Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Wussification of 140.6

What happened last week in Chattanooga?

In the aftermath of an Ironman that saw over 1,000 out of the 2,700 participants quit and accept a DNF, I can't help but wonder what is going wrong with the perceived enervation of Ironman participants these days?

Maybe there lies some irony in this endurance race sharing a title sponsor of Little Debbie...

And I choose the word "participants" deliberately. I can't help but wonder if this outstandingly high drop out rate is a product of a lack of preparation, stubbornness of athletes to adjust a game-plan, or  racers not in touch with how they are feeling/what to expect on race day? Or even worse, a growing population of people who hop on they "I'm training for an Ironman" train but are complacently satisfied with quitting prematurely in the face of adversity. And even worse so than that, they then are pleasantly plum with placing the blame on extrinsic elements, dodging the fact that they are the only ones responsible for dealing with their decisions.

I understand the temperatures reached 97 degrees. That's pretty hot. But it'd be delusional to think that every single person who toed the line didn't know that this was the forecast at least 10 days in advance. No matter what the forecast, or race day specifics, or course profiles you need be in tune and expect these things. It is boarder line insane to start a race of any distance without research and attention to detail. More so, every athlete wishing to optimize their race day performance needs to know how to adjust effort levels and expectations on race day in the face of whatever is thrown at them.

It is all too common to hear people duck and cover from all responsibility of their upcoming race with phrases like, "I haven't even swam in two weeks," "My longest run has only been XX miles,"  or my personal favorite "I just haven't had any time to train." It is even more depressing to me to seemingly see the people DNS (did not start) a race grow and grow over the years - for whatever reason (read: excuse) that may be. Now, I know I am going catch some flack and I know SOME injuries are unavoidable. But even "being injured" is a tough pill for me to swallow on the excuse front. Most injuries can be avoided in the first place by training properly and knowing what you are getting into before signing up.  For most people new to the sport that problem is easily solved by a consulting with a coach or a seasoned vet about the physical demands an endurance race of any magnitude requires. From there, developing a personal plan to get you acclimated to the distance accordingly.

Now, to get to the main point of my rant. Is signing up for an Ironman becoming trendy? Is the slogan "Anything is Possible" in need of a gut check? Because to me it is more sounding like, "Anyone can sign up." I realize that I wasn't even alive for most of the bouts between Mark Allen and Dave Scott. And not yet into double digit years when Karen Smyers dug out Paula Newbie-Fraser with an epic finish of a run. Also to be mentioned is the 1997 Crawl Finish that contributed to the popularization of Ironman. "The legs are still there, you just can't feel them; the eyes still see but through a gauzy vale of delirium." I didn't even know about endurance sports back then but I now fantasize about pushing my body to these limits. Most recently, the Cozumel ITU finish between the Brownlee brothers (in a race a quarter the Ironman distance). What happened to the days when quitting just wasn't an option?

The examples above are all the top echelon of the sport at the time and may seem a little out of touch to most. But let's also take a trip back not much more than a year ago to the same state that obliterated so many aspiring Ironmen (and women) as they threw in the towel, accepted defeat, only to blame the heat. Could those 1,000 athletes that dropped out REALLLY not take one more step forward? Really?? I doubt it. And I am willing to bet that if they looked deep down into their hearts most of them would change the "But it was so hot" to a "But I was just unprepared mentally and physically." I say this because back on June 18, 2015, an RV made it's way to Tennessee. The red and black RV had made 17 prior stops in 17 different states in consecutive days; inside that RV was a beard and a mustache that had completed an Ironman distance triathlon in each one of those respective days/states.

The "Ironcowboy", James Lawrence was on 2-3hours sleep for the past 2+weeks. The temperature was 95 degrees. Yes, only two degrees "cooler" than the 2016 Ironman Chattanooga event where 40% of participants tapped out with a "no mas" as they hitched a ride back to the "Athlete Village" to mow down on pizza and coke. James was plowing his way through the US, 30miles into the bike on his 18th consecutive day of 140.6 in 95 degree heat when he literally fell asleep on his bike and crashed. Do you think he wanted to drop out then? I bet if it was an option to him, he would have wanted to quit. But the difference lies therein: It wasn't even an idea to him. He had no idea what he was getting into, but he prepared like an animal and the option of quitting was not only unfathomable; it was non-existent. He got up and finished the ride. Then finished a marathon right after that. Then he finished 32 consecutive days of covering the 140.6 distance in every other state.

So I ask again, "Could those DNFs at Chattanooga reee-eeee-aaalll-llyy not take one more step?"

I am not trying to sound cynical (or am I?). I just think the words "I quit" are on far too many tongues these days when a race isn't going as expected. And to put it into context this is coming from someone who has been brought to a walking pace during his past two Ironman attempts (furthermore, one of those races was a lack of mental preparedness and one was, to my best guess, a lack of run volume). But the connotation there is a bit different. I am proud of both those race results; and I own both of them (even though they both resulted in me missing my ultimate goal of a Kona spot by one place and two places respectively). There's a difference between "I quit because it was hot out," and "I quit because I gave it my all and was ultimately not prepared for the heat (or cold, or hills, or whatever)."

I am not saying that everyone needs to finish an Ironman at blazing speeds but the endurance sport world is only fascinating when you, personally, figure out what it means to "endure." The answer comes from within and requires you to be completely truthful with yourself. The goal upon signing up is, and this is an assumption,  to push yourself mentally and physically. The goal is to want so desperately to stop, but then push through.

Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe the goal is to sign up, tell all your friends, post pictures of all your workouts on Instagram with a cunning hashtag, and then drop out with an excuse when the race gets hard.

To wrap this little declamation up, I think anyone embarking on any endurance journey, 140.6 or otherwise, would benefit greatly both mentally and physically by consulting with a coach or at least someone who has been there before with knowledge of the sport. In a previous piece, I wrote about "Training for the Low" of any race. and if you think your race won't be filled with "lows" I'd be willing to bet that you'd be one of those 1,000 people who called it quits "Because it was hot out," or "I had to drop out because I dropped my salt tabs."

The goal is to find out what you are capable of and challenge yourself. It is not to dive in head first only to realize you bit off more than you can chew on your own. If it's going to be hot, you need to prepare yourself, maybe you need to slow down, or eat more, or drink more water, or whatever. But you can't expect to be able to perform at your best if you don't know what exactly are getting into. Y need to prepare and train properly up until race day, and then you need a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C for whatever race day throws at you.

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face." - Muhammad Ali (EDIT: This is a Tyson Quote... not Ali)

Do you want to dig deep and push yourself? Or do you want to be a part of the DNF statistic wondering what would have happened if you kept going?

78 comments:

  1. Nice piece. I see this a lot in all kinds of sports. People are afraid they will fail so they don't train. For a lot of people, half-assing it and getting lucky is a far better outcome than trying your best and barely finishing. In strength sports and field sports, sometimes luck and natural ability can cover up a lack of effort. Endurance is different and you can't fake a good base. It takes a lot of strength to set that ego aside, empty your cup, do the training to the best of your ability, and accept the outcome.

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  2. Hit the nail on the GD head! Boom.

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  3. One of the reasons this was so high was most likely because Chattanooga attracts a huge number of beginners with the current assisted swim. First time mid and back of the pack finishers train to complete the distance and can be very quickly derailed if something goes wrong. I don't know that those first timers are necessarily less courageous than others. I will say I was tracking about 30 folks there from Miami and we're pretty well trained in the heat and most of them really suffered and several who have gone the distance before didn't finish which was rough for them.

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    1. The swim was not as assisted as it has been in the past. Only weeks before, the river was "running" and I did the swim almost 30 minutes faster than I did on race day. Despite the easy swim, the bike is 4 miles longer (116) and the run is just brutal with hills. This is no easy tri. However, I do agree there were lots of beginners and they struggled. It was my first and I finished, but I saw experienced triathletes not make it, for one reason or another.

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  4. With all due respect, you're kind of a dick. And also a hypocrite, since you felt the need to justify your own sub-par performance. So other people's lack of mileage is a pathetic excuse, but yours is just an unfortunate byproduct of this noble life you lead?

    I've successfully been a runner for 20 years and a triathlete for 8. I've done a 10-hour ironman. I've trained in 100-degree heat. And I've never had a serious injury until this year. However, I DNF'd Chattanooga because my IT band was about to pop. I'm perfectly fine with quitting. Because, at the ripe old age of 28, I understand that it's just a race. The "pride" of finishing? Been there, done that. I needed to actually be functional in the days and weeks after the race, because my life is more meaningful than pushing myself to the brink of hospitalization for a cheap piece of metal on a rope.

    I suspect you need to take a hard look at why you participate in triathlon. If you really care about pushing your body to the limit, why don't you boycott ironman and go have 12-hour self-supported training days and keep yourself away from all of us unsavory, impure DNFers? I'm sure WTC would be happy to take some other bucket-lister's money, and then we wouldn't have to listen to your egotistical whining.

    Also, learn to spell borderline if you're going to put your garbage on the internet forever. You can do an ironman but can't take 10 seconds to consult a dictionary? Priorities, bro.

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    1. You'd think this guy invented ironman, the way it personally offends him the way these racers disrespected his race. I literally can't even, at the hilarity of his righteous indignation at people who DNFed a race, it's like they insulted him AND his ancestors.

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    2. Drew, I have to tell you your response here has brought a snicker to my face as I was in the exact same position as you a week or so ago. IMCHOO 2016 was my 8th Ironman, I'm coached by a professional, I'm one who consistently finishes at the pointy end of my AG and I know I was fit. And, frankly, I like to race in the heat and know how to do it. (3 time Kona Qualifier and finisher) Unfortunately, as I (very slowly) ticked off the miles of the run it was increasingly obvious I wasn't going to be able to keep running because of my injury. I had hoped that it wasn't as bad as it was and that things wouldn't deteriorate to the degree they did. But like you, I made the decision to pull the plug as I was afraid had I kept going I may have done damage to my body that could have kept me from the sport I love going forward. I didn't want to risk that for one race. That being said, I can't say my first and only DNF hasn't been a tough pill for me to swallow. I've struggled with it for 10 days now. It was REALLY hard for me to watch the woman who won my AG get a Kona slot with a time that was nearly 2 hours slower than the time I had 2 years ago there. I'm not suggesting I was going to match my time from 2 years ago as my swim and bike were already a few minutes off, but I'm still "what iffing" myself to death in my mind. My biggest regret is the fact that leading up to the race, I didn't listen to my body and accept the fact I was injured. I just trained with and through the pain and kept putting up with it. Shame on me for that-lesson learned. Had I not put myself through that, been willing to take a bit of time off to let my body recover, things may have turned out differently. At any rate, thank you for your very well crafted response to this rant. Know you made at least one fellow athlete snicker and take one more step to acceptance.

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    3. Beautifully put!! And the reference to "boarder" line bothered me more than any of his other drivel :)

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    4. Awesome response. I was in Augusta the same weekend and had friends miss the cutoffs and have their chips taken, but they completed the distance. The internet states DQ but in my book they finished a 70.3

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    5. Started as the best response ever... and then you called out "boarder" line and it became brilliant. Thank you!

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    6. Started as the best response ever... and then you called out "boarder" line and it became brilliant. Thank you!

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    7. Sorry, I'm not jumping on the butt hurt Drew train. Frgive me splling on this hear interweb, but blogs are only proofread by people by people who want to attack spelling and grammar because they have poor arguments.

      "I'm such and such and I did such and such and still dropped out for such and such, so you're a dick!"

      lol. You are proving his point. You got all offended because you've a thin skin. Keep on dropping out, dude. Protect your IT band. Bump down in distances so you aren't attempting an Ironman you can't finish because your body wasn't ready for it. That's the point he's making.

      Most of his points, it seems, you are missing.
      But at least you are also proving them. That "cheap price of a metal on a rope" you talk about--it's cheapened because of the very people he's admonishing. Ironman is the upper echelon of triathlon. People compete in it and FINISH it to prove that they are in the upper echelon of triathletes. His complaint is that people who aren't prepared are diluting Ironman. Standard grandpa argument, "The tattoo used to mean something. Now it just means you registered and posted on instagram about it." Too many DNFs = dilution of the accomplishment and work that past finishers put in.

      So he wants credit for the distinguishing himself in that way. Sure. Expected. What's wrong with that? If the military started handing out Medals of Honor for people who got through basic training, I'm pretty sure World War II vets would pissed and tell folks to get off their fucking lawn, too.

      So I agree with him. Get off his lawn. Train properly and try again when you are truly ready. Or go hang out with your millennial friends that grew up getting trophies and feeling special for effort. But know that the greats that the world aspires to be and is inspired by (he named several) didn't stop where you did, Drew. You stopped short. Perhaps it was wise, or perhaps it was weak. I'm not saying it was wrong. I'm just saying it wasn't glorious. And, yeah, there is value in glory. And yeah, it takes guts. It takes digging deep and pulling something out that you didn't think you were capable of. Maybe in your 20 years running and 8 in triathlon you had them, maybe you will in the future. But judging from your butt-hurt excuse of a comment instead of owning what a DNF really means--that on the day you failed to accomplish what you set out to do--I'd advise you to stick to the shorter distance triathlons.

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  5. You lumped in DNS with DNF witch is very misleading. It's was more like 2200+ starters with 1600+ actual finishers. Add the 35 or so athletes that did finish the race, but missed the final cut off times and it's closer to 550 that didn't finish the race due to being pulled or dropping out.
    Also those who did research this event had only 2 previous years to go off of. The 97 deg day was a 80+ year record for the area. The previous 2 years were roughly 15 deg cooler and were closer in line to the average temps for our area.
    What exactly would you suggest people looking at a 10 day or even 15 day forecast do? What 10/15 day forecast is accurate except in Antarctica. You can't accurately plan off of that. Btw the 10 and 5 day forecast had the race sub 90 for temps.
    I am local Athlete with multiple 100+ mile rides done in 90/100 degree heat with higher humidity than race day. I can tell you there were many very fit local athletes that trained in worse conditions that were medically pulled from this race. Given that lots of non locals prepared for a much cooler race(which is historically in line from previous year). I'm not suprised with the high DNF rate.
    I love how you question others resolve and tanacity. You sir are the attitude this sport can do without.

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    1. Great reply and all correct. I live in Chattanooga and did the IM (finished it too). 10 days before, the high was projected at 84 degrees. I know, because I checked it daily. I do agree some people undertrained and some had poor strategy. I notched my bike and run down to accommodate for the heat. That some didn't does not mean they had were wussies, but they just didn't have a good disciplined strategy. Very different!

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  6. Also, did you change your title because you're afraid of backlash? Jesus dude, the irony could not get any sweeter.

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    2. Nah bruh. He changed it so it's more accurate. Pussies are actually quite tough (they take a beating!). Unlike the Ironman competitors, apparently. lol

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  7. The fact that you give a shit what others do, that doesn't in the least bit affect you, shows how messed up your priorities are. You need ironman to be important so you can brag that you exercised one day for a really long time, and paid 700.00 to do so. Ironman is not important, in fact, it's vulgar that we spend the time and money on something so selfish, so why don't you be humble and grateful YOU have the ability to do these things, instead of worrying about everyone else. 8 or higher, bro. And concentrate on you, instead of everyone else.

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    1. Agreed. When I started to get into triathlons, it was for health and a healthy outlet and hobby. Once I started increasing my distances and training I was shocked at how much of a selfish sport it was. I disclosed this with my coach at first. She (and he) said, yes it is, but you decide how it fits into your life and what you make of it.

      This guys is EXACTLY what I didn't want people to think of me. I am proud of my accomplishment of competing in (AND completing) this year's very challenging IMChoo, but I am certainly not going to undermine and play down ANY of the people that I trained with DAILY that DNF'd.

      That being said...every faction of life has "that guy", and hopefully we can learn from him how NOT to behave and demean people.

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  8. Oh, man. I hate it for you and I would never wish it on you ...but I have to tell ya, internet karma is such a bitch. Posting self-serving back-pats and misogynistic terms like "pussification" on a blog is literally begging for karmic intervention. I mean, you're probably loving the attention, but it's for all the wrong reasons. I truly wish I hadn't even given you a Google analytic hit for it. BUT - good luck with everything #dodgesoutofthewaythelightning #blogforgoodnotevil #smdh

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    1. I can't decide whether I want this trash to go viral, or for him to (please) disappear into obscurity where he deservedly came from.

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    2. TRUE STORY !!! You race long enough and a DNF will happen !! when his day comes ( and it will) I feel bad for what he will get his way.. I guess you dont think before your write when you are in your 20s ....Millennials

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    3. Don't give him anymore blog hits. Instead, go give the hits to positive blogs... :) #winkwink

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    4. Busting out misogynistic. Good one "Swim Bike Mom".

      Classic ad hominem. lol

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  9. "FUCK YOU!!" I did IM LOU last year. BOTH my wife and I trained for this race while holding down 2 professional jobs and raising 2 young kids. Who the hell do you think you are to look down your nose at me. You must be some douche canoe Donald Trump wanna be. You are a coward. You write crap on the internet but you don't have the balls to say it to a single persons face.

    This is a hobby. I can't afford to end up in the hospital over it. I've got a job and kids to care for.

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    1. Hahah, says Mr. Anonymous Angry Interwebs Dad. I guarantee you that he'd have no problem saying it to your face. He'd do so respectfully too, tough guy.

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    2. OMG - LOL DT Douch Canoe - best comment ever. And I agree - a "Fuck you' was well in order!!! AWESOME!

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  10. With the mass market appeal of WTC events these days I don't believe most folks fully grasp what "sufficiently prepared for an IM" truly means. That disconnect leads to DNF/S rates like what you see in Chatty.

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    1. Yeah.....I believe that was the authors point and too many folks take it personally.....but whatever.

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    2. But more $$$ into the race's pockets.

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  12. We triathletes do what we have to do to finish if we can if not we understand it is just a race, and we go what we need to live and race another day. #ilovetri

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  14. Horrible .... You obviously are a pro right ? Did you look at the fact that 17 Pros went into the T2 tent and only 7 came out ... were they not trained for it ? I have done 5 140.6 races .. No I am not elite but finish my Ironman in 11:30 to 12:30.. I raced Choo in 2014.. in 2016 my body shut down it had nothing to do with my abilities .. I could have walked to a 14 hour finish but it would have been to the detriment of my body and possibly internal injury as I was in severe dehydration and heat exhaustion ..So I chose wisely .. My first DNF and I did not take it lightly it hurt my soul but to group me into an undertrained athlete is WRONG. James "ironcowboy" is a personal friend of mine YES he did something amazing but that is what he trained for .. I lead his chattanooga and GA day . We started at 7am and finished at midnight with multiple breaks.. His journey was not about racing it was about the distance and had nothing to do about being Elite... So before you calling everyone out for DNF be careful .. If you race long enough a DNF will happen and people will be looking for you..

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  15. How about this? Race your own race and leave others to race theirs. Wonder what's lacking in your life that makes you feel the need to put others down to feel better about yourself. When someone spends this much time focusing on others, it's usually because there's something about them self that they are trying to avoid.

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    1. Good idea, let's let average people into the Olympics while we are at it, too. Then focus on ourselves, instead of the intrinsic value of being there and the accomplishment that it represents. For former Olympians who don't like this idea, must mean there's something about themselves that they are trying to avoid. Go home, Joe Herman. Trophies aren't for everyone.

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  17. Love the banter! My boy is a beast!

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  18. i think it has a lot to do with the wussification of people in general

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  19. I will tell you that at least one of the DNFs was my friend and she could not have taken another step further. She literally collapsed in T2 trying to get off the bike. They tried to walk her to medical but her legs wouldn't support her, so ultimately they had to take her by cart, where she was treated for heat exhaustion and severe dehydration. She was not undertrained, and adjusted what she could on race day. Ultimately her body failed her and couldn't tolerate the heat. Guess what, she was devastated, has unfinished business and signed up for IMLOU this weekend. I wish her the best. She gave everything she had for IMCHOO, and her DNF was not because she is a wuss or pussy. Sometimes those things just happen.

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  20. 98% agreement. I did AC 70.3 this year. being seeded in wave 18 I was able to watch the first waves starts. I do this to check water conditions and the current. I was shocked at the number of "participants" doing the back stroke and side crawl at the second buoy. less than a 1/4 mile in to an already shortened swim. and then due to the number of swimmers struggling to progress, it was shortened again mid 4th wave. All in the name of safety. I agree with keeping everyone safe. I feel it was more to keep the unprepared, under trained and really shouldn't have signed up in the first place safe...

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  21. I'm going to take a different approach on your post. A few years ago I would have told you off & gotten angry. But honestly I pity you. Your post clearly shows you are in the sport for the wrong reasons. Your goal is to feel superior and belittle others. I'm sorry for your family or anyone else who would go out to support you. I say this because anyone who would write such a piece doesn't truly appreciate those who supported them through the journey which also includes your fellow athletes who you obviously look down on. I love racing Ironman because the way the athletes bond like family. We race together, we train together, we break bread like family & share our homes. But obviously by your comments you only support your own cause. So I'm sure you will continue to race without regard for your fellow athletes. But honestly, what do those finishes mean to you? I'm certain your finish line is an empty place with no one to share it with because your holier than thou attitude.

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    1. What? Since when do Ironman triathletes break bread with one another? Sounds like an Oprah Winfrey running club, bruh.

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  22. The author is a complete ass, as well as those who agree with him. I live and train in the Florida heat and DNF. It wasn't from a lack of preparation, but from a variety of factors related to the heat. I suffered from heat stroke and to go farther (pulled myself at mile 9 of the run) would have jeopardized my health. It's called being smart. I've finished an Ironman in extreme conditions, I've raced vuelta de Puerto Rico and am an accomplished athlete. Go screw youraelf buddy.

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  24. I am assuming you weren't actually there at IMCHOO to see the conditions. Who are you to judge whether a person should make a decision to take a DNF? The medical tent was full of people that should have probably stopped a little earlier, some of them taken to the hospital.
    I have raced and finished numerous IM and 70.3 distances, and was in Chattanooga cheering my son on to a KQ, but I said to myself many times during the day that I don't know how people are making it through these tough conditions.
    I would hope that athletes would be there to support each other and not post ridiculous blogs such as yours.

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  25. I think it's funny because most of these comments are just proving the author's point. I'm not a triathlete but I do see a lot of the same behavior in foot races in general, ultramarathons in particular. I agree though that the author probably could have approached this subject in a slightly different way and tone. The gist of it is that if you're going to commit to a big goal then you better prepare for that goal 100%. Go all in! I've always believed this. Sure there are many things to distract us, many factors and stumbling blocks along the way. But that's just part of the process. Also part of that process is to be flexible on race day itself; that sometimes the conditions and your fitness may not justify sticking to your original plan. Sometimes you just have to MacGyver your way through that goal race (trust me, I've been there a great many times). But you know what? I've never regretted a race finish, even if it was a pitiful one; but I've regretted every DNF. To me it's foolish to drop out when there is still time on the clock. You can almost always just pause, reset and continue. I'm not talking about injuries and life-threatening issues; that's totally different. Anyhow, that's my take from over 25 years of competitive running (21 years of ultramarathons). The bottom line is endurance racing isn't easy, you have to prepare properly to be successful.

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    1. You are assuming here Robert that not everyone one was prepared or chose to drop out. Some of us were very well prepared, experienced, and did not CHOOSE to drop out but were pulled off the course by medical for racing our asses off. This is a broad assumption and one I encourage you to re-consider...

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    2. Sorry you're wrong. The idea is that you look at the conditions and ask yourself if "racing your arse off" is sensible. In that heat it was not. Taking it easy and getting fluid in and taking a conservative approach would have been a better approach and meant going slower and finishing.
      Most people don't get that there is more about being sensible and adapting your game plan to the day. I have raced the middle east and Asia where 98 is frankly mild and you need to adapt and think.
      Unfortunately that seems beyond a lot of people.

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    3. Sorry you're wrong. The idea is that you look at the conditions and ask yourself if "racing your arse off" is sensible. In that heat it was not. Taking it easy and getting fluid in and taking a conservative approach would have been a better approach and meant going slower and finishing.
      Most people don't get that there is more about being sensible and adapting your game plan to the day. I have raced the middle east and Asia where 98 is frankly mild and you need to adapt and think.
      Unfortunately that seems beyond a lot of people.

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    4. Boom. The Roberts hit it on the head.

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  26. Disney for athletes. Go have fun. It's a party not the defense of the nation. If it's hot or raining or you are not having fun there is always another race. Don't worry about it so much. It's silliness for those of us who like to exercise. Enjoy it from the start to whenever you decide you've had enough.

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  27. I've never DNF'd. HOWEVER... I'd never presume to know what each individual competitor is trying to overcome at that point in the race. Yeah, some 'wuss out'. But there are also plenty of serious athletes who understand their bodies well enough to know if they're teetering on the edge of serious injury. There may be any number of other reasons to back off and live to fight another day. To lump everyone who DNFs into the same category is idiotic.

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    1. Which is why he didn't. He mentions edge cases, and he also mentions preparation that would prevent most of the excuses that are commonly accepted but shouldn't be.

      Wussies got called out, wussies gonna whine now.

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  28. I have never raced a 140.6 and probably never will. However, I did train my heart out for Oside 70.3 this year. I had completed it in 2015 but missed the cutoff by 19 mins so it showed as DNF. This year, I trained harder and just knew I'd make it under the cutoff. My race was going really well and I was on track to finish in time. Then I got about 2 miles from the finish line and started feeling really dizzy. But I was only 2 miles away! I was NOT going to stop. About a mile from the finish my family saw me wobbling back and forth while still making forward momentum to the finish line. They had grave concern for my health. They asked me to sit down for a minute. I refused at first but finally did. I told them I'd just scoot to the finish (a mile away! haha). Eventually while sitting there I passed out. I ended up taking an ambulance to the ER and getting 5 bags of saline. Dehydration and heat exhaustion. I was really sick and it was really scary for not only me but my family. It really made me re-evaluate this whole "finish at any cost". My little ER trip was also a $5000 out of pocket financial burden due to my high deductible insurance plan. Continuing on at the time seemed like the thing to do to show my "Ironwill". In hindsight, continuing on was stupid! I will never again put myself or my family in that position just to say "I finished" a race. I got caught up in this mentality you are promoting that I think is all to common in Ironman. Your health is way more important than any race. We get only one life to live. Could I have drank more water...sure. Did I realize what was happening at the time, no. Even the past laid plans go sideways. How many people do you see dying at an Ironman race?? Too many in my book. I think pushing yourself is great but we need to be smarter and not have this macho idea of finishing at all cots.

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    1. Agreed 100% - same thing happened to me. Its not worth your life and some of us raced our hearts out.

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  29. It never used to be this way...35 years ago when I was doing half IMs and IMs there were no DNFs that I remember. Of course there were fewer people signing up all together so there's that. When I watched Julie Moss crawl across that line all I could think of was a "race gone bad" and others thought it so admirable...maybe it was because I had been participating in endurance sports since the 70s and had never dropped out of anything I had prepared to enter. Sadly it's more about "look at me training, losing weight, buying gear and wearing clown clothes" now than actually loving the sports of swimming, cycling and running. It's not about just getting up and out...it's about TELLING everyone how you got up and out the door anymore. We never talked about our races, but just went back to work/families on that Monday morning after the race....give me the "old days". In the end Ironman doesn't mean much of anything anyhow...I am more proud of other accomplishments in my life. Racing and training is just for fun.

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  30. I'm 54 and started running a year and a half ago after surviving 2 bouts of cancer. I have a lot of respect for anyone who competes in Ironman but it takes a lot of time and money to do such. Most people can barely afford the time and money to do a 5K or 10K. Good for you for being able to finish, but me thinks you need to take off the judgy pants. How about being thankful that you apparently have the broad resources to take your competition to such a level.

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  32. This hit home for me. I DNFed my second ultra and it was a total case of my mind not being where it was supposed to be. I wasn't injured or tired. I was bored....and the next aid station I came up to, I quit. Wen't back home and had a beer. I then realized that I had to adjust my training to include the mental aspect of it.

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    1. Bored? Maybe you are in the "wrong" sport?? You gotta love what you are doing...I think...?

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    2. jwind911, you will go far! Self-awareness is the beginning to preparedness. You are the first comment I've read from someone who has a lot of potential for progress. I can say knowing yourself, your habits, and absolutely the mental aspect and how you respond to it is a beginning step to success. Focus on your weaknesses, and improve them, rather than making excuses for them as others have done. Godspeed!

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  33. I have to say first that as an IM veteran with over 12+ races under my belt I 'get it'. Yes - we are in the 'era of the finisher' and its tough to see some athletes not take the sport quite as seriously as some of the rest of us do...but alas we all started somewhere and it HAS helped bring our sport more main stream. For some this will be 'their bucket list IM' - both first and last ever.

    However - what I would also say is that this comment makes a lot of assumptions and broad sweeping, judgments of your fellow competitors. You see - we aren't all just 'finishers' - though I will say that is the ultimate goal right? I have raced IM's in many different places, in many different ways, on many terrains in widely varying conditions. From wind, lightening and thunder storms at IMLP to 110 degrees temps at IMCDA and 90% humidity at IMCOZ, altitude IMLT, etc...I've don't it all and been more than well prepared. Yes - I am that crazy person that is 'always prepared' and does 'those workouts'. I know the courses in my sleep and track weather patterns. Alas, however as athletes one thing we do that makes us special is we 'take calculated risks' - and sometimes with 'great risks comes great rewards and other times great failures'.

    Let me be clear - IMCHATT was my first DNF EVER and I DID NOT CHOOSE to DNF. This was my day - in general for me the harder the course and conditions the better. Unfortunately my body decided otherwise. I am not going to make excuses I just simply had a bad day and there were 'too many layers' of things that went on this year that worked against me. You see - I actually passed out at an aide station from trying to race too hard, hit my head,got a minor concussion & got my first DNF ever and a trip to the ER. WTF? I mean - I did IMCDA in 110 degree heat last year - and still finished inside the top 20 in my AG - this could not be happening to me?@! Let me CRYSTAL CLEAR - this was not a choice but that of medical staff. It has been a bitter pill to swallow & I am still gutted by the whole thing...As Michael Jordan once said "I've failed 1000 different ways on 1000 different ways & that's what makes me a champion'. I feel this shows my humanity as many athletes where I live/train think I'm 'a machine' & I am not. I am human & had a 'human day'. WE athletes soldier on....Of course-I thought I could gut it out per usual when push came to shove. Alas my body did not agree. I had 'that day' - that one we all as serious athletes dread and sadly it was on race day and not in training. Be careful and tread lightly there - as you might find yourself day on fates door step one day too - that day when you need an smile, word of sympathy, or hell even hug dammit and for some to just have some compassion and sympathy. Every dog has his day buddy - and believe me you will want and need the compassion of your fellow competitors when your day comes...

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    1. "I am not going to make excuses I just simply had a bad day and there were 'too many layers' of things that went on this year that worked against me. You see - I actually passed out at an aide station from trying to race too hard, hit my head,got a minor concussion & got my first DNF ever and a trip to the ER."

      Clearly this article is not about you, then. Keep your head up, girl.

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  34. Not every DNF was weather related. I was a DNF because of a bike crash. My bike was not rideable after the crash. I talked to a couple of other people who passed out and woke up in the medical tent. They also did not have a choice to finish.

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    1. Then clearly this article is not about you or them.

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  35. I have never seen so much name-calling in the 35 years I have participated in triathlon. And most of it's from those who are saying that "karma" will "get you"- give me the old days when we never got medals, t-shirts nor could post our race results much less opinions about the race and others doing it. It's just swimming, cycling and running for pete's sake. Not very important if you look beyond your own nose.

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  36. Agree with everything. You used to have to qualify to race Ironman from a half Ironman. We should go back to that to at least filter out some of the dreamers.

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  37. Doesn't 1000 people dropping out actually do the opposite of cheapen it? You can sign up. You can make your excuses. Whatever. But you have to cover the distance to get the medal. And by holding up the medal, you can say "I'm a total badass who actually finished and finished well" And then if you really want to be a dick about it, you can tack on "Unlike those other 1000 pretenders"

    A couple more races like this and perhaps the folks doing it just for bucketlist purposes will re-consider and you can go back to being happy. That or actually qualify for Kona.

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  38. I think it's funny because most of these comments are just proving the author's point. I'm not a triathlete but I do see a lot of the same behavior in foot races in general, ultramarathons in particular. I agree though that the author probably could have approached this subject in a slightly different way and tone.
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