Friday, August 8, 2014

Ironman Goals

A very interesting, and dynamic, conversation is taking place right at this moment in facebook. Various opinions from a gamma of folks with what appears to be a world of difference in abilities and expectarions. In a nutshell, it all revolves around Ironman Goals.

I have chosen to move my opinion here because frankly, I have a bit more latitude and space to provide said opinion.

I agree 100% with the statement that no one should "sell themselves short". I did for many a year. If not for my coach pushing, pulling and dragging me, I wouldn't have set a more specific goal, one that was more than "I just want to finish".

I have to tell you that I have the world's best coach. I have been with him since the day after Ironman 70.3 Augusta. My first long distance triathlon. It was then and there that I realized I needed someone with a bit more expertise to help me navigate through this treacherous waters. No pun intended. He has taught me how to set goals that go beyond my perceived limitations; he has pushed me beyond my comfort zone.

Can anyone be a 12, 13 or 14 hour Ironman Triathlete? It depends on the athlete. If I were to chose for my Ironman Chattanooga goal to be 14 hours, much less any faster, I know I would fail. The most important element of a true goal is that it needs to be realistic. Realistic for me is 15 hours. I know my body, I know what it will take, I know what it can do and I know what I need to do to get it done. Each and every workout, I push a little bit further, because this "bit" is what's going to get me to my goal.

One of the most important roles of a coach is to be a motivator. We can't have one that tells us that we aren't good enough. A good coach should know how far to push and when to push. As much as a good coach should help us set those realistic goals.

I would love to win my age group. I would love to qualify for Kona. If I were to call Coach Barry and tell him that, he would immediately tell me that "we need to have lunch tomorrow".

Everyone means well. That I understand. I know that as triathletes we have learned to be motivators. We have learned that a little smack in the back of the head, or a swift kick in the seat of the pants is what we sometimes need, and we have learned to give that out when we deem it necessary. With that being said...

If I were to post on facebook that I'd like to win my age group, that I'd like to qualify for Kona, I am certain that I would get a tremendous amount of well intended encouragement from everyone. But what if I were to give you additional information. What if I were to tell you that I am 60 years young, or will be one week after Ironman Chattanooga, that I have been doing triathlons for 5 short years, that I am a consistent "middle of the pack" triathlete, that I have a bulging disk and another one herniated. What if I were to tell you that I've had two tumors removed from my left ankle and that after mile 15 of any race, it hurts like the dickens. Would you still give me the same encouragement? Would you think that my goal was a smart one? Attainable? Realistic?

Believe me is not for the lack of wanting it badly. Is not for the lack of desire or grit. Is just plain and simple... my body will not give that much. I know my limits. My coach knows my limits. We work within those limits.

I have improved in the past two years in the swimming and cycling disciplines. I maintain steady in the run. I have worked my tail off to improve on my Ironman Louisville time. And because of this, I have made my next Ironman Goal a sub 15 hours. Is this realistic and aggressive? For me, you betcha! Does this scare me? Yes, scares the hell out of me!

Please come over and "like" my facebook page for more Motivation and Inspiration on my "Journey Beyond Ironman".  Click here.