Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Husband the Ironman, Part 1

It was 5:00 a.m. August 29, 2010 in Louisville, KY as Jason and I made our way in the early morning darkness down to the Ohio River where Jason would begin his very first Ironman.  I carried his bicycle pump and he carried a few last minute items in a mesh bag as we walked hand in hand thinking about the hot, humid morning and what it would mean for the temperature during the day.  (Or at least I was thinking about this.  Jason may have been thinking something like, I can't believe I am about to do this.)

Before I tell of Jason's Ironman adventure, I must begin with a bit of background on this amazing man I call my husband.  Jason has been a runner most of his adult life.   I'm not sure if he started in middle school or high school, but he ran in college and continued with the sport afterward.  His focus since I have known him has been mostly on the marathon, although he runs all distances from the 5k to the occasional 50k.

He achieved his best marathon time a little over a year ago, running a 2:38 at the Rocket City Marathon in December of 2008.  After that, he set a new marathon goal for himself and went after it with a vengeance. His usual 80 mile week bumped up to 100+ which included speed work at least 3 times a week.  He was invited to run the San Fransisco Marathon in July of 2009 and he was hoping for a personal record there.

I'm not sure if it was a combination of the hills, the heat, or over training, but Jason did not reach his goal that day, finishing with a 2:51.  He had run himself into the ground and his body simply said, "enough."  I don't think either one of us realized just how injured he was until he ran the Air Force Marathon with me two months later.  We ran a 4:04 and it was harder on him than it was on me.

I finally suggested physical therapy and Jason agreed.  He began going to Nesin Therapy weekly and while he did begin to improve, it was a slow and painful process.  His frustration and discouragement was evident, and I was at a loss as to how to help him.

Then, in October he sent me an e-mail saying he'd like to try something new.  He wanted to sign up for the Louisville, KY Ironman and begin training for it.  He wanted a new goal that left plenty of time to heal and prepare.  He wrote, It is next August, so it gives me an entire winter to learn how to bike and swim and get back to where I can run.  It would help me to have a goal, something to reach for. 

He wanted my permission because of the investment in time it would be, and without hesitation, I said yes.  If this Ironman training would give Jason the motivation and purpose he needed to get through this injury, I was all for it.  I e-mailed him back with hotel reservations for August in Louisville, KY saying, "For your something new." 

So before he had a bike...or knew much about riding...or if he liked to ride at all, let alone swim, Jason signed himself up for the Louisville, KY Ironman.  He had 316 days.


  1. have i ever told you that your husband is pretty much one of my heroes. i won't ruin the story, but i've already looked up the finishers and times of the louisville race. he remains one of my heroes.

  2. okay, here's something i want you and jason to think about for the future. not 2011, but the future. i think it'd be really fun, and i'm wanting someone to race it with me. by "with me," i mean climb kilimanjaro and probably do the bike portion together. i know i'd be left in the dust on the marathon.

    and i know you're not a big fan of airplanes. but just have a look.


  3. You looked ahead! I was working up for the big moment! You will just have to pretend you didn't know and say "WOW" when I get to the big moment.

    You have really lost your marbles. But I will share with Jason the link. And see if they give Valium to those with airplane issues.

    All joking aside, though, he is one of my heroes too. I told him on our drive up there that just by knowing him, without a single word of instruction from him, my own running/athletic performance has improved drastically. Just from being around him and seeing what he does every day, how he stays focused, all of it. So thanks for seeing that too. :)

    And stay tuned!

  4. I remember reading these posts before I morphed into a triathlete. I had ZERO appreciation at the time. I knew Ironman was hard...but wow. 316 days. I'm reading the posts again with new eyes!!