I'm reading up on the details of Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach to see if it is a genuine possibility for 2006. There's a million details to consider. Let's look at the schedule and the numbers:
Sunday, November 7, 2005, 9:00 AM CST/10:00 AM EST: Online entries open. That's exactly ten minutes before I'll be starting the New York City Marathon. Sheesh!
Wednesday, November 1, 2006: Ironman village opens. Panic will be setting in.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 6:00 AM CST: Sunrise. At least we won't have to swim in the dark.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 7:00 AM CST: Mass swim start of ~2300 triathletes. Will that include me?
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 9:20 AM CST: Be done with the swim, or be done for the day. 140 minutes to swim 2.4 miles. That's 3862 meters. 78 laps in the pool. That's less than 3:37 per 100m pace, repeated 39 times, in seawater, and I'll need to come out of the water feeling fresh, not exhausted. Without any missing pieces carried off by sharks.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 9:30 AM CST: If I'm not out of T1 by this time and heading out on the bike leg feeling strong, I'm in trouble. Once I get out of T1, I'll be relieved and I'll feel like I have a fresh start, after conquering the swim leg.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 4:53 PM CST: Sunset. It's going to be a long evening. I'll have to be off the bike well before sunset.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 5:00 PM CST*: Be done with the bike leg and out of transition, or be done for the day. (Yes, I've heard of triathletes being stopped by officials coming OUT of T2 late even though they finished the bike leg within the cutoff time). Allowing another 10 minutes (hopefully that's generous) for T2 or problems on the bike route, that's 7:20 for 112 miles on the bike. That's a minimum average of 15.2 mph for 7 1/3 hours, all stops and refueling and bathroom breaks and changing flats included. Or if I allow 10 minutes time off the bike for any reason, that's a 15.6 mph minimum average speed. And finish fresh enough to start a marathon. Once I get out of T2, I'll be relieved, because I'll know that I don't have to depend on my swimming ability or on my bike - it's just up to my own two legs.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 5:18 PM CST: End civil twilight. This means most of the run is going to be in the dark.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 8:00 PM CST: If I can make it to the halfway point of the run leg by this time, and I'm uninjured, I will heave a great sigh of relief, because I'll positively know in my heart I can finish. I can walk it in if I have to.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, 8:30 PM CST: If I can make it to the halfway point of the run leg by this time, and I'm uninjured, I will be in good spirits, because I still can finish on time if I keep going strong.
Sunday, November 5, 2006, midnight: The course closes and I need to be over the finish line by now in order to become an Ironman. That's 7 hours to complete a marathon, or a pace no slower than 16:01 minutes per mile. My walking pace when I'm tired is about 20:00 minutes per mile, so I have to be ready to run a significant portion of the course. If I run 12:00 minutes per mile, at least half of the time on the course has to be completed running to finish on time.
But if I finish after the time cutoff - there's no shame in that, either.
Can I do it? None of the times for any one segment sound terribly intimidating to me. It's just that little feature of doing the whole 140.6 miles in one day that makes it a challenge.
But I keep thinking of this quote that Linda posted on her blog:
TAKE A CHANCE
"If you think there’s a 50/50 chance of success or better, then go for it."
--Mira Kirshenbaum, Psychotherapist
*Subsequent note: IMFL website now says a 10:15 cutoff for the bike leg, which takes us up to 5:15 PM to start the run.