….. which type of athlete is the fittest of them all?
One of my favourite things about the Ironman story is that it came about as a result of some bravado over a couple of beers.
The argument was over if swimmers, cyclists or runners were the fitter athletes.
To settle the argument, a US Navy Commander by the name of John Collins suggested combining the toughest races on the Island – a 2.4 mile swim, a 115 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run, and that the winner would be crowned the Ironman.
Only 15 people started the race, of which 12 actually made it to the finish line. The guy who came in second, John Dunbar, is my personal hero.
His support crew ran out of water mid race so he ended up fueling himself on beer from that point on. Lad.
Unfortunately for the purposes of the argument, the winner of the first Ironman was not a purist in any sense. Gordon Haller was someone who thought nothing of doing Ironman type distances of all three sports over the course of a weekend. Just for fun.
History has since gone to show that, in the world of Ironman, the jack of all trades beats the purist every time.
One of the most often quoted examples of this is of a couple of Kenyans, both of which had gone under 2:15 for the marathon (which is insanely quick), who tried their hand at an Ironman in Wisconsin in 2002.
Both had some training in swimming and biking, and had completed a few short course triathlons, but after subjecting themselves to 7+ hours of suffering before getting onto the run, ended up running over an hour slower than their personal bests, with quicker of the two coming in a less than amazing 442nd place overall.
All of which gives me hope as a fairly average athlete. All I have to do is be less rubbish than everyone else at the majority of the three sports and I will have a reasonably successful race.
Highlight of the week: Had a week off from work for a road trip up to Byron Bay, where I pretended to be a backpacker for seven days. The rest appears to have done the world of good, as I broke my personal best for a 16km Time Trial by over a minute, averaging over 40km/h for the first time ever. Pow.
Also finally booked my accommodation for the big day, which is now only three months away. It is getting scarily close.
Lowlight of the week: Work has been pretty intense this week, meaning that if I am not training or working, I am invariably sleeping. Rock and roll.