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 www.ironman.com. 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: https://scottlivingston.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/the-toughest-ten/

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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