Thursday, December 12, 2019

In the five Ironman triathlons I’ve completed in, my best finish time was 15:39:10.

(Is that good?)

The average finish time is 14 hours.

(So you are above average or below?)

I’m slower than average.

(So who cares? You spent your life trying to be like everyone and where did that get you?)

To the realization that not being average was what made me successful as a teacher and a coach.

(So why try to be faster?)

This speaks to the heart of the matter:

(Your OCD?)

No, that striving to improve is what keeps us all moving forward.

(So then, what did you have in mind?)

I need to come up with racing strategy for swimming, biking and running in under 15 hours.

(You forgot something.)


(The time it takes you to get from the swim to the bike.)

And the time it takes me to get from the bike to the run.

Here’s the prediction:

1:25:00 swim

Ten minutes in transition.

7:35:00 bike

Five minutes in transition.

5:40:00 run

(I’m having several problems with your math.)

You realize that you are the voice inside my head.

(I’m glad that one of us has.)

Your problems?

(Ah, yes. Where are you getting these numbers?)

One hour 25 minutes is my best Ironman swim time.

(You can beat that, can’t you?)

I think so, but go with it.

(Ok, so why 10 minutes between the swim to bike, but only five minutes from bike to run?)

When I exit the water from the swim, I will be a quarter of a mile from the changing tent. When I finish the bike, I will be only feet from the changing tent where my running sneakers are awaiting me.

(So, just go faster.)

There’s the rub. Go too fast and I will burn out. Go too slow, I will miss the cut off and be disqualified. It all comes down to the bike.

If everything goes right, I should be able to average 14.75 mph.

(That translates into seven hours and 35 minutes on the bike.)

Which puts me at a total of nine hours, 10 minutes into the race.

(Which gives you five hours and 49 minutes to reach your goal. What is your best marathon time?)



Ask me what my best marathon time is after 112 miles of biking?


Six hours.


This is what makes Ironman so exciting.

No outcome is predicted.

No finish is guaranteed.

There is a real chance that I could fail.

(And what if you fail?)

There will be other chances. As long as I finish in 16:59:59.

(You will still be called...)

An Ironman!

By David Roher

David Roher is a USAT certified Marathon & Triathlon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher & a veteran special education teacher. He can be reached at: [email protected]