGE should not comment on how easy running is. That is not the norm.
I'm just sayin'.
Not only did I run track, I also ran cross country and have done 30 marathons (Beantown 5x). Ah' em!
And thank you for proving my point of why you might not be the most impartial person to talk about running.
After reading the handout, I'm curious if anyone came away from the seminar NOT wanting to do an Ironman.
As a 5x IM vet - retired since 2007 - I've been thinking about signing up for IM Wisconsin next year. However, after reading the handout, if I didn't have a supportive partner and a good idea of how to go about training for it, I'd be a 'no'. The negatives listed far outweigh the positives:
- Self-indulgent, obsessive, tired, weak, gaunt, expensive, time consuming, etc.. all just you can say "yaaa I finished; look at me!" I don't want to be 'that b*tchy spouse or co-worker" for 6-12 months with racoon goggle eyes icing my ITB while napping Costanza-style at work because I've been up since the butt crack of dawn. I'm sure the handout doesn't address everything that was covered/said, so maybe more convincing reasons to do an IM were given.
I've enjoyed the time away from tris immensely even though I found other endurance events to fill the void. Maybe the narcissist in me needs some attention.
Again, just curious on the yea/nay of attendees.
Jen - I can't give you a response based on yesterday's session because (surprise!) I was doing my long run workout for the week. However, I read this years handout and attended the '09 session when trying to figure out if jumping from 1/2- to full-IM distance races in '10 was a good idea. (Oh, and I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express a few months ago.)
I agree with your sentiment that the material in the handout, and frankly, some of the discussion during the ('09) session, could make an attendee decide to not enter a 140.6 race. I think that's a good thing. Most of the things you see/read/hear about triathlon has the "you can do it -- it's not as hard as you think!" attitude. For sprints and oly's, I think that's perfectly appropriate, because it's true. However, I don't think you can decide to enter an IM race without your eyes wide open about the demands of training and race prep. If the IM session was just a pep rally, that would be a disservice to the attendees.
I think the session was especially helpful because lots of material out there on IM training (e.g., Byrn, Friel) assumes that you have unlimited hours to train, and that you live in San Diego, with perfect weather and a choice of outdoor 50m pools to use year-round. Knowing that if you work full-time, you can make it work, but there will be compromises, is something that is important to hear.
If, after seeing the $$ in fees, spent vacation days, loss of friends/family time, and high-milage workout weeks written out on paper in front of you, you still want to enter an IM, you probably have the attitude mentioned above, or are such a pollyanna that nothing anyone says will convince you that at multiple points before race day, you will suffer, and it won't be pretty. Is it worth it? Ask me on Sept. 13.
My opinion: I have enjoyed the bejeezus out of training for another IM this summer. The handout, by itself, seems to imply that the IM training is a burden.
Like I tell people who ask, "It's only painful if you don't enjoy it."
When I used to play golf six days a week, I never said, "Crap I have to go play again." It's the same way with the IM stuff. I think the combination of the handout and what the panelists say gives a better picture than either on its own.
I didn't go to this seminar but did back in 2008. The materials/messages in the handouts back then were almost identical to the one in this thread. The document, the good and the bad, does paint a realistic picture of IM stuff but it doesn't paint the entire picture of the seminar. The panelists, audience, and handouts are what make the seminar. To get the complete picture you have to take those three parts in their totality.
What makes the seminar beneficial to me were not only what the panelists had to say but the fact that you were sitting in the same room with a bunch of strangers who had the same passion and IM goal as you. It was very inspiring. If I could sign up for an IM after the seminar back then, I would have done it on the spot. I suspect the vast majority of the people who went to this seminar probably felt the same.
It would be a disservice to only tell folks about IM stuff in a rah rah anyone can do it kind of way. For example, if you are a recent college graduate with tons of loans, credit card bills, and a job that does not pay much, an IM might not be the best thing for you to do at this point in your life. The stuff is freaken expensive. If you have relationship problems, this might not be the best thing for you to do at the moment. The stuff is freaken time consuming.
I think that the overwhelming majority of people who goes to seminars like this have already made up their minds. They've done all the online readings and research. Even if the panelists say that it was the worst experience of their lives, I think that it wouldn't sway many people from not doing it. The mindset of people who pursue this is deranged.
I signed up for my second IM before I completed my first. I signed up for my third IM before I've completed my second. The reason was simple. I enjoy the training and the lifestyle. It's not a sacrifice to me ... kind of like what Brad was eluding to. At the same time, it's not for everyone. I think that was the underlying message of the document and the negative points that it presented.
Tuan, you hit the nail on the head. You have some awesome points. I didn't do my first IM until I had quit coaching track and finished my MS degree. You gotta figure out the right time to do one. Heck, it took me 20 years after watching Julie Moss crawl to the finish for me to finally complete my first IM. Now, the tattoo thing is another story.
Maybe for next year, the IM Seminar should be set up right before one of the IMs open up and maybe even have a couple of laptops set up so people can sign up. Especially with the bar being available, there would definitely be a group headed to one of the IMs.
Going to wade into this as far as process is concerned. It is good to hear comments on the handout, which means that hopefully more of you will get involved at a deeper level.
As far as the seminar, the board and the event team has full input into the set up. All you have to do to influence the process is get involved and volunteer. And be proactive.
Thanks to Ed, Andrea, and Matt by the way for their help real-time at the seminar, being pro-active and positive.
As far as the handout, this is pretty much the same handout we gave last year, and some of the thoughts are similar to the one we gave the year before. The handout was open to the board to edit, volunteer staff to edit, and the ironman seminar panelists to edit (thanks to Google Docs and wseb 2.0). That is about 20 people who had the opportunity to influence the document. Recommend that next year,(whoever puts this togetheer) open it up to folks who volunteered but weren't chosen as panelists due to space and head count - that more people to influence the document. As usual, we do things in a collaborative nature. When things are not in a collaborative nature are when we ask for folks to collaborate, and they don't respond. So I'm sure the folks who put this event together next year will put out the call again. Hopefully more of you will get involved in the future. Thanks.
Simon (and others) - just to be clear, I found the seminar and handout extremely valuable - just wanted to point out that the "reality check" aspects of both are just as important as the pep really aspects.
Oh sure thanks. Comments for the content are welcome and fun to read. Comments against the content are welcome and fun to read. Comments that it's crap are welcome and really fun to read.
Just want to ensure you have the avenue to influence, in case you are thinking "x" and that you feel that it should be in the document, mentioned in the seminar, etc.
And of course to encourage your participation. Thanks.
Jen, FYI, Crossfit Endurance sounds pretty cool and possibly another avenue for lots of folks.
One thing to add which I found to be fundamentally important to both a successful IM distance tri and keeping the rest of your life in some sort of balance while undertaking the significant training demands: managing your expectation(s).
I know there are only so many people who can be panelists and only so much time you have at a venue to put on such an event, so I like the idea of the handout. It can include what was talked about and as much info as possible that there wasn't time for, or going into more detail about certain topics. I do like the addition of a sample weekly plan for each person, too.
But even morunner66 mentioned here earlier "I have had enough push back from family simply training for 70.3." I know this is looking ahead a bit to the next seminar, but either have a panelist who has had to deal with push back - spouse (non tri) + kids + job(s) - or include their story in the handout. Helpful information for those who couldn't make the discussion if there was someone with that situation on the panel. It would give them someone to reach out to.
Additionally, include a list of resources - local coaches people have used, websites (other than this one, of course), and books that are helpful in planning their race schedule or just about getting more involved in the sport in general.
Brendan stated in a previous thread (re: IM CdA) that he felt that he had to give up CrossFit in order to train for an Ironman. Why? There are ways around it and your life shouldn't be about giving things up just to do an IM or HIM. That’s what I saw was lacking was how much your IM-training-life revolves around SBR and how the rest of your life is compromised. But as Gary stated, you have to find that balance. It would be great to see more of that balance explained in the handout if it was (hopefully) covered in the discussion.
I hope those in attendance and those who read the handout got some good information - good and bad - about what it's like to do an IM (it aint' all gumdrops and unicorns). I know this is not the be all end all of life while training for an Ironman.
This is a great discussion and, again, great information that's been made available to the club. Many thanks for compiling it. I hope there are some takeaways here that can be used for future seminars.
Debi B, the coach for the club's new ironman program, had some good anecdotes to share at the seminar, from her own life and those of some of her clients, about relative importance of spouse/partner support and also the challenging question of throwing children into the mix. It might be worth contacting her for specific questions in this area.
For me personally the spouse support question has not been an issue. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I did my first triathlon to impress a guy who dared me. Then I married him.
I was one of the panelists for the seminar, though, and I learned a lot from both the other panelists and the audience members. One of the common themes was that there are as many ways to do and train for ironman as there were people in the room, and what works for one may be the totally wrong approach for another.
For me, for example, it would make no sense at all to train for ironman triathlons if I didn't simply see it as a heck of a lot of fun. The enjoyment I get out of meeting new people, spending time outdoors, and pushing myself outside my own comfort zone has completely enriched the quality of my life. Not to mention that a cold beer tastes all that much better.
This is a reply specifically to the mom question above, as well as a general response. I've done two IMs (and been on this panel in the past), and have Debi B as my coach, so I do a lot of volume work! I did both IMs training with my now-husband but before kids. We have a 1-year old now, and I can unequivocally say that I doubt I will do another IM until kids are at least in high school. I work full time, and while my job is somewhat flexible, it is not flexible enough to do the long workouts required to be ready during the week. This would leave the weekends, which is when I get to spend a lot of time with my daughter. I can't imagine trading this time with her to do a 6-hour bike and then be too exhausted/cranky to play with her/go to soccer games/shuttle to b-day parties, etc. The problem is that cutting down on the training makes for a miserable IM race experience, and cutting down on the family time makes for miserable children and spouse. I know there are people who do IMs and have kids, but I am not sure how and know that I am not willing to make the trade-offs I would have to to feel prepared on race day. Just my 2 cents...