Monday , June 21 2021

I attempted a distance triathlon with no training

When filmmaker Zeppelin Zeerip, 26, told me for the first time about completing a do-it-yourself Ironman – during the night and without any training – I had my reservations. In reality, I had an opinion: this was a very bad idea which, at least, would have led to prolonged discomfort; and, in the worst case, an injury.

I am allowed to think of it. I'm going out with him.

Beyond that, respect the distance. I'm a runner with several ultra-marathons under my belt. I announced that the electrolyte mixes as the elixir of life. I know that completing a 2.4-mile Ironman-swimming, riding the 112, and running a marathon-is a lifelong goal of hardcore resistance athletes, not a casual act of fantasy just to fill a Saturday.

True, the Zeppelin (yes, this is his birth name) is a naturally gifted athlete: he is a sponsored snowboarder and has reached a peak of heights. But he does not train. This is a boy who (before this) had never swam more than a few hundred meters, never traveled more than 15 miles, and only around the city to run errands for his fixie.

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So, why take a distance iron triathlon, especially one that you have not registered, paid or designed? In short, Zeppelin has a challenge. And when he gets an idea that he likes sound, he does not let it go until it becomes reality.

But he can explain it better than me. Here is Zeppelin's account of his mission, from the beginning to the end.

Zeppelin DIY Ironman

Sean Ryan

6.00pm Friday 3rd August

Salt Lake City, Utah

I have a lot of fucked athletic friends, and originally I wanted to do an "Ottoman" do-it-yourself (because we were too fit to honestly call the "sofa") Ironman with them just to have a spicy summer adventure, and do something to get out of the weekend-warrior ballpark. It had been some time since I took on a great goal, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could still do it. But everyone refused me with an intelligent "F * ck no".

So I put the idea into oblivion. But when I found myself bored with no weekend plans, on a Friday in August, I told my girlfriend Lauren: "I'll do it tomorrow".

I searched Google for "Ironman 24 Hour Race Preparation", only to find out I was six, maybe 12 months late in training. I also read that nutrition is the most crucial component for finishing. So I went to eat a cheeseburger and a peanut butter and a chocolate from a local brewery (I skipped the beer because I thought I would save it for the celebration of the after event). After dinner, I designed a route on Google Maps: I would swim for 2.4 miles repeating Mirror Lake tours, about 30 miles outside the city; then travel 112 miles of mountain passes from Mirror Lake to my home in Salt Lake; and finish with 26.2 miles running on the city streets. I would have started in the evening and I would have done most of it during the night, to avoid traffic during the bike ride and the scorching heat of August on the marathon. And I still have time to recover before returning to the office on Monday morning.

My plan was solved, I tried to sleep a little. The Internet also said that rest is important.

11:00 to Saturday 4 August

Salt Lake City

Although I did not train, lay down or own a legitimate road bike, I honestly thought that an Ironman would be relatively easy. I've lived in the mountains more than half my life, and my weekends have gone on to complete great missions in the backcountry-traversing linkups and splitboarding. When you know the pain of making a climb of 5,000 feet on the snow, in elevation, you can understand that you can tolerate the highest thresholds of discomfort.

I used the day to get ready. First I went to the farmer's market to buy my body weight in peaches. I eat a lot of peaches. Then I borrowed my friend Drake's racing bike. He also equipped me with bibs and some bike lights.

Lauren taught me patiently why salt tablets are crucial, and I reluctantly bought two tubes of Nuun tablets instead of one (later I would be grateful that I did not spare those seven dollars). I also bought four Honey Stinger pods and four ProBars. A trip to the grocery store completed my "nutrition" with a bag of dried meat, two PB & J sandwiches, two bananas, three donuts and a Odwalla shake. I would eat everything.

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6:51 pm

Mirror Lake, Uinta Mountains, Utah

My understanding of a traditional Ironman swim is that it is a mass start in which one is kicked in the face and otherwise violently assaulted. It did not seem too tempting, especially because my swimming style consisted of rowing on my surfboard when I had the chance to visit the west coast. So I was happy to share Mirror Lake with just a few fishermen and paddleboarders, as well as Lauren and my roommate / friend, Sean Ryan, who were following me in a canoe with Strava running and a tow rope (just in case ).

I had a diving suit, but not being a swimmer, I forgot to bring a nose plug and glasses. And my shape? It consisted of a spastic frontal spasm broken by back interludes and an abysmal attempt at a header.

After 1:51:52, I crawled out of the lake. It was getting dark. I was cold, and all of a sudden I was not so excited about my 112-mile solo night ride. To cheer myself up, I approached a man grilling at a nearby campsite with his family, with a 45-caliber pistol on his hip, as you do. I asked if they had any ammo to share. I did not take it.

Zeppelin DIY Ironman

Sean Ryan

9:00 am.

Somewhere in the High Uintas Wilderness

After my pleasant 15-minute transition, I felt more ready for the bike than I have ever looked at. I had never driven with the pegs before – I was very excited for this new experience – and I was wearing my trail running shoes on my flat pedals.

I had mapped a mostly flat route (as much as possible in the mountains – there were still 4,691 feet of climbing). Within two miles, the front light of the motorcycle is dead, leaving me to depend on a front lamp with a questionable battery life as I reach the 40-mile Highway Mirror Lake. I was trying to watch the cars on the narrow winding road, but the deer ended up being the real danger. I was cooking at 35 miles an hour when I turned the corner to see that a deer had positioned itself perfectly in the middle of my lane. I hit the brakes and I slipped, thinking I was going down. The deer has just moved away. Later, I imagined laughing for "the human terrified on a bike" with all the other creatures in the woods. That was the scariest part of the night until I realized I had forgotten to check the weather.

Around 11 am, light flashed and I heard a thunder. Then the rain started. I did not have a shell. While I was pedaling in the city of Coalville a little after midnight, cold and wet, an old worried lady stopped in her car and informed me of a motel five miles away. It seemed tempting, so I walked away, moving away from his reasonable voice. As I walked away, I shouted, "I want to be out here!" I think I shouted it out for my benefit as much as for his.

At this point, I had to admit that Ironman triathlons are difficult. There, I said. I just wanted to stay in my bed, where I knew it was Lauren and my dog ​​Makoa.

The East Canyon Pass was the last, unstoppable rise. I lowered my head and sadly pedaled until I returned to Salt Lake. Strava told me I was only at mile 106, so I drove for half a mile around my neighborhood park at 3:00 am until I hit 112 miles, for a bike division of 6:21.

Thus began the emotional roller coaster. It was strange: I no longer felt like I was self-proclaimed for self-inflicted suffering. Honestly, I did not feel that bad anymore. I had energy and more than a shred of hope that I would have finished this thing. And I was still stunned beyond the butts.

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3:37 Sunday, August 5th

Salt Lake City

I felt guilty about waking Lauren at 3:30 in the morning, but she offered to run the marathon with me. While she was filling her hydration pack, I filled the open hole in her stomach with a peach, a sandwich and a donut.

My new mental strength lasted 10 miles. After that, I kept asking for breaks for walks, hoping to sleep while I was walking. It did not work. Lauren deceived me to run for another four miles than expected before the first "rescue station" broke down at my house. He also convinced me to open that second valve of Nuun boards and to lower the much needed water. At about 6 in the morning, 17 miles deep, we returned to my home for another bit of food and an espresso.

Knowing that I was only nine miles away was a turning point. I have been rehydrated. I had hope again. I had committed myself to finishing.

Makoa joined us for the last leg, which was perfect because his road racing pace is a solid and reliable 9:30 mile. All three of us seemed to have just come out for a morning run. But really, I was on my last leg, supported by the dreams of a pastrami sandwich from Feldman's Deli.

Zeppelin DIY Ironman

Sean Ryan

9:06 am and later

My home

After five hours of running, my Achilles looked like a rubber band stretched to the breaking point. A mile from the finish line, I was relegated back to a run-walk regime. But when I got to my house, I saw that Sean had installed a finishing tape on our porch as a surprise. I took the rhythm and I crossed it. It is not possible to cross a finisher's tape. Perform division: 5:14. Total time: 13:26

The challenge was over. Right? Not exactly.

Despite my new knowledge of electrolytes, I was still severely dehydrated. Instead of having a celebratory beer, my body was rewarded with projectile vomit, hot flashes and fatigue in the head to feet that (I presume) felt like death. The supreme pizza I ate at the breakfast party took a hard turnaround in less than an hour. I had difficulty walking for a week.

All in all, I would give the DIY Ironman 2 out of 5 stars on a Yelp review. I would not encourage the masses to embark on a major resistance event without training. You'll probably hurt yourself. But if you feel really bored, stupid and motivated on Friday, and decide to do it in any way, I have an advice: buy that second barrel of Nuun.

A postscript, by Lauren

Part of me wanted the Ironman of Zeppelin to be the hardest thing he had ever done. I wanted him to meet all the pain, fatigue and anxiety of six months of training in one evening. I thought it was naive – or even a little presumptuous – to suppose he could take it out without preparation.

But as I watched him approach his house on the final stretch, I realized I had a deep respect for him to venture into this do-it-yourself mission – with all the respect I have for my friends who are preparing for the big races . Zeppelin allows himself to try, have great ideas and do something with them regardless of what the rest of the world tells him it is "normal" or "possible". It's a kind of courage that I think all athletes can benefit. That most of us have never attempted something audacious, Zeppelin's Ironman DIY reminds us that we are capable of much more than we think, as long as we remain hydrated.

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