Losing it: Ironman preparations moving forward

Published: Tuesday, May 10 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

I recently received an email from a man who asked how my quest to become an Ironman was progressing.

And when they're not asking if I've gone insane, I get asked that question often by curious friends, family members and medical personnel assigned to follow me around on my insane triathlon journey.

(OK, not really on the last part, but it would be nice.)

Guess my progress report is a bit overdue considering Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams were still members of the Utah Jazz — and the Los Angeles Lakers were still considered title contenders — when I wrote my last update column in early February.

The most important update is this: I have survived (so far!) some pretty intense training while trying to play catch up and prepare for three crazy back-to-back-to-back adventures on June 26 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

The daunting part is that the closer my Ironman goal approaches, the further away it seems to get. (The same phenomenon happens when I start to clean my garage only to realize how much junk has piled up over the months — or, well, years.)

Despite only having seven weeks of training remaining — really just five with necessary taper-down time — I fully intend to be on the shore of that chilly and scenic lake in northern Idaho when the Ironman race begins next month. Gulp.

Will I win the 140.6-mile challenge like my kids keep asking me?

Don't tell them, but that goat at Osama bin Laden's Pakistani hideout has a better chance of becoming the next president of the United States.

More importantly, will I be able to finish the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon in the 17-hour time limit?

I'll give myself only slightly better odds than the goat on that one.

Even so, progress — even significant progress — is being made.

My weight hasn't dropped as much as I figured it would, but I have lost 40 pounds since December — and around 24 since my February update. That puts me at about 239 pounds, which for a 5-foot-8 man is about 75 pounds overweight. (Reminder: My all-time high was 371 pounds and I briefly hit 199 two years ago.)

The big problem is that increased activity equals increased appetite. That's not exactly a recipe for weight loss.

Did I just write increased activity? Here's what I mean:

SWIMMING: During all of January and February, I swam 4,400 yards. Compare that to last week when I swam three times and racked up 4,700 yards (and that'll increase incrementally). Can you say: "YIKES!?"

Due to poor form and not being used to that volume, I'm very nervous I won't make the 2.4-mile swim in the allotted two hours and 20 minutes.

But at least I smell like chlorine all of the time.

BIKING: A tiny seat (for my big seat), hills, seemingly constant wind in Utah, more hills with not enough granny gears on my bike and long distances are my current enemies.

One one hand, I'm proud that I've done the two longest bike rides of my life in the past two weeks. One was 59.1 miles (to the top of Emigration Canyon and back) and the other was 65.3 miles (out in the Tooele area), and each included copious amounts of struggling and whining.

And I'm not sure who suffers worse: Me or those who see me in my awful, skin-tight cycling shorts. I'll be doing the Salt Lake Century (100 miles out to Antelope Island and back) in two weeks so the pain, er, fun is just beginning.

RUNNING: I blogged about my recent Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon experience at reasons2run.com. To sum it up: MOMMY!!! Lugging my weight around for long distances is a challenge, but I'm definitely building endurance. Good thing, too, because I've got a 14-mile run staring at me in my plan this week.

And to think, not only did I sign up for all of this — but I paid for it, too. Wish me luck.

When Jody Genessy is not covering the Utah Jazz for the Deseret News, the Ironman triathlete wannabe seeks refuge from all-you-can-eat buffets at swimming pools, on his bike or on treadmills and roads in his running shoes. Email: jody@desnews.com. Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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