Iron Christmas virtual 70.3 Race--I did it!

So much for keeping you all in suspense, huh?  :)

So, back on Tuesday, I followed Wendy's link to Luke's blog where he was hosting a virtual half ironman.  1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run between 12/20 and midnight 12/24.  Seeing as my longest ever swim was 100 yards and back in August and we're busy as all get-out getting ready for Christmas, I knew there was no way I could complete this race in the alotted time.

So, naturally, I signed up.

The one thing in my favor was that Tuesday was my last day of school before Christmas break.  Things not in my favor included the following: I was starting a day late, see above re: swimming, Tuesday evening was comprised of my husband's work party followed by 4 hours out of town because of my son's volleyball practice, and my husband was less than enthused by the whole prospect.

Here's how it went down:

Tuesday, 12/21

3:05 Sign up
3:15-11:00 Husband work party/commute/son's volleyball practice/commute
11:30 Run 4 miles in my neighborhood

Wednesday, 12/22

10:30 a.m. Swim 1,250 yards (it took me 39 minutes; I had to rest after every 1-2 laps)
Christmas shopping, lunch out with husband, 1st grader's Christmas party
4:30 p.m. Run 2 miles on the trails
11 p.m. Ride 20 miles on stationary bike

Thursday, 12/23

8:30 a.m. Ride 21 miles on stationary bike
12 p.m. Drop off son at basketball practice and go run 4 miles on trails
1 p.m. Swim remaining 875 yards (took me 30 minutes, lots of rest) Swim finished!

Friday, 12/24

9:00 a.m. Run 3.1 miles with my brother--Run finished!
10:00 p.m. Ride 15 miles on stationary bike--Bike finished!

So, my total time (including 3 1-minute penalties for eating cookies and 6 1-minute subtractions for "liking" sponsors) was 6:34:02.  And I am a virtual half ironman.  :)

And check out the pictures from my morning run.  My brother from Wisconsin ran with me (or, more to the point, I dragged after him).  The run was notable for a couple reasons: my brother was both sober and not hungover and we got to run in the snow.  The meteorologists had been forecasting a white Christmas, and a few snowflakes were falling as I left the house to pick up Jim.  They multiplied quickly and were starting to cover the ground as we set off.

He's from Wisconsin.  He's tough...and, uh, didn't have running pants.

I've been running on trails and running pretty regularly, but Jim's pace was a little faster than I usually go...and slower than he ever goes.  He told me once to let him know if I needed him to adjust the pace, but I figured he wouldn't want to walk with those bare legs, so I kept on huffing and puffing trying to catch up.  I was definitely dragging today, and since he was the one tracking the miles we had a couple "are we there yet?" moments.  Maybe because he was tired of listening to me whine, we transitioned from the singletrack trails (which were in fabulous shape...frozen so that they were solid, but thawed enough to give a little under your feet, like running on a track) onto the paved bike path.

Still smiling, counting down til I'm finished.

We saw a few other people out on the trails today, including my friends Patrick and Wade.  Patrick's been logging some serious miles...just today he ran the thirteen I've been working on all week.  Funny, Jim and Patrick have never met in person, but both have heard of the other.  So Jim remarked to me, "Hey, and you drove yourself today!" and Patrick asked Jim if he was hungover (if you don't get the second reference, you can check out sober/hungover link above).

It was really fun running in the snow, though I was pretty wet and a little envious of my brother's jacket.  I mentioned that I needed to get one, which is funny because when we opened Christmas presents tonight, he'd bought me a sweet jacket that'll be great for running and hiking.  It was coming down pretty good, and by the time we headed back to the car, the roads and ground were mostly covered.  Only the grass was showing through, and it's all covered by now.

GREAT day for a run! :)
GREAT day for a run!

I'm in awe of people who actually compete in the half and full ironman competitions.  Amazing!  I've been dragging all week from getting in these workouts, and I've been able to do it bit by bit.  I can't imagine doing one after the other.  So impressive.  Even so, I'm proud of myself.  I really went into this not at all expecting to finish, but when the swim went OK on the first day, I realized I could do it.  And I am nothing special.  If I could finish this, so could anyone.  It's just like that quote from Winnie the Pooh says:
You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
So believe in yourself.  You can do so much more than you realize.  I'm so glad I tried this.  And I'm almost as glad that I don't have to do it anymore tomorrow! :)


  1. Congrats. Nice to start late and still get it done!

  2. Congratulations!!! Any chance for an Iron Christmas virtual 140.6 in 2011? =)

  3. Well done! BTW, working out at 11 pm is as hard core (or more) as working out at 5 am. Time to sign up for a Sprint or Super Sprint. I heard the Wood River tri in August is a good one if you want your first tri to be in a pool.

  4. wow, I'm tired just reading this! Well done! Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas from your comment! Hope you have a great new year and get to use all your cool new running stuff. Happy to get to know you this year...hope to get to know you better in the New year!

  5. Congrats on the Iron Christmas, a good way to spend the Xmas time!
    Great pics, that is an unusual landscape for my eyes, I don't know if I would be able to run on icy streets with all that snow.
    Happy new year!

  6. Okay I'm totally cheating on my no blog reading for a bit. I did read a chapter of my book club book. Loved Time Travelers Wife but Couldn't stop crying for days. Same with the movie. I hear Teach Like a Champion is great....our staff read it. Sounds like you're reading some great books! I'm inspired.

  7. So, this 2011, it's MY year to be the best me I can... Can you move to the Amish side and be my personal trainer? I'll shrink you so you can live in my pocket, which of course will be very clean, and you can yell at me and kick my butt.... Geez, you are Amazing....

  8. Thanks, everyone. :)

    B.C., sooo glad it's done. I haven't done much but eat cookies since midnight on 12/24. lol

    Jonathan, only if I decide that I'd like to be single, because my husband wasn't too thrilled with the timing. :)

    Mike, it's definitely on my radar. I think I'm ready to add sprint triathlons to the list of things in which I compete enthusiastically and with mediocre results.

    Amanda, same here!

    Stefano, I don't like running on icy roads at all. The majority of our run was on trails, and even the paved portions weren't slick.

  9. Good job getting it all in! I tortured myself riding the miles on a stationary bike too... Possibly worse than treadmill running. I am with you - God bless the people who do it all back to back :)


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