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My Iron Family (and an Ode to Losing my Mind)

I am having Ironman brain jumble. I am also feeling tremendously anxious and sleep-deprived. Which means, perfect… I’m right where I should be 7 weeks out from my first (and only) Ironman.

This past week was 18 hours of training.  Yes, 18 hours.  No wonder I am tired.  I’m so tired I can’t sleep.


I don’t even wear glasses, FYI.   Nuts.

A big source of my anxiety is what my family is going to do on race day.

The Expert, the two Swim Bike Kids, and my parents are all making the trek to Coeur d’Alene.  I worry about them getting too tired, bored, annoyed, hot, hungry…  I need the Expert to follow me around the run course and shout “suck it up” and “go faster” and “stop your whining” and “don’t pants your poop”—-so after 7:30pm and/or Mile 13 on the run (whichever comes first…), I consider it mission critical for me to have him popping up on the course to shout these things to me—and I hope my parents can wrangle the kids, at least during those hours, so that he can.  But at the same time, I know my parents want to experience the race too…I wonder if we can just tie the kids up to a fire hydrant with some snacks and pick them up later…. I kid, I kid.


We have rented a house 2.5 miles from the finish… I know roads will likely be closed, but I hope that maybe they can get to and from the house at least once during the day. I think that would save everyone.  Sigh.  I have 7 more weeks to worry about it.  Maybe a taxi?  Oh geez.

Swim Bike Single Mom, Sarah, from Chasing Down a Dream, is working on a guest post about spectating for Ironman and I am excited about it, because I want the Ironman experience to be great for my family too. And I don’t want to be worrying about them …while I am trying not to perish on the course.

I am working on all my 10 day dedication posts, and I am going to take time to adequately thank the dear Expert in the LAST dedication— don’t worry—- (yes, someone has already emailed me asking why I haven’t thanked my husband yet.) …because really, he has been a trooper. It’s been some tough times—especially when the kids are insane and he’s had them all day while I’ve been out eating snacks on a century ride.


But as I have said before (and I’ll beat the dead horse), Ironman training takes a village—it takes a lot of physical and financial support— but it takes a ton of emotional support.


Weighing in at 198.8…. woot.

I mean, I get in the bed at night and I say things like, “So I should be out of the swim worst case scenario in 2 hours, best case an hour and a half… and that banks me 20 minutes up to almost an hour… and then the bike… what do you think? I mean… worst case…


And on and on I go.  Every. Single. Night. (and day).  And one night, the Expert actually pulled out his iPad and we went through the elevation map and compared it to the metric century I did last year (which had the same elevation gain as CDA but in 65 miles, not 112… including two Cat 2 climbs)… and we came to the conclusion that “I will be fine” on the bike course.  Two blind mice leading each other… No real proof of any of it.

But still. He’s here, supporting my insanity.  And I appreciate it.


And my Mom and Dad have taken to just praying for me, because I don’t think talking about Ironman makes them feel any better.  Because conversing about 5-6 hour bike rides and swims in 60 degree water just switches on their parent gene, and then they just worry about me.  So instead, they pray and send me text messages. And I am glad for the prayers.

I obsessively use this app called “Tri Calc” with all my insane time scenarios…in the scenario below, I have a great swim and bike, and therefore, I bank 7 hours to finish the marathon.  Meaning I can stroll it.  None of which are based on any sort of reality. Because I won’t know my time scenarios until the day comes and I’m living them.


I also haven’t had a rest day from training in 10 days, and I’m not getting one until Wednesday… (don’t comment about how “rest days are necessary”—I’m well aware, but there is a method to the madness when I am not running the 13-17 miles that all you other Ironman-training people are doing right now…)


photo (2)

Nutrition is going well. Hip is feeling okay.  There is some minor pain, but the runs are very short, so I am staying smart about it all.  I am just tired and looney.

And the weight is coming down, and I don’t see how it can’t with 18 hours of training each week, for Pete’s sake.  But I have cut out gluten and dairy with the Metabolic Boost & Burn, so I think that’s been a big revelation for me. But even the nutritional side of things feels like mania. To the point where Coach Monster has started calling me Kate Moss, because I email him sarcastic things like, “I weigh 198 pounds. I am skinny. Skinny!!”


Tomorrow, I am dropping the kids with my parents for three days… first time we’ve spent a night without kiddos since last October.  We are overdue. Will be a nice training weekend with the Expert.  And maybe there will be less mania, at least for a bit.  And maybe a date.

But through all of this, my Iron Family keeps me going.  Prayers and mania and all.  And this Ironman finish (yes, FINISH) will undoubtedly be 110% dedicated to them.


  • Karen

    May 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Oh nice – a date weekend! Have a good time 🙂 I seriously love that Tri Calc app… too bad you can’t carry it with you on the course to calculate your remaining time as you go along! As far as spectating, yeah that has to be a challenge with kids in tow. I know what to do as an adult but kids, hmmm…. maybe there is a park or museum or or or nearby that could distract them for a little bit and your parents could take shifts with the expert on cheering? who knows…

  • Allyson

    May 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    I had a panic attack today packing for my half marathon this weekend so I can imagine how you feel. Do you remember that post that was going around last year about people you see at a Triathlon. I was thinking it would be fun to turn it into a BINGO card for kids so they can have something to do while they watch. Now my kids are 17 and 20 but it might work for your younger kids. I have done a 20 hour flight from Ottawa to Auckland with a 3 and 6 year old and I advise games, treats and wrapped gifts for the appropriate moments. I am not going to find that Tri calculator,it would drive me bonkers, OK more then I usually am. Have a great training week!

  • Tiffany Cavegn

    May 2, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Funny, I’m obsessing in the same exact manner over my first Olympic distance. My running partner is tired of me worrying because I’m a month behind on bike training due to the freaky snow we are getting in Minnesota! Good luck sleeping! Try to let it go for the weekend. Sex helps 😉

  • Lois Roegge

    May 2, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve watched my husband do two Ironman races….Lake Placid and Los Cabos. One without kids (LP) and one with (Cabo). My kids are 7 and 9. They were TROOPERS. Yours are younger, I believe. My advice: bring strollers! And fun things for them to do. Have them help make (and wave) signs. The swim can be super fun for kids because they can play in the sand. 🙂 My kids were excited to see their dad get out of the water, and to cheer for the final swim finishers. We went back to the hotel during the biking, and went back to the race to watch the run (3 loop run course, so very spectator friendly). Let your parents watch what they want of the race during the afternoon, and then pawn the kids off on them in the evening so your hubby can be on the course cheering you on….and carrying you home when you finish. I’m doing my first IM in November (IM FL) and am still wrestling with bringing my kids or not. If they do come, I would DEFINITELY want someone other than my husband there to help with the kids on race day – I will need his undivided attention near the end too! GOOD LUCK! I will be cheering for you from MISSOURI. 🙂

  • Kelly

    May 2, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I love to see that you have a “nutrition ideas” paper! I have one on the side of my fridge because I NEVER seem to know what to eat.
    Loving the blog posts!!

  • Kristen

    May 2, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I was just thinking of you today and wondering how your training was going. I have a mini-sprint Sunday, the same distance I did in my first tri in 2011. I am so wanting to bust my old time; I think I will download that tri app and play wih it. I don’t want to sound crazy or stalker’ish, but I do think of you and all your accomplishments every day when I’m working out, and while I’m kind of dreading it, I’m also crazily looking forward to those long workouts knowing that I’m training for a half Iron or Iron. You rock! Keep up the fabulous work! And congrats on the weight loss – I’m about 17.4 lbs away from W-One-derland myself! so freaking excited!

  • Julie Moscol

    May 2, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    You’re so friggin’ AWESOME, Period. And so’s your husband, Period. Can’t wait to hear the equally awesome race report. And remember, when the going gets tough, there are a zillion of us crazy SBM’s out here, thinking of you and sending our kick butt vibes.

    • Nancy

      May 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      Haha! I got nauseous reading your post, as in, I’ve been there, but mine was a half iron man. Trust your body, trust your training, trust all the hours and miles that will lead you to the starting line. And when you get there think “it’s only another training swim, bike, ride”.

      I wish I could find the text conversation I had with a friend who had to talk me down from a panic attack a few weeks before the race.

      Trust your body, trust your mind, trust your training, and remember, this is YOUR race and your experience and enjoy the f out of it, you’ve earned it 🙂

  • moltovivacemama

    May 3, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Oooh, there’s an app that could fuel my obsessiveness about race paces? Must find out if it exists for Android. I’ve specated ironman and half ironman races before, posted on FB. They will have a great time – the excitement is palpable!

  • Colleen Kingery

    May 3, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Two things… I totally obsessed with my “what if” paces leading up to the race. I didn’t even think about it on race day. Just went with what felt good and what my body can do. It’s normal, although don’t let it consume your life. 🙂

    Second – give the family a map and a list with “I’ll finish, I’ll be happy, I’m awesome” projections for when you will be out of the water, out of T1, off the bike, out of T2 and at the finish line. Print off a map of the course and highlight possible places that they can see you. Pack them a bag with snacks and cowbells. And then let them figure it out. Sounds harsh, but you have way more important things to keep you up at night about. Tell hubs how much you need him and maybe give him an extra map with where you need him and when.


  • Stephanie Roberson

    May 4, 2013 at 9:00 am

    SEE? THIS is why I desperately miss my tri training buddy (he moved) We would sit for HOURS and talk over the same tri stuff: over and over and over again. Comparing our most recent times against others in our age groups (to see if we could place) against each other (I was alway faster than he was on the swim, as fast on the bike but the run….) IT was great to have someone to bounce all my tri craziness against. SO very happy you have someone to do the same with! If he loves tris even half as much as you do, he’s probably enjoying it too in some small way.
    You are going to make it and I can’t wait to see the results on line and will probably disturb whoever is near me when I read that Mere is and IRONMAN(woman)!
    Chin up, chicka. you’re doing great!


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