Back in December of 2012 I started this blog and named it ‘My Road to Kona 2014’. Soon after I changed the name to IRONMANDIARY because I didn’t want to be awkward and disappointing if I didn’t achieve my goal. Coming in to 2013, I had my mind set on qualfiying for Kona at my hometown race, IRONMAN Wisconsin. I had a great season of training and racing, I even started working with a coach, Jackie Arendt. I was more prepared for IMWI, then I had ever been before in my first two attempts. After a disappointing swim and a strong bike, I faded on the back end of the run. I ended up missing my Kona slot by 7 minutes. Race report here. That 7 minutes would stick with me over the next 9 months.
I took a month and a half off of training after IMWI and experienced a lot of changes, including moving and taking a new job in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After two of my old training buddies signed up for IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene, I pulled the trigger and signed up. This would be my next shot at qualifying for Kona.
I started working with a new coach, Joe Moyer, while also getting a power meter. These two decisions have worked out great and attribute a lot of my success this year to these two things. I spent the whole winter training hard, thinking about those 7 minutes that kept me out of Kona last year. During running or trainer intervals, I would always push and give a little extra in the last 7 minutes of my workouts.
IMCDA approached and I was feeling stronger than ever. I came into the race off a good outing at a half Ironman near Minneapolis (race report here). Race morning went quick and before I knew it I was in the water, battling the waves and the other 2,400 competitors. Out of the water on onto the bike, fighting a head wind for a large portion of the race. I stuck to my race goals and before long I was running my way into 1st place in my age group. I did it, I qualified for the IRONMAN World Championships!
Three weeks after IMCDA, I did two Half Ironman races back-to-back weekends, placing 2nd and 4th (Race reports here: Door County and Chisago). August and September kept me busy with training, moving back to Wisconsin, weddings and starting a new job. I had been training for almost a year straight now and I was feeling a little burnt out. To build my confidence, I looked back at all my training I’ve done since I started training last November. Here’s the numbers
Swim – 128 hours 41 minutes (220 miles)
Bike – 270 hours 49 minutes (4986.33 miles)
Run – 142 hours 18 minutes (1165.93 miles)
But I’m here! I made it. Looking back, I couldn’t imagine that I would be sitting in Kona, at a beautiful house on the hill overlooking the ocean writing this blog about my journey.
Day 1 in Kona consisted of doing the Underpants Run, swimming in the ocean, race check-in/registration, Ironman Village, picking my bike up from Tribike Transport, lunch, driving the bike course, biking up to and back from Hawi, short run, and now we just finished dinner. A busy day, but a productive one. The rest of the night calls for some time stretching and a using my recovery boots (thank you again Peak Performance massage)!
I could never have gotten to this point without the support of so many people. I can’t begin to explain how much I appreciate all the people who have helped get me here.
I’ll start with my family; they have been so supportive and have never stopped believing in my from day 1. My girlfriend for being my number 1 fan and making it to almost all my races this season, despite the fact she lives in Boston. Now that’s commitment! Thanks to all my friends for the continued support via texts, Facebook, etc. Thanks to my coach, Joe Moyer for getting me in the best shape of my life and preparing me for success. Thank you my favorite training buddies, Alex and Kayla. You two keep me motivated and keep things fun! Thank you to all my co-workers back at TN Marketing who were so supportive and wonderful, even after I left my job. Thank you to Endurance House, both the Madison and Middleton stores for being awesome like always. Thanks especially to Kyle Larson for lending me his bike after I shipped mine off to TriBike Transport. Thank you to my new boss and co-workers, I’m so excited to start this new journey! Thank you to everyone on the IRONMAN Wisconsin Facebook page for all your advice and insights over the past couple of years! Thank you to Erik’s Bike Shop for getting me set up with an amazing bike and gear over the past 3 years, especially Jim and Neil! Thanks to everyone else for putting up with me when I’ve been stressed with training or had a bad workout. Thanks to all those people who hated on me and wanted me to fail after I started a fundraiser to help alleviate the expenses for Kona. Thank you even more to those who donated to that fund and helped me reach my goal of almost $4000 and helped raise donations for the Cookie Project and ALSA.org. Thanks to all of you, for reading this and believing in me along the way. No matter what happens on Saturday, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this sport and compete on the level I do. It wouldn’t be possible without all these people listed above.
I’ll continue to blog throughout the week and weekend, but you can also follow on social media by using and following the hashtag #ironengel
The race begins on Saturday at 11:50am central time. You can track the race via IRONMAN.com. My bib number is #2009. They have a live video feed and blog. If you have an iPhone you can also download the app, IRONTRAC, which lets you track my splits throughout the day.
Best of luck. What a great experience. Enjoy!
Have a great race Eric!! We’ll be cheering from central Iowa 😉
If the one time I raced against you is any indication, you’re gonna crush it tomorrow! See you out on the course. I’ll be after some revenge from Coeur d’Alene 😉