If You Never Tri, You'll Never Know!

Ironman VR1 - Where Ever You Are, Be All There #anywhereispossible


The greatest impact of this first Ironman Virtual Race (which you know, I HAD to accomplish!)... is that over 11,000 athletes around the world - the same world that is currently under similar fears, anxiety, and uncertainty (i.e. coronavirus pandemic)...signed up to conquer this challenge.
Most of us are in isolation, quarantined, or majorly restricted. Our gyms and pools are all closed, races cancelled. We are socially distanced from our friends and training partners. Yet, we are making do with what we have.

So, Ironman launched it's Ironman Virtual Club on April 1st - Your go-to hub for all things IRONMAN®. Train, compete, and celebrate your achievements with a global community of fellow athletes no matter where you are. I mean, kudos to them for adapting with the current environment! They (along with sponsors) are setting up virtual races and challenges for us to train, compete, and earn points for rewards. At first I was like, EYE ROLL, cool kids club, another way for Ironman to make money. BUT, so far, all the races and challenges are FREE! And I absolutely love that it's giving us GOALS. Athletes will understand, but if you're not an athlete, to help you understand - as athletes we need goals!
Usually our goals are races. Sure we train to be healthy and strong and we just love it, but we need benchmarks along the way or tests - RACES! It doesn't mean we are competition hungry psychos; we love the thrill of a challenge, the sense of accomplishment, and our ability to push ourselves to achieve a particular distance or speed!
The race is the REWARD for the hours of dedication, sweat, tears, blood, all the GRIT.

Ok, now that you understand that... I raced this weekend! The IMVR1 was to be finished between (my time) 8pm Friday and 2am Sunday. It consisted of a 5k or 3.1 miles run, 90k or 56 miles bike, and 21k or 13.1 miles run (the first 5k run replaces the swim portion of a triathlon). It could be done in any order over the weekend time frame.

Luca and I started at 8pm on Friday evening for the 5k run. As you know, we can't go further than 200 meters from our home so we use our driveway and run back and forth. I call our little run range a loop - from our gate, we run to the road and back, alongside the house and back, and that totals about 700 meters. A 5k = 7 loops and a little more.


It was just starting to get dark when we started. I took off first while Luca warmed up. I had no intention of "racing" but just running. But I felt good! And I was motivated! Granted, my "race pace" is only about 10mins per mile right now but all things considered, satisfactory!!
I finished in 30:50, Luca finished in a speedy 21:41!!

Actual upload of my Sunday 13.1 mile run above. Not sure how/why the elevation seems to increase (overall) on the 2nd half of the run - it was the exact same back and forth which totaled 31 loops.

Saturday I biked and Luca ran the half marathon (he needed to use the KickR for the bike portion). He went to his Navy base to run - lucky duck! Different environment, longer route, AND he ended up with a buddy for half of it! The trainer was easy for me, I've gone as far as 6 hours (100 miles) plenty of times. No big deal. The first hour always sucks, the second is mindless, and to the finish is a breeze. I put a free-ride on TrainerRoad and cruised at a 20mph average - strong spinning! I found the finish line at 2 hours and 50 minutes. Meanwhile Luca crushed the half at 1 hour and 42 minutes. He's such a strong runner!!!

I had Strava and Gamin synced w/the IMVR + I used TrainerRoad therefore my activity uploaded in FOUR different formats:
Garmin actual (considers power, speed, cadence, everything)
Garmin TrainerRoad (considers only power!)
Strava actual (which is synced with Garmin actual) and,
Strava TrainerRoad (which is synced with Garmin as well so also consider only power).

Unfortunately the first to upload was the Garmin TrainerRoad which didn't include the distance and thus didn't count! I was SO upset!!! I discovered a friend had similar trouble. We both emailed the Ironman support. I was like, I put a ton of effort AND money into Ironman, you better fix this shit!! It just bothered me so much. Like, this is all we have...we NEED this. I needed it! I couldn't even sleep that night I was so upset. Long story shorter, they eventually DID fix my account and recommended I unsync Garmin and allow only Strava to upload.

Sunday morning we are up and roaring to finish. But wait, oh hell, we slept until 10am!! Guys, we are like 6am waker uppers... By the time we got coffee, ready and set up, it was near noon. Luca had troubles with the KickR - it needed updated firmware and then the spin down made the tension super tight. And he had a major suck/suffer-fest for his 90k. Seriously, HARD. He didn't even complain; my guy is such a power house *hearts*. Meanwhile outside, I was suffering too. I haven't ran distance in IDEK how long and the back and forth was killing me. 34 laps is what I calculated I'd have to complete. 34 LAPS!!!!

I felt like I was running for days and it was only 2 miles in. I really considered risking a police stop and running farther out. Or just forgetting it all - besides, my bike wasn't even being counted (yet). Luca said (through the window), one mile at a time baby. And so I just focused on that - one mile at a time. I was riding the struggle bus but made it happen. I stopped taking it so serious and just enjoyed. I walked some, I listened to a podcast, I chatted with my neighbors and Luca through the window whenever I wanted, I took a pit stop to potty and refill water, took some pictures along my route (ha ha). I just enjoyed my (near 3 hours) in the sun, moving.
Physically I felt fine (until the end of course, the last 2 miles hurt). And then it was done!

Upon upload I discovered they fixed my bike and I was 100% - WOOOOO!!!
You are an Ironman Virtual Race FINISHER!! Very satisfying!!

It took Luca a bit longer (due to the ridiculous tension on the KickR slowing him down) <-- I'm going to fix this for him!! But he too finished the first ever IMVR *the crowd goes wild*
Later, another #teamTOA athlete, Gina and my momma in Arizona. Guys, we are so bad ass.

Goals! It's all about goals.

So my final thoughts to all of this are this (and this helped me climb through that run too)... Where ever you are, be all there. That means, don't half ass something! If you are injured, rest like a boss. Want to go to Kona? Work your ass off for it. Sick? Champ the fuck out of that vitamin C. Stuck indoors? On a trainer? On a treadmill? Crush it! You can complain and put yourself through a mental torture or you can accept it and champion it!
Be all in; in your moment, where ever you are, being who you are, with what you have! 
Anything is possible. Any WHERE is possible. 

To sign up for your next Ironman (brand) Virtual Race, check out their website here: https://www.ironmanvirtualclub.com

p.s. I "placed" 731/1163 female and Luca placed 4143/5320 male.
Also, there's NO way for any of these results to be legit as everyone has different setups, tension, equipment, etc... In fact, the "winners" and top finishers have ridiculously unbelievable times - like, WORLD RECORD finishes. Many athletes are pissed, irritated, or straight up refusing to participate. I get it, me too a little (irritated) - but it's just for fun and something to do.

I just have two "warnings" for Ironman:
1 - do NOT give out championship slots for virtual race "wins". Your most loyal athletes will be FURIOUS!! There is no way to ensure integrity in any of this so just DON'T. It's a fun platform to train and be a part of to challenge ourselves - but DON'T make this legit.

2 - for the love of the Ironman GODS - do NOT offer a full distance virtual Ironman. If some ass hat finishes a VIRTUAL (full) Ironman and tries to proclaim himself an "Ironman" he will be chased down with fire and pitchforks FOR SURE.
And for anyone reading this, if you do an Ironman brand race, you are NOT an Ironman.
An Ironman is an athlete who has finished a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run - in one day, consecutively, in an official race.

Happy Virtual Racing to you!! ;)