Thursday, October 20, 2005

More Tips and Secrets for Your Best Ironman Experience

Here are the next 9 of the 90 Tips and Secrets for Your Best Ironman Experience - scroll down thru this blog for the rest of the tips…

64. On the morning of any Ironman, wake up very early. This will set your whole day on the right course. Make sure you get to a bathroom. If you run out of time, then don’t worry about it – there are plenty on the course.

65. Realize that you will forget something, or something will go wrong -- just accept it. I forgot to put water in my front water bottle, and it was a while before the first bike aid station - so I had salt-water-cotton-mouth for the first few miles of the bike race. I could have let this upset me, but I chose to relax, and enjoy that first sip of water from the first aid-station.

"Anything is possible" may be the Ironman tag line and these words may carry with them a world of possibility for our lives, but when it comes to the race you should also rephrase them -- “Anything can happen.”

Just ask Normann Stadler, former world champion, who, after experiencing some very difficult bike issues including flat tires - and a tire that was glued with enough glue to keep it on the wheel forever – he actually got so frustrated that he hurled the wheel, frisbee style, into the lava fields, and then, following some additional bike issues, he actually flung his bike into the lava field -- breaking it. I like Normann, and he’s contributed quite a bit to our sport, and he had a tough day, but you have to wonder about the pressure. The tires were perhaps over inflated, as were his stress levels.

I had heard that a few weeks before, in San Diego, an impatient commuter did not like waiting behind Normann who was biking and actually chased him down, got out of the car, and pushed him off his bike and then threw his bike into the field. This is perhaps where Normann got the idea to ride and toss. Not sure how much NBC will show of this experience, but this German drama will make good television.

Norman could have finished -- simply waited for some power tools to remove the superglue and the sag wagon – but perhaps it’s different for the professionals that save it all for the cash and career producing race performances. I've noticed that once pros discover that they are not in the money, they sometimes decide that it just might be more economical to drop – and be fresh for the next race. I still think he should have stuck it out.

The agony of waiting 365 days for something and then having a multitude of issues stop you in your tracks must be tough, so, as a pro or age-grouper, you should be prepared for anything to happen.

This race is about overcoming many challenges in order to finish – these challenges don’t stop when the starting gun fires – you have to be prepared, and adaptable to the challenges and course conditions.

66. Get to Hawi as fast as you can. This year was the easiest year to bike to Hawi and back that I have ever experienced. Whitney Lynn, a long time resident of the Big Island said “I have never experienced winds that favorable -- since I’ve been training here.” We actually had a "sail" wind on the way back - this is a wind from the side that if you're on the right wheel configuration - it helps you sail forward. It's better than a tail wind because the wind is catching more of your body. I've been convinced that, in most Ironman Hawaii races, that a minute faster to Hawi = 2 to 5 minutes faster on your overall finish time. Typically, as the island heats up, so do the winds.

67. Remember, you cannot help another biker on the course - it's outside assistance.

68. Get in the water early. This year I started near the pier, and I was able to branch out to the right for some open water so I could stop a few times to take some photos for the special report. If you like open water, swim near the edge of the pack.

69. Book your condo or hotel now for next year’s event – they are almost sold out, and the island real estate market seems to be increasing the prices exponentially as availability becomes more limited with the more spectator-friendly “Tour-de-France style” finish line and race course.

70. Go for a very slow spin the day after the race. This will help your recovery substantially. So before you pack your bike up, head out for a quick spin – make sure you still work. Swimming is the easiest discipline to pick up again after your race, so get back in the water quickly.

71. Wear a bright orange shirt and a Speedo as your Halloween costume this year. Show your race number tan lines. Ask for Power bars instead of candy at the door.

72. Get an Ipod. Learn how to use it. Burn all your CDs into your computer, and become your own DJ for your training and race week music. Music has a powerful influence on performance. Cue up songs that empower you in your mental ipod. Use music to create a “soundtrack” for your training and racing experience, especially during Ironman week. Pick a song to represent every Ironman event or triathlon you do.

My song from this year’s Ironman was from U2, titled “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.” I heard it the morning of the event several times and sang it during the run. If you’re interested in my play list of the greatest training songs, e-mail me at

Here are the words – I remember singing it every time someone handed me something at the aid station, and it was going through my head as I hit Ali'i Drive.

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own

Tough, you think you’ve got the stuff
Your telling me and anyone
You’re hard enough

You don’t have to put up a fight
You don’t have to always be right
Let me take some of the punches
For you tonight

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don’t have to go it alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

We fight all the time
You and I, that’s alright
We’re the same soul
I don’t need, I don’t need to hear you say
That if we weren’t so alike
You’d like me a whole lot more

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don’t have to go it alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

I know that we don’t talk
I'm sick of it all
Can you hear me when I sing
You’re the reason I sing
You’re the reason why the opera is in me

Well hey now
Still got to let you know
A house doesn’t make a home
Don’t leave me here alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you that makes it hard to let go
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own
Sometimes you can’t make it
Best you can do is to fake it
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

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