Ironman Louisville

Why an Ironman? Why a 2.4 mile swim? Why a 112 mile bike ride? Why a 26.2 mile run? Why all those three in the same day?!?

When I first started running two years ago, I jumped into it head first. I had never ran a marathon. I had never ran a half marathon. I had never ran a 10k. I had not ran a 5k since Cross Country in my senior year in high school in 2003. I put up the money for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon not knowing what I got myself into. I’m doing the same this time around for the Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky.

After completing my fourth(!!!!) marathon, I wanted to mix things up for 2012. I needed a new challenge. I know I wanted to continue running, but did I just want to do that? I thought about focusing on just running and potentially aiming for the stars to knock off 14 minutes off my marathon time for that coveted 3:04:59 marathon. I thought about maybe focusing on trail running and doing a few races here and there to see how that treated me. I thought about doing smaller triathlons to get my feet wet and see where that took me in hopes for the bigger ones. Naaaahhh. Let’s do this.


I had been researching for several days and thought I found one just far enough into 2012 to be able to train for it. I sent out a few text messages to my sister, dad and a friend asking what they thought? They all said the same thing, “Go for it!” They all agreed that I could do it if I went about it the right way. I was terrified. I knew if I had enough time to train, I could do it. I sat down at the computer with credit card in hand. I watched a ton of YouTube videos for both knowledge and inspiration about the Ironman Louisville. After blacking out, I came to realizing I had just signed up for the most grueling day of my life, August 26, 2012.

I knew that I would need to work on things. Swimming that distance and cycling for that length of time were the big questions when signing up and they still are. Running is of course my best discipline. I’m average at swimming but know I can eventually do it, especially with the time trial start (starting one swimmer at a time a few seconds apart rather than a wave start where everyone goes at once). I need to really work on building my strength for this leg of the race. Cycling is another huge question mark on my end. I’m not a strong cyclist. I finished towards the end of the cycling leg when only doing 13 miles for my sprint triathlon. Just 99 more miles and I’m there!! I have 9 months to work on that. I bought a indoor trainer and will be knocking the miles out on it until I can get out on the road on weekends and mornings that aren’t blistering cold. Nutrition is another big question mark. I eat relatively well throughout the week. Weekends… not so much. I need to pay closer attention to everything I’m taking it before and after workouts and when I’m resting. So all together, I need to do better because after I read this stat, I freaked my bean,
According to Suzanne Girard Eberle in her book entitled “Endurance Sports Nutrition,” “Ironman competitors expend 8,000 to 10,000 calories or more during the race.” These numbers are staggering compared to most human’s daily calorie needs of 1,500 to 2,500 calories a day.

I have spoken to the people that I do CrossFit with and one of the ladies up there has actually completed several Ironman. She has trained for them using strictly CrossFit Endurace. I’m looking into that but will still feel the need to get out and do long runs, long bike rides and long swims. I have no idea what I just signed up for!!

Wish me luck over these next 36 and a half weeks!

“Ryan Doonkeen, from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, you are an Ironman,” is all I want to hear by 11:59pm on Sunday, August 26th, 2012.

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