Before I started to train for an Ironman I bought a training plan, I read books on hydration and fuel replacement, I listened to endless hours of advice from elite and pro triathletes. This information did help me finish, but it did not teach me how to correctly brag about being an Ironman.
My friends and I came up with a six phase program which will aid you in bragging about your Ironman. Use this plan from the moment you register until well after the race is complete for the most bang for your bragging buck.
Sign Up Phase
For most Ironman events, you have to register up to one year in advance. This gives you plenty of time to brag about doing an Ironman. During this phase, you must let all of your non-Ironman friends know that you can’t hang out with them anymore, because you just signed up for an Ironman. If you don’t have any Ironman friends, then go to a place where runners or bikers hang out. Look for the Ironman symbol (M Dot) on their training clothes. An Ironman would never be caught running or biking without their Ironman stuff.
Training for an Ironman can be compared to having a part time job. You must let everyone you meet know this. This can be accomplished by sighing loudly at work, mumbling how tired you are because you just biked 100 miles, because you are in training for an Ironman. You can also skillfully steer the conversation with your neighbors and co-workers to your Ironman training. Here is an example:
Neighbor: “Did you hear what President Obama said this week?”
Lee: “Were you aware that President Obama is a biker? I just biked 100 miles today. I am training for an Ironman.”
Co worker: “Lee, are you working late tonight?”
Lee: “No, I have to get up early to do a 20 mile run. I am training for an Ironman.”
I even once rang my neighbor’s door and when he answered, I said “Sorry Bob, can’t talk to you now, I am training for an Ironman.”
One Week Before the Race Phase
You need to let your neighbors and co-workers know you will be gone for a little while, competing in an Ironman. Once again, you can steer the conversation to your Ironman race.
Neighbor: “Wow Lee your lawn looks great!”
Lee: “My lawn is going to look bad next week; I will be competing in an Ironman.”
Race Expo Phase
You must buy as much Ironman merchandise as possible. For years we saved our money to send both of my boys to private college, but sacrifices must be made. Both Derick and Ty will be going to junior college now. You must buy enough Ironman clothes to cover every day at work and training. You must also buy plenty of shirts for your spouse and children. They will also spread the word that you just finished an Ironman.
The Race Phase
At ironmanlive.com you can setup automatic emails and cell phone message notifications of your Ironman timing splits. You can use all of the entries in your email and cell phone address book. Include everyone regardless of whether they remember you or not. It just does not matter, because you are an Ironman.
Post Race Phase
The finisher medal can be worn for one day per the number of miles raced and everyone knows that an Ironman is 140.6 miles. So wear that medal for 141 days (always round up as opposed to rounding down your finishing time). Your children must be trained to say, “My daddy is an Ironman. He gave me this shirt. He’s an Ironman.” This must be emphasized over and over with your children. I made the mistake of not doing this after I ran the Boston Marathon, and Derick, my oldest boy, told everyone at his day care that his grandma ran the marathon. Your spouse must memorize all of your splits (swim, bike and run). You must also include transition splits as well. Instead of wearing a shirt which states, “I’m with Dummy”, your spouse will wear a shirt which says, “I’m with a stud Ironman“. All conversations must be steered to your Ironman race.
Co-Worker: “Did you hear about the new work policy?”
Lee: “Nope, I did not, I was racing in an Ironman.”
For at least one month you can say, “Well, I’m only going to run easy today, I just did an Ironman.”
When someone brings up a subject of hardship suffered, you need to remind them that you also have suffered hardship, while training for and racing in your Ironman.