CoronaMan 140.6 – Stay-At-Home Edition

My mama says that stupid is as stupid does.

– Forrest Gump

With the race season up-in-the-air, motivation to train with purpose has been dwindling.  I’ve unlocked every Zwift cycling and running level, re-watched the entire Breaking Bad series, playing lots of FIFA and GTA, and have viewed countless Seahawks and Mariners re-runs on YouTube.

I needed something big to accomplish… something I’ve never done before.

This past weekend would have been Ironman St. George, but due to the pandemic it has been postponed.  I was fit and ready to tackle my new old man age group. Not to let my fitness go to waste, I decided to do a three-day Ironman distance virtual race with myself, with one main caveat: break 9 hours … a feat I have not accomplished in real life.  I also tried to replicate the St. George conditions/terrain (hilly) as much as possible.

Additional ground rules for this virtual endeavor:

  • Once activity begins, any breakage time counts towards total time.
  • Distances must be completed in three consecutive days.
  • No drafting on the bike (TT on Zwift) and weigh in required for most realistic virtual bike experience.
  • All events must be done social distancing and away from any crowd (besides wife and doggies).
  • No results posts on social media; this was strictly for myself.

Pre-race: Costco pizza and food supply run event.

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Racing grounds:

 

Friday- (2.4 Mile Swim):  This consisted of multiple loops around Five Mile Lake.  My feet, hands, and face went numb from the coldness after the first lap but I maintained a good effort. Since this was a non-sanctioned USAT race, I wore my underwater MP3 player and listened to emo tunes. I was greeted at my dock upon finishing with a warm tea and a towel my lovely wife and pups.

4,227 yards in 59:13.

T1: A long, hot shower shower, a fishing date, and a good night’s sleep, it was time to tackle the bike leg.

Saturday- 112 mile Bike: Trying to replicate the St. George course as much as possible (in terms of vertical elevation gain), I picked the PRL London Full Zwift course .  I rode more at a “70.3 effort” as I pushed it much harder than I would at a real Ironman.  Knowing I didn’t have to run immediately after, my goal was to drain the tank and give it my best time trial effort to yield the fastest result.  Just like an Ironman, I experienced some low moments where I felt a little bonky.  Becca came to the rescue with some Coke, salted potatoes, and some potato chips.

Bike graph.JPGI spent 1.5 million “drops” (Zwift currencty) on these aero wheels:

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5:00:23, 7608 feet of climbing, with no breakage time, on the rollers.

T2: After a massage, lots of whining, and many naps in the Normatecs, it was time to participate in the Zwift Watopia Marathon.

Sunday- 26.2 Mile Run: I did the math. I needed a 3:00:23 treadmill marathon to accomplish my goal.  My nemesis, Adam Folts, joined in on the fun as we toed the Zwift Watopia Marathon start line Sunday morning. We were out for war.

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Multiple towels, gels, ice, water bottles, and a Coke were set up right next to me to ensure I ran the entire race without any rest or breaks. I even wore my fancy Nike shoes for the showdown.  They are my magic shoes. They can take me anywhere.

Due to a “virtual glitch”, Adam did not start right away.  I took advantage of this as I took off and tried to build an insurmountable lead.  I was well ahead of my goal time through 13.1 miles but my lead to Adam was down to a handful of seconds.

We took turns ramping the treadmill speed up and down as the leads shifted many times in the next several miles.  The fun and games soon turned into much more torture than I anticipated. I was digging myself into a much bigger hole than I wanted.  Becca left me alone as she could sense my crabbiness due to my moronic actions.  Instead, she watched me virtually in the other room on the big screen.

I let out some curse words as Adam started toying with me.  The somewhat reasonable 6:40ish pace to start turned into low 6-minute paces on the back half of the marathon.  I am a moron, I kept telling myself.  Stupid is as stupid does.

Mile 20 – Treadmill at 10.0 mph and I could feel my calf start cramping up.  Adam’s lead slowly grew as I had flashbacks of our 2017 Phoenix Marathon duel.  He was about 30 seconds ahead on the virtual roads of Watopia.  I tried hanging on, but his lead grew larger and larger.  I began to weep.

I passed a competitor in the last few miles to finish just behind Adam.  I was spent.  I was soon greeted with my Ironman finishing medal handmade by Becca.  I AM AN STAY-AT-HOME IRON MAN!

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2:51:53 (6:33 pace) , a treadmill marathon PB.

8:51:29 total virtual Ironman time.

A video montage Becca compiled of my stay-at-home Ironman:

Although my transition times need work, it gave me confidence I can someday possibly break nine hours in an actual race. This event was fun because I took all three disciplines at a slightly higher intensity than I would in a real life race (where you have to complete them all in consecutive order).

While it seemed stupid at the time, this three-day Ironman gave me some closure on races being postponed/cancelled and it was a great way to celebrate my hard work preparing for St. George.  I know many people struggling to find motivation to train right now.  My advice: pick a big feat that you’ve never accomplished before that can be safely done at home, train hard for it, have fun, and get it done.

My next endeavor: A 200 mile ride on Zwift? 15K lake swim? Costco hot dog eating contest?  The list of stay-at-home feats is endless during these unprecedented times.  These accomplishments may seem seem crazy and stupid, but like Mama Gump put it: What’s normal anyways?

So, good night, God bless, God bless America, stay home, and be safe.

 

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Categories: Race Report, Races

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