Ironman Hawaii Pre-Race Update

This week is a big week. On Saturday, beginning at 7:00 A.M. Hawaii time (1:00 P.M. EST/5:00 P.M. GMT) is the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

I’ve been preparing for this all year. I have two full Ironman events under my belt. I did Lake Placid in 2009 and I did Brazil in May, where I qualified through the Ironman XC program. In addition to the full Ironman’s, I’ve done several half Ironman’s as well, including Timberman 70.3 back in August.

Ironman XC is a great group of athletes who juggle jobs with significant leadership responsibilities and high level triathlon training. In addition to that, I juggle family responsibilities, non-profit community service, and a host of other things. Somehow, I squeeze it all in. In Hawaii, I am battling 25 other CEO’s, business owners, and business leaders along with the rest of the folks in the 35-39 age group. The work/life balance issue is core to who I am.

On race day, live Internet coverage will be available at They have done some cool things with the home page for race week and there is a lot to keep you occupied should you like to read up on the race and the sport. You can track athletes by name or bib number, which is 1958. There are more than 1800 total registrants including 120+ professional triathletes.

If you are really curious or just detail oriented (like me), you can read the Athlete’s Guide.

I recently read 17 Hours to Glory about the history of Ironman Hawaii. I had a hard time putting it down. There are other good books about triathlon, but this one is focused on Ironman Hawaii.

A lot of preparation has gone into this race. My training really started on Christmas Day 2009 as I began the buildup to Brazil.  Debbie and the kids have been super supportive, as have my colleagues at Horst Engineering.

Last year, I blogged about the toughest races that I have done:

I will update it at the end of this year, likely with two new entries (Brazil and Hawaii). Since I don’t want to knock an event off the list, I’ll probably change it to the Difficult Dozen, at least until 2011.

Many people ask me why I do this endurance sports stuff. At this point in my life, I don’t know anything different. Fortunately, I found the sports that I love to do. It is even better that Debbie enjoys them even more. I’ve been a bit of a reluctant triathlete. I come from a running and cycling background, and just discovered swimming in 2009. I needed to try something different and triathlon seemed like a fresh challenge. I had done sprint adventure races, kayak triathlons, and a couple of difficult duathlons. The swimming presented a new challenge. The bonus is that few types of exercise are as good for you as swimming.

The reluctance isn’t all related to the swimming. Years ago, I became disenchanted with the road cycling scene. The amount of training required to avoid “getting dropped” was too much. I needed to go at my own pace and not be frustrated with the sport. Factor the attitudes that are prevalent in road cycling, the occasional crash, and the awful professional scene (a sham), and I had several reasons to migrate towards more grassroots sports. Triathlon, at this level, isn’t grassroots.

Trail running is the best representation of what I’m referring to. The events are as low-key as you get, especially in New England. Of course, when you seek events, you are asking for trouble. Eventually, any sport that grows (e.g. cyclocross) becomes less grassroots oriented than it was. Sometimes, that moniker is no longer applicable.  In my long sporting career, which includes more than 750 events, there is no bigger race (so far) than Ironman Hawaii. It is quite  spectacle. Ultimately, I’m doing this race for the  physical and mental challenge. It is what I do, but only part of what I do.

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Little D passed her second of three #taekwondo #blackbelt tests. The third, and biggest, is in October. #tkd #sunset #md90 🌞✈️ #echoamphitheater #carsonnationalforest #newmexico Stopping to stretch our legs and use the potty was the best $2 I've spent in a while. I even borrowed a nickel from @trailrunningmom and got rid of the 95 cents in my pocket. Amazing #durango #colorado trails. These are the #HorseGulchTrails near @fortlewiscollege which has an amazing #cycling culture. When I raced collegiates @bcclubcycling & @bucycling in the early 90's, it wasn't anything like what's happening with the powerhouse @flccycling team. What an amazing backyard. Imagine rolling out of your dorm and onto this landscape. I would never go to class! Don't tell my kids I said that! #mountainbiking #cyclocross #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstspikes 🚵‍♀️ @trailrunningmom finished in 41 hours and 1 minute. #hr100 #hardrock100 #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #trailrunning #ultrarunning #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom left the Chapman Aid Station at 2:10 P.M. I paced her from Ouray (56.6 miles) to Chapman (82.2 miles). @ultramarathondan will take her to the finish of the @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 Most importantly, she is in good spirits and despite the altitude, is moving OK on the climbs, albeit slowly. As for the descents, her legs are trashed but she is still bombing them. Finish could be in the 40-42 hour range if all goes well. Who knows? Lots of variables! Fingers crossed. I have tons of photos to go through, so I selected one of our crew with Deb as she headed out for the final 18 miles. #trailrunning #ultrarunning #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports We finally reconnected with @trailrunningmom She arrived at Grouse Gulch, 42.2 miles at 8:33pm and departed at 8:50pm. She was soaked to the bone after climbing her first ever 14,000 foot peak. Handies had lots of hail and rain. She changed every piece of clothing and shoes and felt much better. The drive to/from was white knuckle insanity with our rental. @ultramarathondan is with her now. It will be a long night. I'll see her in Ouray. Our kids  have been awesome. Mom just wants to finish, but a long way to go. @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 #trailrunning #ultrarunning 🏃🏻⛰

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