The 20 Best Things I’ve Heard in an IRONMAN

Colorado writer and triathlete Holly Bennett has collected what she describes as, “20 of the silliest, and most salient phrases some of our athletes have heard on course.”

From IRONMAN

During an IRONMAN, the things spectators along the course yell at you, the signs you see, and the the mantras you repeat to yourself can significantly impact your race. We chatted with 20 athletes to learn some of the weirdest, funniest, or most inspirational messages that friends, family members, and fellow athletes have shared with them while racing an IRONMAN event.

1) Ryan Hamm, M 18-24 , USA – part of the Coast Guard in North Carolina and races as a member of the US Military Endurance Sports program.

“The funniest, most inspirational thing I’ve heard while racing is, ‘The race has just begun.’ The timing of this saying was perfect—about 14 miles into the marathon portion of an IRONMAN. At first I laughed and thought, ‘What the heck do you think I’ve been doing for the past seven plus hours?’ Then I realized, ‘Hey, they’re right. Just forget about everything you’ve done, and all the pain. It’s just a half marathon. No biggie.'”

2) Matthew Greg Reese, M 45-49, USA – 13-time IRONMAN finisher who raced at the IRONMAN World Championship this year.

“The story that sticks with me was during the 2016 IRONMAN North American Championship. I was about 10 miles into the run (right before the monsoon that stopped us in our tracks for 30 minutes), and I was struggling, so I grabbed a drink at an aid station and was walking slowly. This volunteer came up to me and was super positive, encouraging, and doing everything he could to get me going. ‘Hey man, you’re almost there!’ ‘You are doing great!’ ‘What do you need?’ ‘Are you OK?’ ‘You are awesome,’ etc. I was thanking him and he was walking alongside me the whole time, just never giving up and wanting me to start running. He was saying things like, ‘You’ll make it, trust me.’ I think he believed I was a first-timer, so eventually he said, ‘I’ve done an IRONMAN and I know you can. Is this your first race?’ I responded, ‘Nope, this is number ten.’

Maybe it was the combination of his being tired, standing in the pouring rain, and the amount of effort he put into encouraging me, but I think he felt a little duped after I said that. He (gently) shoved me forward and yelled, ‘OMG, screw you! Get outta here!’ and stormed back to the aid station (laughing the whole time). It was so spontaneous and from the heart that I started howling in laughter—and it got me running again.”

3) Michael Pierson, M 50-54, USA – 12-time IRONMAN finisher who races often with his wife, Susan…

Read the full article

Why Your Next Run Should be in the Pool

Turn your miles to meters and just wait for the benefits that go beyond killer run-specific fitness.

From IRONMAN

By Holly Bennett
I’m not a coach. I’m not a personal trainer or a professional athlete. What I am is a relatively average age group athlete, here to tell you why your next run should be in the pool.

Without a doubt, water running is no substitute for the satisfaction of pounding out the miles on the road or trail. But for an injured runner who can’t withstand impact, logging laps in the pool is a lifeline to maintaining run-specific fitness. And for any runner—injured or not—water running has a number of lesser-known benefits that ramp up its appeal. I’ll tell you about these, but first, let me tell you a story.

Years ago, six weeks out from racing IRONMAN Canada, I injured my foot. It was a “high-heel injury”—totally unrelated to training, a direct result of walking on a cobbled street in too-tall shoes after tipping back a few margaritas. These things happen.

The penance for my playful night out was relegation of all my run workouts to the pool; I wasn’t allowed to foot strike on land until a few days before the race. So I sucked it up, strapped on an aqua-jogging belt, and ran. And ran. And ran. I completed every single session on my training schedule—even double runs and a three-hour long run—in the pool.

After six weeks of marathon training in the pool, my IRONMAN run flew by.

The night before the race, I talked to my coach Michellie Jones, who just so happens to be an IRONMAN world champion and Olympic medalist. (Jones is also now an IRONMAN Certified Coach.) My coach is an athlete whose lengthy career has weathered numerous injuries and countless hours of pool running. “I feel ready, I just wish I had been able to run,” I said. “But you have,” she replied. “Trust me.”

The next day, I clocked what was, at the time, my fastest of five IRONMAN marathons and an overall PR…

Read the full story including how water running is zero impact – yet mimics the real thing, how it helps your run form, how it helps your upper body strength, and many other benefits.

Challenge Regensburg: bucket list European race-cation this summer

Hey U.S. Triathletes – have you ever wanted to try a non-U.S., destination race? Challenge Regensburg, an iron-distance race in Regensburg, Germany, features a stunning host city and surrounding area, and incredibly warm and welcoming Bavarian hospitality. AND, race organizers have put together an incentive package for international athletes with a number of benefits, including an exceptional deal on accommodation (think stay 5 nights/pay for 4, or stay 7 nights/pay for 5—and that’s on top of the already discounted event rate), a dedicated mechanic (to help with those post-travel bike builds), and more.

Want to know more about the race? Check out Colorado industry insider Holly Bennett’s Facebook gallery and write up from last year’s inaugural race. Holly says, “The race organizers are husband and wife team Tom and Sonja Tajsich. Sonja is a beloved professional triathlete who has graced the top 5 podium in Kona and who knows all the important details that make a race athlete-focused and athlete-friendly. Their intense passion for the sport shines through in every detail.”

Register HERE

And use special code IOL-Z99H-F1AR-SSBB for the International Athlete Program.

More notes from Holly if you want to include: “I know a lot of people are nervous about racing internationally, or they don’t want to deal with long flights and the hassles of traveling with a bike. That’s why this race is really perfect for them. Munich is a direct flight from many US cities (including Denver), and then it’s just a short drive to Regensburg (1.5 hrs). With a dedicated mechanic for international athletes, there’s no need to worry if you don’t feel confident putting your bike back together yourself, or if you just want to be sure there’s someone convenient to give it a once over. And the hotel deal is fantastic—the rates are really affordable and include breakfast & wifi, plus you get the extra night(s) free, and the hotels are right in the city center, walking distance to nearly everything. Plus, Challenge race entries are far more affordable than IM!”