Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Art of Becoming an IRONMAN.

Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, sport and literature.

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") refers to any systematic knowledge-base or prescriptive practice that is capable of resulting in a prediction or predictable type of outcome. In this sense, science may refer to a highly skilled technique or practice.

Plenty of information is available on the scientific preparation that goes into
both training and completing an IRONMAN Triathlon. However it is that very
information that prevents most people (who have the ability) from ever
contemplating such a task. "I can't do that!" is the response to such scientific
awareness.When signing up for IRONMAN I made commitment to myself that I wouldn't follow some template or protocol but rather would simply train as I wanted and as I could. In a sense I would make my training a work of Art not a Science project.

During my training I consistently did "less" than my contemporaries. I remained committed to my work, social, family and ice-cream consumption obligations. When I felt like a day-off I took it. If I wanted a glass of Wine, I had it. Training was a part of life; NOT my Life!

Upon arriving in Lake Placid, I was immediately taken by the number of athletes that where swimming, biking and running just days before the event. I took a more relaxed approach in the final days and opted to enjoy a walk around the town and save myself for race day. I continued to enjoy my usual eating schedule complete with a visit to the local Ben & Jerry's.

Race day started with a little nervousness as my biggest fear was not getting to the START on time. After getting my wetsuit on and doing a little stretch - the cannon sounded at 7am and 2400 of us where splashing ahead 2.4 miles of swimming to go.

I had never swam that far before, but I felt I could complete the swim in 1:20 (1hr 20min). After 2 loops of the lake I exited the water in 1:18..feeling good despite a very painful hip flexor? Making my way to the bike transition I passed Francesca and gave her my wetsuit. I took my time in the transition area; changing into cycling shorts, shirt, dry socks and applying sun-block for the upcoming 112 mile ride.

The bike course was a series of up & down hills with long stretches of sun-soaked road. I was feeling good and eating/drinking as my body was telling me. I felt a sense of relief when I hit the 95 mile-marker. However, some quick math reminded me that I still had 17 miles to go and the last 6 where going to be uphill. 1 hr later I finished the bike and made my way to the run transition area. Again, taking my time to change into dry running clothes and sock/shoes I felt no sense to rush through the transition as I knew 26.2 miles of running where waiting for me. What I didn't know (upon leaving transition) was that running was not an option. My legs where dead tired and I could only walk; despite my desire to run. I accepted my fate and walked mile after mile until about mile 6 when I was able to muster a little "jog". During this (recovery) time I was drinking Gatorade & Water in an attempt to regain some energy. I saw Francesca at mile 13 and stopped for a quick hello and update "This is really tough, but I'm OK" I informed her before continuing my journey. I began to feel better with each mile, partially aided (perhaps?) by the Cola's I was now consuming on the race course. After 10+ hrs of Gatorade I could no longer stomach the taste of it, so Cola was a welcome change. I hit mile 20 and felt strong enough to switch from Jog to Run mode. The last 6.2 miles was more like what I'm accustomed to.With 1 mile to go I was running like I stole something, I hit the track towards the finish line and out sprinted some guy (just for "good measure") to hear the announcer say "Frank Pucher. You are an IRONMAN!" Final time 13:53 (yes, that's 13 hrs & 53 minutes)

After receiving my finishers medal I immediately found 2 of my friends & clients "Chuck & Sandy" (both of whom made the trip to watch my event.) I was then joined by my parents and Francesca. As if I hadn't done enough exercise already; we walked a 1/2 mile to a little restaurant for some dinner before walking back to my hotel for a long awaited shower and some sleep.

I awoke the next morning with little to no soreness and a little to more than usual hunger. Questions came over breakfast about my interest/potential to do "another?" It's a perfectly legitimate question. I'm a highly competitive individual that is always seeking to better my previous efforts. While you "never say never" I feel confident in proclaiming that I have no interest in completing another IRONMAN. I finished with no pain, no injuries, no issues. I had no crashes, trips to the medical tent or soreness the following day. I did what I wanted to do (Finish an IRONMAN!) If you ask me, I had the perfect race. The fact that I did it on my own terms and to my liking, makes it a masterpiece.

I think I'll turn my attention to my business now. We are adding a new TEAM Member "Anthony Lopez".
He (Anthony) is already an outstanding Fitness Professional and we are fortunate to have him. The rest of the TEAM is equally impressed and we will celebrate our Hibachi 10x2 Dinner with him next Friday.

This will be my final IRONMAN blog so I'll take this opportunity to thank the 3 people that read my blog & all of our clients that have wished me luck & congratulations. The same goes to my family & friends that have supported me with their thoughts. Finally, thank you to Rachel (IM finisher in 16:27) for getting me to the starting line and Francesca for being at the finish line. They say that you can tell a lot about a person based on the company you keep. If that's true than I consider myself fortunate to have them both around me.

On to what's next, whatever that may be?

Frank Pucher

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