#23 Final Prep and a little motivation…..6 days before lift off

Ground Control to Major Tom; Commencing countdown engines on……Check ignition and may God’s love be with you……

Well, if you know the song, I’m hoping for a bit more pleasant outcome than the good major had, but to a certain extent, that’s what this week was for me……the beginning of the countdown….the final hard sets, testing the armor and getting ready for take off.  

So even though it was a solid training week, I figured I’d save the great detail my final workouts and just give the reader’s digest version: a couple of fairly intense bricks and a final confidence booster in the pool (knowing you can do +/- 80 laps is tedious, but really good for the head) for another day.

Instead, I thought it would be best to use this post to set the stage for RACE WEEK…….so glad it’s here…..it’s going to be a long few days of anticipation I think. 

And so, I figure, in getting down to the real business at hand, I should start by coming clean with the readers and share my goals, objectives and expectations now that after months of prep it’s finally nearing “go-time” for arguably the most grueling course in arguably one of the most grueling endurance tests around.


Over the last months, I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s going to be hard and like most things, I won’t hit every goal this first time around…..so I’m approaching this race almost like stair steps……a series of goals & objectives from the very base goal (finish in 1 piece) all the way through the “if everything went just perfectly” stretch goal (a qualifying time)……and, because I so love turning just about everything into a game, I’ve decided to see how many “points” I can accrue along the way.

This puzzles me too….

Tally each completed goal and add together…….

1. Complete the race (ultimate disappointment if I don’t do this)
2. Complete the race without significant injury or ailment (fairly confident here, unless I do something dumb, which I’m known to do time and again…..OK, I have a history of this)
3. Place better than my bib number #861 (Last year finisher 861 did it in just under 14 hours, which assuming #1 & #2, I feel pretty good with this)
4. Place top 50% (last year about 13% did not finish and with 1914 registered this year, that means, assuming all things the same, somewhere around #832, again feel pretty good here if no major “body malfunctions”)
5. Complete the race in less than 13 hours (a little disappointment if I don’t given my training effort so far)
6. Complete the swim portion in less than 1:20 (should be able to if the cold water doesn’t hamper me)
7. Complete the bike portion in less than 7 hours (assuming no major mechanical issues, should be OK here)
8. Complete the run portion in less than 4 hours (somewhat of a variable, doable, but never a gimmie)
9. Complete the race in less than 12 hours (a big hurdle for anyone racing IM, and something that I feel is a good [in the realistic sense] goal for me)
10. Complete the swim in less than 1:10 hours (will have to be a good swim, not my best, but good)
11. Complete the bike in less than 6:30 hours  (good, but not my best)
12. Complete the run in less than 3:45 hours (this will be tough, but hard training pays off)
13. Complete the race less than 11:30 hours (stretching it here, transitions better be fast and nutrition has to go right)
14. Complete the bike in less than 6:00 hours (things would have to “fall into place”, would be extremely happy here, but I’ve tried to engineer out some power need with a more versatile 11-28 Cassette, a smoking fast Cervelo P2 with Zipp 404 on front and 808 on back, and a crazy looking but fast “Aero” helmet from Giro; let’s hope it helps).
15. Finish top 10% age group (ecstatic, but not necessarily content)
16. Qualify for Ironman World Championships, Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii (just plain Red-iculous)

If I tally the points for each successive goal the maximum score would be 136…….so we’ll see where it shakes out.


I’ll probably go more into this during one of my DAILY posts (you heard this correctly, I’m going to try to do a daily blog post from here until this time next week, when I’m hopefully recounting a great day), but this weekend was a real motivator for me and so I need to tip the cap where deserved:

This weekend our little local endurance team (PACER) showed that it’s no “little-local” anymore.  We started PACER as something to do that was healthy and a little competitive…..sort of an “active wager” amongst friends.  In the last 2 years we’ve had fun, but last night at the opening banquet for 2011, we got to see our group growing up fast:  18 runners participating in opening weekend, 12 of them completing a 1/2 marathon, which is no small undertaking.  Already several (by our age-graded method) achieving medal status and most setting the bar higher in the category of personal achievement.  This is so motivating for me……a powerful experience onto itself to watch people achieve something that they weren’t sure they could, or build on what the knew they could do…….and on top of all that, we had plenty of laughs.  Drinks and Karaoke, hidden talents and people just being themselves…..what’s not to be inspired by there?  And the final boost?  Watching a client turned friend work his butt off and honor himself and his family by embarking on a serious health-change journey and in the process do something truly extraordinary……..this weekend was a huge uplift for me and to my team……in all sincerity, I hope I can perform with the same passion and heart next weekend that I watched this weekend…..thank you all!

And to any of you in the blogosphere that aren’t a member…….2 things:

1. We’re a pretty fun group (OK, a little bias here)……the door to new members is ALWAYS open…..

2. I’m not selective at all where I get my positive energy from and I’m going to need a bunch to pull this thing off…….so if you’re a person of faith…..I’ll take your prayers.  If not, positive energy & thoughts are welcome too.

The last bit here is more administrative.  I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading my quirky tale of my attempt to become an IRONMAN so far.  In an effort to share as much of the experience as possible (since joining us in Utah is asking a bit much) I will be doing a short daily blog until next week……I’ve also put my wife and family up to doing the play by play during the race.  Haven’t worked out all of the technology kinks yet, but it will definitely be posted on Pro-Activity’s Facebook Page since the great majority of traffic on this blog comes from there, I’m going to assume most already have found it.  If not, and you want to share in this experience……become a fan and stay tuned on 5/7…..race starts around 7A in UT (9A EST).


Mike E.


  • Anonymous

    Best of luck Mike! I will be sending all my positive energy. I would say a congrats is already in order to you and your family for all of intese training and time sacrifice. I’ve definitely enjoyed reading your blog and cheering all of you on. –Jess DiGrazio-Masi

  • Thanks for the energy and support!