Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wonderful Advice from a guy who has BEEN THERE

During my treadmill workouts, I like to pop in Ironman videos of past races and get inspired. Lets face it, running on the treadmill is a boring endeavour so anything that can make it more interesting works for me.

Ive watched the 2007 Ironman World Championships before. This is the race where the heavy favorites fall from the race. Natashia Badmann crashes, Norman Stadler is so ill on the bike he can hardly hold a line (I KNOW all about that feeling) and drops out and Faris Al Sultan is a no show for the race. Its a pretty amazing event...but even with all of that there was just one story that grabbed my attention and that was the story of Murray Frank.

Murray Frank use to be 350lbs. When he did this Ironman, he was still a rather large guy and was featured at the swim exit of the race. The announcer said "There are all shapes and sizes of Ironman triathletes, but some just make you say "No Way!". This comment just pissed me off. Of course, he's a Clydesdale...he couldn't possibly finish this race...right??

Wrong! Murray Frank completed the Ironman World Championships in 16 hours 44 minutes. Hmmm??!!! Well now, this was someone I just had to talk to if possible.

I went on the Internet and found his email address and sent him a note. I told him what I was trying to accomplish and asked if there was any advice he could bestow upon me. To my surprise, I got a response within an hour...and here was his reply:

Hey Melissa;

A 200lb weight loss makes you an Ironman of itself. I have been 350 and I know the struggle it is to overcome the challenges that got me there in the first place.

3 Half Ironman races to your credit is just outstanding. It is obvious that you have found the conversation with yourself that pushes you forward. One 1/2 Iron is a trophy. 3 is a lifestyle choice.

I am reluctant to take praise for my race in Kona in 2007. I was there by lottery and tried to avoid the attention of the camera’s. I was there as part of our lifestyle change that began in 2001 and has seen me finish 8 or 10 half’s, 3 marathons, Ironman Canada 3 times and then IMH in ‘07. My wife has fought her weight as well as cancer and she to has raced Ironman Canada 4 times since 2004 (and is going again this August).

The advice I have for anyone doing an Ironman is pretty vanilla. You have proven that you deserve to be there by all of your accomplishments and I would suggest you at least consider these 3 things:

Trust your training, the day is long and it will at times seem overwhelming. Make good choices as each challenge presents itself, and it sounds like you made a good choice last year when your body refused you. The Ironman is just many, many small accomplishments strung together over a very long day.

Do not allow the challenge of being forced to stop short last year, to change your mental attitude about your race this November. If you visualize the finish, recall that you have been visualizing it long before this year. You did not quit this race, your body asked you to defer until this year.

Race past the finish. Get some advice on how to train past the Ironman for at least 6 weeks. Change the routine to something that is unstructured and something you love, but keep moving. If you work towards a major goal and do not set goals beyond that point, it is easy to slide all the way back to where you once were. Find balance and do something for Melissa every day. Trust me on this one.

Think of me training along side you as I prepare for Kona again this October (yes – I got a lottery slot again). I will be leaner. I will be even better prepared. I will have even more fun than last time, and I will not slide backwards after finishing this time – it made the past 2 months of training very uncomfortable.

Keep me posted!


Now that's some great advice!


The Running Girl said...

How awesome is that!!!! And what great advice for anyone doing an Ironman. You go girl!

IronBob said...

Hard to top that. And he is right on about many little goals throughout the day...

And one lucky dude, two lottery slots in two years? What are the odds?

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing!!!!