The difference between training and not training

I would like to share a response from a colleagues’ brother of mine on the difference between training and not training.

Hi Brian,

very brave! Here is a report by Paul, who completed an ironman and survived

Hey gang,

There’s multiple differences between doing an IM with training and one
without training. Here are some of my thoughts in case you ever
considered trying one with less training;

When you are trained and in shape, you swim steady, you ride your
heart rate and watt limits, and you move as fast as you can while
trying to keep nutrition down.

When you don’t do much training, you swim steady, you ride your heart
rate and watt limits, and you move fast as you can while trying to
keep nutrition down. The difference is that you go REALLY REALLY slow.

When you don’t train, race support vehicles aren’t there to help you
with mechanicals. They are there to encourage you to speed up if you
want to make the bike cutoff.

When you train, you want to finish in time to shower and eat before
the late night party at the finish line to cheer on the midnight
finishers. When you don’t train, people throw a huge party for you at
the finish line.

When you train really hard, you can finish in under 11 hours and
people are like, “big deal…” as you cross the line.

When you don’t train, you finish close to midnight and people go
bonkers telling you how great you did and how awesome you are. Very

When you don’t train, WTC gives you free glow sticks as a special gift
during the race. How could you not like free glow sticks? You could
put them around your neck, make loopdy-loops around your wrists, or
hold them with your hands and make cool designs by swinging your arms
wildly. But don’t hold one in each hand with your arms extended while
moving them front and back or a small plane might try to land on your
head during the race.

When you don’t train, the athletes around you that are farting on the
race course are old ladies and fat dudes instead of shredded men and
hot chicks.

When you train, you worry about not getting too close to other
cyclists which results in a drafting penalty. When you don’t train,
you sometimes wish you saw other cyclists to gain comfort that you are
still on the official race course and not lost.

When you don’t train, there’s no toilet paper left in the Happy Can’s.
You do your best to improvise because it’s rather dark in there at
that hour of the evening. Fortunately glow sticks aren’t like those
blue light sticks they use to investigate bacteria in hotel rooms.
They just help you in a jam to tie your stretchy pants back up.

When you don’t train, the sponges that volunteers hand you are not
cool and refreshing squares of paradise. They’ve been thrown on the
ground and recycled enough times to provide you with what I describe
as “poor man’s micro dermabrasion.” I came out of a few aid stations
looking like a special forces commando using face camouflage. One time
I asked, “Is this a cold sponge or is this a piece of pumice stone? I
got rocks in my eye damnit!”

When you don’t train you can stop and piss anytime you want right in
the middle of the road. It’s too dark for anyone to see anything.

When you don’t train there are plenty of chairs available in the
transition change tents. Take your pick. And the ratio of volunteers
to athletes is now raised to 10:1 at that point. I told two guys to
put my shoes on for me and one guy to unload and load my bag. And
they did!

When you don’t train, it’s really easy to find your run special needs
bag. Although the volunteers can be heard saying, “Wow, we had bets
that youDNF’d.”

When you don’t train, volunteers are constantly asking you how you are
doing and if you are ok to continue. If you respond, “Oh don’t worry
about me, I’ve done this 12 times before” they start screaming into
walkie-talkies and stating that a competitor is hallucinating and
needs immediate medical assistance.

I might change my mind, but in the future, I might go back to training
a bit more serious before I try that stunt again. Very tough, not
very bright.


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2 Responses to The difference between training and not training

  1. Captain America says:


    To all the haters out there, please join me in saying, “Hahh hah.”

    Good on ya, mate.

    I did Florida Ironman basically cold last year and finished in 12 hours. The mind is the money organ in your quiver.

    I hope you get your money from those jacka$$ tri snobs with their expensive bikes, 80s spandex, and overpriced shoes.

    In any ironman, there are the pros (10%) who dominate, the strong ag folks (20%) who are awesome athletes, then there are the rest of the donkeys. You got smoked by the pros, the strong, and even the mild. You beat the chubby dudes, slow ladies, and unlucky people with flats, cramps, vomit, etc.

    You did not really prove anything about who is the best athlete, but that is an almost-impossible test: Force Recon Marines? Decathletes? Wide Receivers? Circus Midgets? I do not know, but you rock!

    Great cause, great story. Right now there are literally thousands of soccer goons who think they can do this – and i hope they try. Also now, there are thousands of first-time ironmen signed up for 2011 races who are:

    a) crapping themselves
    b) laughing at you
    c) worried that their under-training is sadly way over-trained if they are really athletes

    Keep ’em guessing. For your next act, why not ball up and join the Marines? How about trying to make Force Recon within 18 months? That would be cool…

  2. marines? I don’t know. I was thinking more along the lines of an empire state building stair run. I won’t rule anything out tho! Thank you for your post, great story!


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