Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ironman Florida--2013

With the completion of my Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report, albeit 4 months late, it is now time to officially close the book on that huge accomplishment and look towards the next.  My sister and I have kicked around the idea of doing another Ironman in 2013.  Sister missed the bike cutoff by mere minutes during IMCDA and she is looking for redemption. 

I was considering Lake Tahoe, Canada, Wisconsin and Arizona as possible venues.  They all have their challenges in their own right, aside from being an Ironman event!  Since Gretchen lives in San Diego and the way the calendar was shaping up, Ironman Arizona at the end of November 2013 looked like a great selection.  The event is very popular and we heard it is a kick-ass event since it is the last one of the year in North America.  WTC really throws a great party.  But Arizona was also towards the end of November and in the training cycle, we would be doing our major build up when the weather was turning cold and rainy in the northwest.  Not the best time to be doing 6 hour bike rides and 3 hour runs.

So we looked a bit closer at Ironman Florida.  It is the first weekend of November, this will put our training peak about October 13 or so, still decent weather usually.  IMAZ is usually very cold in the morning of the event and the swim is in a city canal that can be kind of merky.  IMFL is usually warmer in te 50's at start time and the swim is in the Gulf of Mexico from a white sandy beach.  Although an ocean swim with waves, current and that despicable salty taste, it will be much better, plus less crowded. 

On the IMFL bike course, two very important features make it attractive--A single 112 mile loop as opposed to the 3-loop course of IMAZ; and approx. 300 feet of elevation gain at IMFL over IMAZ's 3,000+!  It is pancake flat!  This will benefit sister as the hills at IMCDA (6,000+) were very tough.

The run course is a two-loop course that is spectator friendly and will finish right in the heart of Panama City Beach, FL.  This event makes more sense and so we decided to jump in!

It was amazing waitng for the registration to open online.  These events sell out as soon as they open.... often within hours.  We had to be sitting at our computers when the registration opened and right when the clock switched to noon Central Time, the registration icon appeared and I clicked it!  Sister and I got in!  To our astonishment, the event sold out of General Entries in less than 1 hour!

So what will it mean to train and complete my 3rd Ironman?  Here are just a few items....

1.  I always want to have something big on the horizon as a testament to my new lifestyle, to keep me accountable and to remind me of the dream that "Anything is Possible."

2.  I know I can do better!  I know I can go faster!  I want to break the 14-hour time barrier.  I would be more elated if I could bust through the 13-hour barrier, but that would require massive work.  On paper, that could theoretically happen, but paper and Ironman race day are two different animals.

3.  Share in my sister's success!  I want us to stand side-by-side with our toes in the sand, on the starting line of IMFL!  And then I want to be there when she finishes and Mike Reilly announces, "Gretchen Ruff.... you are an IRONMAN!!!"

4.  I want to enjoy the training cycle.  It is the toughest part about the Ironman, just getting to the starting line.  But this time I really want to enjoy the training.  I want to work hard and see the results and improvements.  I want to be more accountable to my diet and what I put into my body.

There are a few other reasons and goals that I have mulling around in my brain... not ready to put them down on paper yet, but let me just say that I am excited for this amazing opportunity to experience another Ironman and to share it with the people I love.

Thank you all for your continued support. :-)

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