Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Husband the Ironman, Part 2

Once Jason was signed up for the Louisville Ironman, it was time to buy a bike, a helmet, cycling shorts, clip-in shoes, bike tools, swim trunks (the tight, triathlon kind), goggles - the works.  I don't think either one of us realized just how much gear was involved, and Jason made many return trips to Madison Cycles the more he learned. 

Jason found a training plan online and every week he printed off that week's assignments.  He did not follow it exactly, but he used it as a guide for the workouts and amount of training he should be doing.  His first bike ride, the day after purchasing his bike, was a 20 mile ride on a cold Sunday morning from our house to the Allen's house where I was running with my friend Shannon, and then getting ready for church there.  When he arrived he was frozen and a little saddle sore, but he had enjoyed the ride.  That was a good sign.

As winter settled in Jason purchased an indoor trainer that would allow him to ride his bike in the warmth of our house.  This meant that many evenings after work, I would make dinner or watch TV with the gentle hum of the bike in the background.  This was kind of fun because we got to spend time together while he rode his bike, although I must admit to getting impatient a time or two when my tummy was ready for dinner and he had 10 minutes to go.

He started going to a public pool near our house until we figured out the UAH gym I attended had a better pool schedule, so I added him to my membership.  I tried to join him at the pool in the winter months, thinking it would be good cross training for me, but in temperatures from the 40s and below, I could not bring myself to put on a swimsuit and get wet.  Jason, however, was undeterred.

When the warmer weather of spring finally showed up, Jason got ready to take his bike outside again.  For Christmas he had received all manner of cycling apparel and gear, so he was ready to go.  

Jason entered his first event that involved cycling in March.  He signed up to do the Powerman Duathlon in Birmingham which consisted of a 10k run, a 37.3 mile bike ride, and another 10k run.  We were both a little nervous about his very first event, but he did well, despite the cold and the rain that day.  After the event, some other participants noted his fast running time, and Jason admitted to being very new to cycling.  They told him in order to get stronger on the bike, he needed to get in time on it.  They said he needed to get out there and ride and ride and ride.  So that is exactly what he did.

He started riding on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a group on Redstone Arsenal, slowly building up his mileage and speed.  One Sunday afternoon after spending the day with my parents in Fayetteville, TN, he decided to ride his bike home for a total of 43 miles.  Upon finishing he was cold and glad to be out of the wind, but other than that, he felt just fine.

In May, he entered his very first triathlon, which was a sprint triathlon in McMinnville, TN.  He had a blast and watching him, I caught the bug myself.  We went straight to Madison Cycles on the way home and I was fitted for a bike and all the gear that went along with it.  Now I would be joining him on this new adventure.

Over the summer we did as many triathlons as we could find.  Jason began to do better and better, often winning his age group as he increased his distance from the sprint to the Olympic distance.  He signed up for the Gulf Coast Triathlon where he hoped to see what the half Ironman distance felt like and if he was training enough.  He decided not to go however, when his brother's house was flooded in Nashville, and we went to help Jonathan that weekend instead.

Jason also participated in several organized rides starting with the Tour de Cave 70 mile ride in June, and following that with a few 100 mile rides in July.   Each morning he would get up extra early, run 10 miles or so, and then ride the 100 miles on his bike.  I joined him for a few of these, always riding a shorter distance and sleeping until he returned from his run.

At some point late in his training, Jason realized that he probably needed a triathlon bike for his Ironman, instead of his current road bike.  Once again we went to Madison Cycles (they probably love us), and once again he had to get used to this new bike, with only a month or two left to train.

As our fast and fun summer came to an end, so approached the Louisville Ironman.  Jason had told no one of his new endeavor except for myself and his brother (although I might have blabbed to a few girlfriends along the way).  He quietly went about his training, enjoying the new activity, sharing only with me any thoughts and doubts he had about his upcoming Ironman. 

As the weeks turned into days and into hours before the big event, the main question Jason asked was, "Did I do enough?"  I believed he had.  I believed that not only would he finish his first Ironman, but that he would do quite well.  I reminded him of this every time he expressed doubt.

He ended up telling a few friends who had inquired as to his plans for the weekend, and he invited his family and mine to come watch if they wanted.  They did, of course, and we all made plans for where we would be and how we would find each other.

And then it was time to leave for Louisville.

1 comment:

  1. Again...these words mean so much more now than they did the first time I read them. I'm looking at getting a trainer to put my own time on the bike this winter--any suggestions??