A couple of weeks ago, I was on a bike trainer hating life.

To clarify – I was hating that 20 minutes of life as I was pedaling away trying to get my heart rate as high as possible. Tammie, my marathon training buddy and I tortured ourselves in the garage of a fellow triathlete  (also Tami) attempting to figure out our heart rate training zones. Now that triathlon season is starting, there has been lots of talk amongst the members of our Tri group about heart rate zone training. Many of the group are tackling the full Ironman in October, and while I wasn’t sure I was going to use it myself for the Half, I figured it would still be interesting to know.


Briefly, the plan involves doing just about all training in heart rate zone 2, or your aerobic zone (Zone 1 being the easiest and Zone 5 being close to max). This zone is supposed to be the zone where you can “hang out” the longest, an important factor when you consider many  Ironman participants take 12+ hours to finish. 

So I’m pedaling and Tammie/Tami are using what encouragement they can to help me keep the pace up, and Tami asks me if I ever thought I’d be doing something like this a couple of years ago. My ability to talk silenced by my heavy breathing, I shook my head. Although I was well versed in the meanings of the numbers 13.1 and 26.2, I barely knew what 70.3 or 140.6 even meant (70.3 is the Half Iron distance, 140.6 is the full) a couple of years ago. The concept of triathlon was still new – I thought an Ironman was downright crazy. Even as I registered for the Half a few months ago, I shook my head at the group going after the full, though this time more in awe than insanity.

I said the same thing about a marathon once.

Discussion about training plans has been circling for several weeks already. Most Ironman plans are at least 30 weeks long. 7 months. SEVEN. MONTHS. Many plans peak at somewhere between 15-18 hours of training for the week. A part time jobs’ worth of hours.  The Half distance, though certainly not a walk in the park, was something I figured would be easier for me to manage. After training for something for almost a year, I was going to take it easy before starting to follow a plan in early July.

After our test was over we sat on Tami’s porch with a beer. Tami has completed 5, yes FIVE, full Ironman’s and Tammie was interested in picking her brain on training. While she asked questions, I flipped through the book containing the plans for the full race, and before I knew it I was mentally calculating how I could complete the training hours  in the least involved plan.

My mistake was saying it out loud.

They look like innocent enough friends…

I thought on this quite a bit the next few days. Mentally planning workouts. Looking at reviews on this particular plan  (the hours compared to most are on the low end  but I’m just looking to finish and still be able to be home). Asking questions. Discussing the idea with Bryan. Working around his work, my work and the daycare schedule. That few minutes (and some not so subtle hints from the other two) started changing my entire frame of mind and suddenly what I thought was completely nuts a couple weeks before something I was not only contemplating but actively planning.

A month or so ago I set a countdown on my Garmin watch to my Half Ironman race.

Today, I made a *slight* change

It cuts off a little – you get the point