Back in 2008, I decided to cross off a some of my bucket list items. First, I wanted to run a marathon. Secondly, I wanted to do an Ironman. And so I did.
My first marathon was along the Atlantic shore here in Jacksonville as part of the “26.2 with Donna – the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer”. That particular race (which still runs every February) was a fantastic initial marathon. Pancake flat. A couple of miles on the beach. Great crowd support. Amazing women and men who had beat (or were in the process of beating) breast cancer. My finishing time was not great (and really isn’t important)…but I was successful in crossing that item off my list. Incidentally, back in 2010, I did a “Ten Questions With…” interview with Donna Deegan – the founder of the race. Click HERE to read that interview.
On the run course at IMFL in 2009
Following that marathon experience, I signed up to race Ironman Kentucky, in Louisville. I was severely underprepared for that race. I tried to train without a real plan. I didn’t think that the hills would be all that rough. I didn’t devote as much time as I should have to training. As a result, the race was a disaster!
I got into the swim expecting to have some downstream current. There wasn’t any. I sort of freaked out mid-swim and ended up having to do some backstroke and breaststroke. I finished the swim in close to 1:40 and then headed out on the bike. So….in case you were wondering….Louisville is NOT FLAT. I was seemingly going up or down the entire time. I tried to take my time and pace myself, but by the end of the bike, I was completely gassed. I started out on the run and very quickly determined that that leg of the race would be a combination of running and walking. By the time I got through 13 miles, it was more walking than anything. I made it through 18 miles and got pulled off the course.
Upon returning to the transition area – completely devastated about my performance – I called home to speak with my wife. Believe it or not, she had already signed me up for Ironman Florida – in just about six weeks’ time! She really wanted me to cross off that bucket list item!
And so, in November 2009, I toed the line in Panama City Beach for IMFL. The swim was much better than in Louisville – even despite the Gulf being seriously choppy. The bike was great – much more along the lines of what I was accustomed to. I did a modified Galloway approach on the run – running 3 or 5 minutes and then walking 1. And best of all, I finished! The time was not great (15 hours and change), but…..I FINISHED!
Cross that baby off the list!
Except that baby is back on my list again.
See, for the last couple of years, I’ve been thinking about doing an iron distance race again. Sometimes when I’m in a rough spot on a run, I call up a mental picture of crossing the finish line at IMFL or remember that feeling of accomplishment. But, I’ve held off on actually doing another race.
Things started to get serious last year – my friend and I were talking about doing a full. It was on his bucket list, after all. Plus, he wanted to do one before he turned 50, and time was running out.
We had our eyes set on doing Beach to Battleship in November 2016. This Wilmington, NC, race had developed a fantastic reputation for being a super-high quality independent iron distance race. The price point was much lower than Ironman, the swim was current aided (and crazy fast), and the rest of the terrain was similar to northeast Florida. Plus, the November timing was perfect.
And then, B2B decided to sell out to Ironman. While I certainly am open to racing an Ironman event, to me it was difficult to reconcile spending $300 or so more on race entry fees for substantially the same race – just because of a name change.
Enter Rev3 Triathlon and their race at Cedar Point!
See, I’ve been on the Rev3 age group team for a bunch of years, but have never raced at Cedar Point. Honestly, I’m not sure why – other than the fact that Sandusky, OH, is about 17 weeks away by car and not super-easy to fly to, either. I do love roller coasters, though, and by all accounts the course is quite similar to what I’m used to.
So….Rev3 Cedar Point is now on my 2016 bucket list! The race is September 11th this year, and I’ll be ready to race.
And this time, it’s not just about completing the distance and crossing off a bucket list item. This time, instead of “Complete an Ironman”, the bucket list item is “Race Rev3 Cedar Point”. There’s a real, tangible difference there.