The Ironman Cometh – August 2016!

I never said I wouldn’t do it. But then again, I hadn’t exactly expressed a burning desire to complete an Ironman. Too many times, I told myself 140.6 miles was too long, too far, too much. I was content with the challenge of the half ironman distance…or was I? Truth was, after four Ironman 70.3 races, including one World Championship that was one of the most amazing race experiences I’ve ever had, I wasn’t completely satisfied. I watched many friends and acquaintances complete Ironman distance events and started asking myself, “why can’t I do this?” And the more I asked that question, the more the answer began to change.

When I met with my coach after the Ironman 70.3 World Champs, I mentioned that I was thinking about doing a full Ironman, but had read (yep, I always do a lot of research!) that I needed to increase my training for the next full year in order to be fully prepared, and so was thinking about signing up for a 2017 event. His response was, “If you want to do an Ironman, just sign up and stop thinking about it so much!”

I’m stubborn so I still thought about it…for a few more weeks. I already knew what race I wanted to do for my first 140.6: Ironman Mont Tremblant, in Quebec, Canada. Many people look for an easy course for their first Ironman, one that has, for example, a downstream swim if they’re a weak swimmer, or a flat bike and run course. I didn’t want to do that. Not that I was looking for a hard course, but I knew I’d be happiest racing in beautiful surroundings, as I was in Austria. Mont Tremblant is my favorite place to ski – the slopes are long and the views magnificent –  and I’m pretty sure it’s equally impressive in summer. Of course it’s hilly, but I’d rather take a hilly bike over a flat one any day. Before I made my final decision I did talk with a friend who had raced it and she confirmed that I would love it. It also fits into my schedule nicely; it’s a late August race and, now that I’m teaching, I’ll have the summer off for the more intense training. Yay for career changes that make me able to pursue my love of triathlon!


My younger son snowboarding at Mont Tremblant last winter

In October I pulled the trigger. Ironman is expensive, but I paid in Canadian dollars and everyone knows the Canadian dollar is weaker than the U.S. dollar so I actually saved a few bucks. 😉  Even better, last week my coach announced he was signing up, and just the other day my roommate from the World Championships in Edmonton last year told me that both she and her boyfriend will be racing! Ah, misery loves company. And I’ll have plenty of people to train with, as several friends are racing Ironman Chattanooga a month later in September.

Am I afraid? Of course. 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running is one heck of a long way. But I’m ready to tackle it head on. I know it won’t be easy, and the training is going to be brutal, but, after six years of triathlon, I think I’m ready!

Ironman veterans, any advice for a first timer?


  1. Alison you’re going to be great! I’ve heard so many great things about that course, you will kill it, hills and all. I’m so excited for you!
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  2. That’s really exciting! Tackling a new challenge will be great change.
    Elizabeth C. recently posted..The Columbus Half Marathon: Determined!My Profile

  3. AHHHHH I’m so excited for you!!!! I did my IM’s so darn long ago, I don’t think I can remember anything valuable, ha ha. I’m doing the 70.3 in June and I can attest to how stunning the course is. We were out there on the Labour Day long weekend and it’s amazing. It’s hilly but not brutally hilly. Not like Europe.
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    • Alison Gittelman says:

      I am going to make you remember by asking lots of questions! Which IMs did you do, for starters?! Great to hear the course is pretty. I do best when there’s something to look at. 🙂

  4. On a smaller level, I’ve said the same things about marathons…too far, too much training, too much of a time commitment. But guess what has two thumbs and signed up for a marathon. This guy. Our competitive nature is what keeps us racing and not sitting around. You’ll kick ass!

    • Alison Gittelman says:

      So true, we just can’t help ourselves! Know what’s funny! I’ve sworn off marathons. My massage therapist gently reminded me that there’s a marathon at the end of an Ironman. 😉

  5. It is so awesome that you picked MT as your first. I have considered that one for my second….possibly in 2017. As always, I look forward to following your training next year. IMLP was my first and I am so glad I picked it. I know you will feel the same way about MT!
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