What It Takes To Train For An Ironman 70.3

It takes everything you’ve got.

Well it actually depends on several factors, the person’s fitness level, experience level, race goals, etc. For me, my goal is to finish and my background in cycling and swimming is none. I’ve ran several marathons and they didn’t kill me so I thought about doing something crazier. Why not an Ironman 70.3? So I picked a relatively flat course and signed up. It was then, after I signed up, I realized what I was doing, and thought WTF do I do now? So I got a swimming coach, bought a road bike and joined a cycling group.

My advantage over other absolute beginners is that I have lots of time available for training. My entire family is in a time zone 13 hours ahead and I barely know anyone outside the running/cycling community, so I have no need to attend people’s wedding/birthday/baby shower etc, my entire social life is done either on the run or on the bike.

But a lot of things still changed in my life. I have many other hobbies, but except taking Spanish classes, I stopped doing everything else completely. It’s not just training time, most of the time I’m simply too tired to do anything else other than my training.

Mondays and Tuesdays became my longest days. I wake up at 7:30am on Monday, and because of freestyle training from 7:45pm to 9pm, I won’t be back home until 10:30pm; Tuesday I wake up at 5am for a morning interval run, then I have Spanish class from 6pm to 9pm after work, and get home around 10:30pm again.

I stopped eating at home completely. Though I don’t know how to cook, I used to drink instant coffee and heat up oatmeal in microwave for breakfast. Now I have no time. My breakfast and lunch is at my work desk, and dinner is ate quickly at the buffet bar of Whole Foods Market before swim/bike/run.

I stopped doing my laundry. I use an online pickup and delivery service now.

I stopped reading books. The only time I have is during my commute on the train, so I listen to books from audible now.

I stopped watching all the shows I liked: Narcos, The Strain, The Americans, Bordertown, American Dad, Family Guy, Taboo, Criminal Minds. All of them.

On weekends I wake up earlier than weekdays, and besides long runs, swim and long bikes rides, I sleep. Sometimes on weekends I go to sleep at 7 or 8 when I can.

I stopped taking weekend road trips. I used to spend a lot of weekend in Lancaster, PA. And I haven’t gone at least once this year.

I enjoy my training so far and made a lot of new friends. But sometimes I do wish I have more time to hang out with people outside my running/cycling groups.

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2017 Race Calendar

Last Update: March 09, 2017, added two marathons

2017 will be a year full of challenges. Besides marathons and half marathons, I will also do an Ironman 70.3 (half the distance of an Ironman), start learning Arabic and maybe do a metric century bike ride.

I also plan to do the 9+1 with NYRR* to earn an entry into the 2018 NYC Marathon (which will be on my 28th birthday as well). I get bored easily, thus the biggest challenge for me in the NYRR races is to do loops in Central Park. I can’t loop anything more than once; in the second loop I slow down, lose motivation, and want to drop out. So I will mainly do the 4mile and 5K races that don’t require me to loop.

January

Walt Disney World Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge (1/7/2017 – 1/8/2017)

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Due to weather condition, the half was canceled, so I only ran the full marathon. I was of course disappointed, because I took days off and traveled all the way to Orlando for 39.3 miles. But I was happy at the same time because at least I still ran the full marathon.

It was miserable to be standing in the freezing wind in shorts and tank top (under a trash bag) for 2 hours before the race. My fingers were numb even after crossing the finish line. After I finish, I didn’t wait to engrave the medal; I was so traumatized by the cold that I went straight back to the hotel and hid under the blanket sipping turmeric tea for a full hour before coming out to get food. I also had a fever for a few days after the race from the freezing wind.

Does it worth it? Yeah, of course, everyone needs to do a Disney Marathon in their lifetime.

February

Prospect Park Cherry Tree 10 Mile (2/19/2017)

Running three loops of anything is more of a mental than a physical challenge. It was unusually warm that day. I enjoyed running in Prospect Park, though this is probably my only time running this race. I simply can’t loop things.

March

Rock’n’Roll Mexico City Half Marathon (3/19/2017)

Caesar Rodney Half Marathon (3/26/2017)

It’s a half marathon in Wilmington, DE. This race benefits the American Lung Association, and Wilmington is less than three hours away, so I’m in! I drove through Wilmington a dozen times and finally stopped here to check out the town.

May

Five Borough Bike Tour (5/7/2017)

There were too many cyclists at the bike tour. I think it definitely worth it to do it for the first time, but afterwards, this should be a escape NYC road trip kind of weekend.

Airbnb Brooklyn Half (5/20/2017)

Coeur d’Alene Marathon (5/28/2017)

June

IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman (6/11/2017)

Changchun Jingyuetan Forest Half Marathon (6/18/2017)

This will be the most challenging race I ever run. Back in 2015 this guy did a mountain biking race on the same course, and here’s the map. The course has a total 750 meter elevation gain, which is roughly 2460 ft., similar to that of North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain. I almost never run trail, and it’s absolutely crazy to run this after an Ironman 70.3 and more than 13 hours on a plane. But it’s in my hometown, and I simply cannot pass it.

August

Maratón Ciudad de México (8/27/2017)

This past August I visited CDMX for the first time and cheered the “I” edition of this Marathon, and became friends with some Mexican marathoners. In 2017 we’ll run the “C” edition together.

September

Amish Country Classic Bike Ride (9/9/2017, Tentative)

October

Mohawk Hudson River Marathon (10/8/2017)

I went to college in Upstate New York. This marathon is my homecoming.

November

Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon (11/12/2017)

Marabana (11/19/2017)

I want to do a marathon in November because it’s my birthday month.

2016 Race Calendar

Since I started running in May 2015, I want to complete at least one Half Marathon* in each State, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, before I move out of the U.S. to another country. Here’s what I have sign up so far for 2016.**

March

QDR 30K Spring Marathon Tune Up (Mar 26, 2016)

April

Staten Island Half Marathon (Apr 2, 2016)

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The day I ran my first half marathon of the year started with light rain. It was sunny that same afternoon, but between 9am and 11am during the race, it was heavy rain. Of course I was drenched as I’m always under prepared for any travels, and ended up having a fever and lying in bed for the next two days and missed my training run and Spanish class, I found the race experience with Trimara Sports pleasant.

I woke up at 5am, and spent 2 hours on trains and buses to get to Staten Island, but I had a good time. Now I’m considering signing up the Holiday Half Marathon at the end of this year with Trimara Sports as well.

NYCRUNS Queens Half Marathon (Apr 17, 2016)

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It’s a half marathon in my neighborhood, of course I’m doing it. I really enjoyed running with NYCRUNS, they have put up a good race, with lots of post race bagels and fruits. And I couldn’t believe there were more than 1,000 people came out to run on a Sunday with limited 7 train service.

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon (Apr 30, 2016)

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This is my first marathon and my goal is simple: to cross the finish line in upright position. I have been training for the KDF Marathon since January and if I don’t collapse during running, I hope to finish within 4 hours and 15 minutes.

August

Camp Chingachgook Challenge (Half Marathon, Aug 13, 2016)

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This course is beautiful but hilly, and the weather was hot. But then I get to swim in the lake and enjoy the best post race food! I always loved Lake George, back in my college days, my boyfriend and I used to spend long weekends here, relaxing and shopping at the outlet malls. It felt great to be back.

September

Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon (Sep 10, 2016)

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I love almost everything Amish, so when I found out that the finisher’s medal has a horseshoe and the race course runs along the farmlands of Lancaster, I signed up right away. Everyone who knows me well knows that I travel to Lancaster to spend weekends several times a year. Maybe this will be the start of a new tradition, running Bird-in-Hand Half and then refueling with Smorgasbord.

October

Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon (Oct 8, 2016)

This ended up being my first DNS (did not start) race. On the Thursday night before the race, as I was walking through a door, it closed while I was crossing the threshold and hit my right ankle hard. I was immobile for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I was really upset so ended up eating the entire bag of oreo cookies in Saturday afternoon.

I lived in Brooklyn for a year before moving to Queens my current apartment. I would love to do a half marathon running through Prospect Park.

Runner’s World Half & Festival (Oct 14-16, 2016)

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Really happy to be able to run again. The RW Half & Festival is a great event, they even provided shuttles for us who live in NYC. The weather at the start was cold, but then it warmed up after I finish. The course was hilly but beautiful. I would like to come back and do their Grand Slam someday.

Marine Corps Marathon (Oct 30, 2016)

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They say money can’t buy happiness, but when I received an email from my bank that my card had been charged $140 (means I won the lottery to enter MCM), I was in fact quite happy, almost ecstatic to be honest. When I told people I will run the MCM, almost everyone told me I’d have a great time and the race is really beginner friendly. I can’t wait :)

November

Cambridge Half (Nov 13, 2016)

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My running buddy wanted to do this race because she went to school in Boston years ago, and I’m simply tag along. Why not :)

* I would only run half marathons, marathons or longer distances, because I’m thrifty and usually a 10K costs not much less than a half marathon, but the course is much shorter. To me, it costs more to run a 10K than a half marathon (dollar per mile wise), so I would only do half marathon and longer distance because it’s cheaper “per mile” to run.

**This list will be updated as soon as I sign up for a new race before Dec 31, 2016.

Sobre Running

El otro día, he leído un articulo en Runner’s World México sobre ser una corredora lenta, y me siento lo mismo: no me da vergüenza para ser una corredora nueva y lenta.

Conocí a correr un poco tarde en la vida.

Primero, permítanme comenzar con mi historia de running: NO HE CORRIDO NUNCA EN MI VIDA. El único ejercicio cardiovascular en mi rutina era correr al cruzar la calle en mis chanclas mientras coches vienen. Otras personas también dicen que no han corrido nunca, pero la mayoría de ellos, al menos, se han tomado las clases de educación física en escuela secundaria. En contrario en China donde yo crecí, no corremos en la clase de educación física, clases de educación física era una vez a la semana, y con frecuencia se pasó por otras clases más importantes, como la literatura china o matemática. En serio que nunca he corrido en total 24 años de mi vida antes de decidir cambiar mi vida como una resolución para el año nuevo al principio de 2015.

Empecé a correr una vez por la semana en el gimnasio en mayo de 2015, y durante varios messes progresé a 3 o 4 veces por la semana en el Prospect Park. El mes pasado, me matriculé un medio maratón en diciembre. Tengo un plan de entrenamiento solo para completar el medio maratón, no deseo que vaya a hacer más rápido. Para mí, completar un medio maratón ya es una victoria.

Podría leer el articulo en la página web http://www.runners.mx/article/que-tiene-de-malo-ser-una-corredora-lenta

(I really don’t speak much Spanish, that’s why I’m still learning, taking Spanish classes twice a week at Instituto Cervantes. This post is not intended to serve as running resource or Spanish example, and I’m sure I’ve made tons of grammar and word choice mistakes in it. If you are also a novice runner or trying to learn Spanish, just work hard and have fun!)