Shane’s NZ Ironman Journey
In the last 12 months I would estimate that my alarm has gone off prior to 5am most days. It has to be that way. If it didn’t I wouldn’t be in a position to race my first Ironman event in 4 weeks’ time in New Zealand whilst balancing the demands of full time employment and a busy family life with two kids and a very supportive wife.
Each and every time that alarm goes off it also wakes up my wife, Jodi. I am not sure how she has put up with it. In fact she is the complete opposite and shows such a level of support and encouragement that I often find myself thinking I’m pretty lucky to have someone in my life that wants to see me achieve my goals and will support me along the way.
If you’re unfamiliar with what an Ironman event entails here is a brief snapshot. You kick off your race with a 3.8km swim, jump onto the bike for a 180km ride and once you’ve finished that you put the sneakers on and run a marathon (42.2km). It sounds a little insane I know and sitting here at the keyboard, it is a little intimidating to think about. I try not to do that too often as I think I might tend to lose focus if I think too much about the outcome rather than the journey you need to take to get there.
For me the bottom line is that you just have to put the work in and trust in your training. A little luck along the way doesn’t hurt and if you can stay injury free and keep illness at bay then you are better positioned for a good outcome. A lot can go wrong though and my coach tells me often that it is almost certain that a minimum of 5 things will go wrong on race day – hopefully they are all manageable and able to be overcome. Some of the things that you need to prepare for include getting your equipment set up right, ensuring that you have a race plan, and making sure that your nutrition intake is adequate leading into the event and during the event. If you get any of this wrong it can end up being quite a negative experience and a very long and lonely day.
Now only 4 weeks out from the event I am starting to reflect on the path taken to get to this point. It is one I have enjoyed. In the last 12 months I have taken part in 3 half marathons, a full marathon, Run Newcastle (sponsored by Beyond Bank!), 2 half ironman’s and a fundraising ride to Melbourne which raised valuable funds for CanTeen – a great organisation that supports young people living with cancer in their lives. By race day, in the 12 months prior I would have completed over 2,500kms of running, 10,000kms of riding and many kilometres in the pool to get prepared.
The experience has also taught me a lot of life lessons, in particular how to be well planned and organised. I have to plan my days and weeks out well in advance and before I go to bed each night (which is quite early these days!) everything I need for the next day for work and training is ready to go so I can make a quick departure for that morning’s session.
It feels like I have had a good preparation for Ironman but you can never be sure. I am not one to take anything for granted or get ahead of myself. It is a sport that forces you to stay humble and treat with respect. If you don’t then you might find yourself in trouble during an event.
I train often with a few people who have completed the Ironman event many times. The one thing I hear regularly from them is that Ironman is a race that will challenge you in a way that not many other things in life can. Ultimately my goal is to finish and do the best job I possibly can. I also want to do well for my family – Jodi, Amelia and Lachlan. It is them that have supported me so well over 12 months so far and I am very lucky to have this support and encouragement in my life.
We fly out to Lake Taupo, NZ on February 29 with the race to take place on March 5th. It will be a tough day no doubt but one I am really looking forward to.