2.4 mile swim. 112 mile bike. 26.2 mile run. In one day. That's the Ironman.
People often ask me why, as a 50-something, semi-good former athlete, I would put myself
through all that torture just to complete the race. I don't have a single answer for that. I have
many of them.
It's not a bucket list item. As somebody who is on the back nine of life, I can think of many
other fun things to do with the $750 entry fee than grind my way through close to 13 hours
of non-stop action to complete a 140-mile race.
For me, doing the Ironman is an annual celebration of life. It's another opportunity for me to
be thankful that I'm still healthy enough, at my age, to swim, bike, and run.
I don't have anything to prove. I squeezed out every ounce of energy and talent out of myself
in trying to be a success in baseball. I got a scholarship to UNC and played in the Boston Red Sox organization and don't have any regrets. It was a phase in my life that I enjoyed but it has long
Father Time is catching up to me, but doing the Ironman let's him know that running me down,
no matter how slow I may be, won't be all that easy.
People often want to tell me that doing the Ironman "can't be good for the body." Neither is alcohol,
junk food, and staying out all night. I'd rather break down because of over-exercising than over-
indulging in the poisonous things you put in the body.
I don't do the Ironman for the fancy medal awarded upon completion. I usually give the
hardware to my niece or nephew before it has a chance to be draped around my neck.
I do the Ironman to compete against the clock and challenge myself. As far as I'm concerned,
there is nobody else on the course, despite getting clubbed by elbows, arms, and feet during
the 2.4 mile swim.
I compete in the Ironman because I love swimming in open water. There are few things as
exhilarating as navigating your way through a course filled with 2,000 other competitors. You
can't see what's below you and the sight of mountains, trees, and the sunrise can be pretty
I do the Ironman because the energy and vibe of the event is truly incredible. It provides
an adrenaline rush that can last for weeks, as it did when I completed my first Ironman
in Lake Placid at the age of 50.
I love the Ironman because I get an up close and personal look at the human will and spirit
of others. I enjoy hearing their stories, where they are from, and why they do the Ironman. I
really believe anyone can do the Ironman. After all, most of us can run, bike, and swim. The
will to complete it is definitely the key.
I enjoy the mind games that come with completing the event. It truly is an oddesey for themind, which often tells you to quit and go home for good. I tried to quit forever after
completing my second Ironman in 2016.
Almost as soon as I crossed the finish line, I made a b-line to the pizza tent and finished
off an entire pie and then some. I announced my retirement to no one in particular and
didn't work out a single time for the next seven months.
But the Ironman sucked me back in. I couldn't do without it. Oh, it's not an addiction,
trust me. I'm not obsessive about it and have never followed a routine, hired a coach, or
watched every little thing that goes into my body. If I felt like doing a 100-mile bike, I
would do it. If I had a 10-mile run in me, I'd bust it, too. I've alway trained by 'feel' and made
sure not to overtrain or abuse my body.
I signed up with the Ironman in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec just under four months before
the race. I completed it for my fourth career Ironman.
This June, I'll travel to Boulder, Colorado for my fifth Ironman. Can't wait. The Ironman
doesn't consume me, but it is very much a part of me. And I love it.