Preview Into Ironman

by Josh Becker
Preview Into Ironman
16536 (1) Can you believe it is already the end of May? This year is almost halfway through, and I’ve been consumed with my training for Ironman this fall (apologies for not updating you all in a while). Training has been long and exhausting, but it’s been going extremely well! Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been up to.

Training Camp

First of all, I’m training for 6 or more hours a day! Last weekend I went to a town called Arkadelphia, AR where my team puts on a triathalon training camp every year. It goes from Friday through Sunday. The first couple of training days were great, but then I woke up on Sunday with pretty bad allergies so I took off that day to recover. Overall though, I got a lot out of it. On Friday, we started out discussing our goals for the camp, what we wanted to work on, our nutrition habits and if/how we should change it. Later that day we went to the lake and swam for 20 minutes, followed by a Super Sprint Triathlon. I learned a lot about my swim, especially that I need to make sure I’m the day before any training or race I do. After that, we did some hill training and called it a day. We were up bright and early on Saturday, starting with a 4 1/2 hour bike ride. There’s a hill that’s got my name on it, and I wasn’t able to get over that hill. Despite that, we ended our ride with a trail run/walk. Later in the day, we had another open water swim; this time, I went longer than my Half Ironman distance so I was very happy with myself! I learned more from this particular swim, too. If I need to take a 20/30 second break and hold on to the kayak, I should do so. It makes a big difference in helping my muscles recover a bit. I also took away a lot of good nutrition information as well, and I’m working with my coach to get a better plan in place for me.

Texas Man X-50 Race

Not only did I do training camp last month, but I also competed in a race just outside of Dallas, in Valley View, TX. This was one of my planned Ironman training races called the Texas Man X-50. This race has a 1-swim, 40-mile bike ride, and a 9-mile run. It was useful to have done this race after the training camp; I came to the race with a general idea of how long it would take me to finish most of the segments, and I had a plan to keep myself hydrated and nourished the day before. On race day, I did pretty well from the starting dive to the first buoy of the Sprint distance. Further out, the swim was more challenging since the day was windy and the water was choppy. In fact, some of the waves were over a foot tall, and I didn’t have experience swimming in rough waters. I kept on losing track of where I was, but I made it to the end. I was in a zone, and my teammates were cheering me on, which was encouraging and helped me keep my eyes on the finish line. I went through transition, put on my bike gear, and took off down the path. The bike ride went well. My goal was to keep my heart rate under 145bpm; when I got out of the swim I was 153, so I relaxed on the bike, and got my heart rate down to around 107bpm. It was so important for me to keep myself stable during the ride because everything I do on the bike would affect my run. I finished my ride right on time. Once I was out of my bike gear, I put on my hydration and number belts, and running shoes. I started by walking the first 5 minutes, and snuck in a bathroom stop. I had two loops to run, and I was able to see a lot of my teammates then. We were all cheering each other on, and I love my team for this––it helps so much! I finished strong, and felt great on this race. I took away a few key learnings from these past couple of months to help me get ready for the big race in October. I learned my body gets extremely dehydrated on the bike with my hypoparathyroidism (it does a number to my electrolytes). During the afternoon, my medication peaks because of my elevated calcium levels, so I’ll have to take precautions and make sure my Generation UCan is on my bike. I found a better electrolyte replacement for my runs. Now I just have to figure out when I will take my calcium on the bike ride and run portions to keep me going; I plan to use Cal-EZ with the right timing.

What’s Next?

Next week, I’m headed to the Hypoparathyroidism Conference in Jacksonville, FL. I’m taking off from participating in any races until July 1st, where I’ll be swimming a 4K in a lake. It’ll be my longest open water swim so wish me luck! Until next time, stay focused, keep training, and remember to have fun––I am!