What the hell even is an Ironman? Well I’m here to give you a little insight into what is is and how my little project is coming along!
- (Especially is a sporting context) an exceptionally strong or robust man
- A multi event sporting contest demanding stamina in particular a triathlon involving swimming, cycling and running.
Cheers Google, fairly accurate.
However in my quest to become an Ironman, through conversations with my non-triathlon affiliated friends/family/clients I’ve been called far from the above, more close to the following:
I’ve been looked up and down with a strange look on people’s face, as if to say – You?! How?!
I’ve had people say that I don’t have a typical triathletes body type.
I’ve been told that they are extremely expensive.
Mostly commonly I get asked why? Why would you want do that?!
These comments and questions are also somewhat accurate.
So here is what I believe Ironman is all about…
The breakdown of the day, 3.8km swim, 180km bike & 42.2km run. Easy as that right? Well I’d like to say yes, but I truly believe that the day will be the easier part, its the months of training, recovering, eating, sleeping and working to pay for the event that has been the hard part.
The decision to undertake my first Ironman was decided well over a year before the actual race date. It was never a dream of mine as a kid to do one, in fact I never had interest at all to do one when I started in triathlon nearly 3 years ago. I had no desire what so ever to do one.
Until…. Well I guess I was surrounded by more and more people who were training for them. I had been on various training camps where people had shared their Ironman story with me. My coaches often referred to them, it just seemed to be around me more and more. The more I heard about them the more I became fascinated with them. The distances for each discipline, the preparation that is required, the dedication, I wanted to know more. I read many blogs about pros and age groupers completing them, some good, some not so good. Every time I read more, heard more, a part of me wanted to experience this. I wanted to call myself an Ironman.
It wasn’t until around this time last year, when many of the athletes I train alongside were weeks away from toeing the line to complete their first Ironman when I made a commitment to myself that it would be me their the following year. I was going to do Ironman Western Australia. This made my body tingle! I couldn’t believe I was going to be doing this.
From that moment it has basically never left my mind, I think about it every day.
‘If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it’ And thats what I did.
I knew I needed a tribe of people to work with me to help me get prepared.
In my mind I made a list of important people who I needed on board to allow this to happen.
So first stop was my darling boyfriend, Scott. We were out for dinner and I was like a nervous school girl. He was on his phone when I said I had something to ask, his face instantly looked worried. I told him I wanted to do an Ironman. With a relieved look, he responded ‘Your going to be so tired’, followed by if thats what you want to do, go for it’.
His support means the world to me, knowing he will be at the finish line makes me so happy.
Next up was my boss Luke Scott. Training for Ironman while working full time doesn’t allow for much else. I needed to no I had his support, that he understood what I was committing to. Of course he was fully on board and has shown great interest throughout the whole process. Again knowing Luke and his family are travelling over to watch gives me motivation to keep pushing throughout each week.
Last but not least was my amazing coach, Sarah. I was super excited to tell her my new goal but also part of me was nervous to know what her reaction was going to be. Of all people, Sarah was going to know if I was capable of doing this. She was so supportive with the whole thing. Very real and honest. Something I believe needs to happen between us when preparing for an event like this.
With my tribe on board, I was good to go. From that point in time, everything I was doing was building into Ironman. Over the weeks my training has slowly started to increase across all disciplines. Three weeks of slowly building up then an adaptation week which is a week with decreased volume. It still amazes me how the human body adapts to progressive training. As a PT I see this all the time but training for Ironman has amplified this. Long rides starting at around 2-3 hours on the weekend, to now 5+ hours with a run and swim and the body just copes!
Some days are definitely harder than others. There are days I just want to go home and sleep for hours. But time is just so crucial. As part of my build I raced a half Ironman up at the Sunshine Coast, the race was pretty awful, it wasn’t a reflection of the hard work I had put in. It still gives me shivers thinking about it. But after experiencing such a crappy race it has fuelled many of my sessions where I have felt like skipping them.
I am not sitting at around to 4.5 weeks out and I’m right in the middle of my final build, also known as Peak Week. Over the next 2 weeks I will complete the most amount of training I have ever done in my life. Im I am loving every minute of it! I am so thrilled with how my training is going. My goals throughout Iroman was to keep my body injury free. This is the biggest commitment I’ve ever done and I wanted to give myself the best possible chance. I truly believe the 1 percenters outside of the swim, bike, run training have been what has helped keep my body ticking over. Sleep, my number one priority to ensure I recover well. This can be a tricky one at times, but majority of the time is pretty good. Mobility pre and post sessions to help prepare my body for long sessions. Regular massage to eliminate and tightness that occurs from the repetitive motions. Acupuncture and yoga to balance my body out and help keep my hormones happy. (Game changer for me).
I believe strength training has truly helped keep my body together. I have come from a strength training background so always found I have been relative strong, whereas endurance does not come easy for me, I’ve had to work hard and be consistent. It’s the regular heavy strength training while being consistent with Ironman training that is what has helped me get this far injury free. I feel like over the years of building my endurance base while keeping up with my strength training is what has kept me robust. I definitely have experienced niggles here and there, but identifying them early and keeping on top of them has been crucial. Last but not least, good nutrition. Knowing what will fuel me pre and post sessions to allow me to keep trucking along. I’ve become aware of the foods I perform well off and those that don’t. I feel the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been!
Weeks ago when people asked me how I was going with my training and if I felt ready, I would always answer with uncertainty. I mean, it just felt like it was so far away. Now after some big weeks of training, I can really visualise it now. All those long sessions and 1 percenters are starting to come together.
Like I said earlier, I think it is so amazing how your body can adapt.
So when people call me crazy, addicted, insane, committed, inspiring I agree! I believe if you want to get through the process of an Ironman you require these attributes. The process has required me to make many, many sacrifices, some easy, some not so easy. There are times I feel so proud of what I’m doing but lately have felt selfish as my training is my priority at the moment, friends and family have been put to the side at times and this can be really hard. But knowing I have a bunch of amazing people supporting me through this journey has made those tough moments that little bit easier. I believe until your surround around by it, it can be hard for people to understand the time and effort that goes into the preparation. But I know that when I get to cross that finish line it will all be worth every one of those highs and low moments. The whole experience has been awesome.
So yes, I… Jaimie Lee Brown, JLB, the Bumble Bee will be an Ironman!
I cannot wait to share with you my race report, stay tuned!