Well I'm in my rest week after Hartford and already my mind has started racing ahead to next tri season. The big thought on my mind a return to Ironman. While Josie and I were down in Maryland tearing up the Chesapeakeman course and cussing out Apple Maps for their inaccurate directions, the discussion of Ironman came up.
Josie hasn't raced one and is coming off of solid training 2 years post baby. She's had solid results and for the first time actually has a chance to put two consistent seasons together. So the game plan was this: 2013 Ironman Florida, we book the rooms for her hubby, future ITU World Champion/Supreme Court Justice, and my girlfriend/future suffering wife and support crew through Ken Glah and the fine people at Endurance Sports Travel the other thing was since Ironman Florida sells out like EPO in a French Pharmacy in July, we could book our race entry slots as well. That was until I saw the price.
The price to book a race entry slot with the travel package is about a 70.3 entry shy of an Ironman Foundation slot, not that I'm complaining it is a coveted race slot. Likewise researching the flight options part of me is like screw Panama City I could chill in Taupo with Ken and the gang for two weeks for the money I'd be spending for a long weekend on the Gulf Coast. This got me to thinking; Should I go back to Louisville and seek to erase the dark mark on my Ironman career?
There are a couple of drawbacks to Louisville. The first is it's hot. It's not New England it's 85F in the sun with a breeze hot. It's 95F with 100% humidity and your shoe rubber will be melting to the pavement hot. It is nail your nutrition, hydration and electrolyte intake or you will be suffering a very cruel, nasty, evil, horrifying, Dante-esque punishment hot. It is the Kona lava fields don't have shit on this hot.
The second is I would not have a friend and training partner to push me through the race. Josie doesn't race well in the heat or the cold so Louisville is off her list.
Third, Ken doesn't sell packages for this race so it's on me to make hotel arrangements, figure out travel arrangements, find restaurants/ sources of healthy food/ bike mechanic..etc. Not a huge deal I did it in 2011 and I know guys who have done the race, but having someone take the guess work out of logistics is a huge help. Likewise the fact that Ken sets up a spread for Ironman Widows/ Widowers, in a comfortable environment helps keeps spectators occupied and can give them people to chill with or find other activities to do with while their athletes do their thing, helps cut the boredom for spectators.
Fourth, it's in the middle of the summer. Not that this is huge issue but part of me would like to cap my season with an Ironman. This race would fall dead center, as I would like to race in September as well.
The fifth, not that it's a huge worry I mean I'm fast but there are some real speed demons out there, but what if I have a bangout day and I make Kona. I always joked that I would just sell my kidney and go but what if I punch that magical ticket to the Big Island? Do I say yes like the 20 something year old kid without a care in the world? Or do I respond as a mature and responsible adult and decline something that I've wanted for so long, because I have other long term goals to focus on? Florida I would have a year to save up and plan, Louisville I've got 8 weeks and when Mike Rielly is taunting you with that paper all bets are off.
The pros to Louisville are also numerous. The first is I know the course. Sometimes knowing what to expect is a benefit. I know the temperature is between BBQ and Broil, I know I need Salt tabs, I know I need to training in long sleeves to acclimate. Likewise knowing the bike course I know where I could take risks where to hammer and where to ease back. I know that the Ohio River is not horrible and to get in line at 4am to have a Primo swim position. I know to hydrate and *gag* drink Perform on the bike. I know to build the run and cool the engine. Getting the unmerciful crap kicked out of me by this race in 2011 was a valuable learning experience and I plan to use that to my advantage.
Second, flights to Louisville are reasonable. I can book with Southwest, American, and most of the major carriers. I know I'll get into Louisville at a relatively cheap and relatively easy. Likewise it's a quick and cheap cab ride from the airport to the hotels.
Third, is it is easy to walk around Louisville. Most of the hotels are in downtown. Fourth Street Live is less than 10 blocks from where I stayed last year. I can easily walk/ run to the swim start and train on the river walk. The YMCA is close and honors the AWAY program so I could get swims in. There are lots of dining options close by and there are bike lanes and fairly decent motorists, getting around is not an issue, and unless I was leaving the city no need to rent a car.
Fourth, the swim is not wetsuit legal, feel my wrath lovers of neoprene.
Fifth, running in city means the roads are well lit ( if out after dark), there are large crowds of spectators, and no desolate stretches, which is motivating. Likewise it means there is plenty for spectators to do. Likewise the sun is still out until 8PM in August so if I finish in 13 hours or less it will be in daylight.
I have a lot to consider going into 2013, all I know is will be doing an Ironman, it will be in the South, it's just where and when.