Posted by: pursuingsub17 | September 17, 2012

Ironman – is it the name or the distance you care about most?

Well, I did it. Signed up for my first iron distance race three weeks ago today. I’m still miserable and depressed and haven’t been working out much. When I do, I’m exhausted. 4 mile runs are all I can handle. My friend climbed a big hill on her mountain bike out of the saddle and beat me to the top. By the time I got up there, she was off her bike, having a little rest and my legs were on fire. She doesn’t do triathlons – she doesn’t bike much. Yet she out biked me up a big, long climb.

Anyway, back to what I was originally talking about and meant to update for the last couple weeks. Penticton was beautiful as always. The race was perfect for Marc. Great weather. Not too hot – not too windy and no rain. He did well on the swim (I got to strip his wetsuit!) 1:14 and a bit. He had the best bike ever but tanked 10km into the run. He felt sick – nauseated – and had to walk the rest of the way. But he still did well. Came in under 15 hours! Unfortunately, due to some delays in the massage tent and the fact they took away his silver blanket, he started to get cold and wound up in the medical tent because they thought he was in shock. Good grief.

But the next day was a great one. I made up my mind that I didn’t care if Ironman Canada was no longer and it was going to be Challenge Penticton. I love Penticton. I love the people and the course is a great challenge (no pun intended). When I first found out from Marc the day before I flew down that there would not be an Ironman, I have to admit, I was put out. I wanted the “M-dot” tattoo on my leg! I wanted to be branded an Ironman. But after finding out about the history behind the Challenge group – very big in Europe – I wanted to give them a chance.

You see, not all of us think it’s about the name. An iron distance race is still the same distance. It’s still an amazing feat to conquer and you can wear that badge of honour proudly. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that. It’s the distance. It’s hammering it out for 15+ hours, crawling across the finish line few minutes before midnight and wearing a finisher’s medal that not a lot of people have. So it’s not Ironman. It’s the same course, same distance…and it’s Penticton. I’m known for supporting the underdog. I want to give the new kid a chance. Some people don’t like inaugural races – but I think it’ll be a cool thing 20 years from now and people at the gym or out for a run see my Challenge Penticton tattoo and they say, “wow! you were at that first race?”

I know it will still be fully supported by the town – the same volunteers who volunteered for Ironman for 30 years. There might be a few hiccups – but that’s okay. There were ALOT of hiccups at Ironman last year (like running out of water on the steep climbs in 40 degree heat). There were hiccups this year – such as not selling athlete dinner tickets to family and not finding out until you got to the door. There was a lot of miscommunication happening.

I’m not going to knock Ironman. The “M-dot” is a famous, well recognized symbol and I still would have signed up for next year had they continue to be Ironman Canada Penticton. There’s something about hearing your name followed by “You are an Ironman!” But a name is just a name. Anyone who has never fathomed running even 5km will be impressed if you say you swam 3.8km, biked 180km and ran 41.1km…all in one day and under 17 hours. It doesn’t matter what the name is – and it won’t in another 10 years or so. It’s the distance (or the journey!) that counts for me!

Now I have to get out of my rut. Just so damn tired still….or I’m homesick for Penticton. But I have a lot of training to do. And I have some new resolutions as well. Time to git ‘er done!



  1. You have a lot of time before the race…no matter what it is called. Set small goals along the way so that you don’t get bored or burnt out. You will do it because you can just tell from your blog that you do not quit. Good luck!

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