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50 MILES VS IRONMAN TRIATHLON

Posted Jun 26 2009 5:19pm

Hi folks. Its been 8 days since I scaled the 50 mile ultra mountain and I have been thinking back to that day and trying to wrap my mind around the task and comparing it to my 3 Ironman distance triathlons.

Which was tougher??? I said initially that the 50 miler was more stressful to my body. However, I examined some facts from each discipline and came up with these conclusions.

Ironman distance Triathlon.
1. Longer amount of hours and effort. First one I did was in 16 hours and 45 min...then the next two were in the upper 15 hour range.
2. More areas of the body aching. Back discomfort from the Bike. Knee issues from the marathon segmernt of the triathlon.
3. Psychological Aspect . I was constantly fighting my inner demons during the Ironman races. Will I be fast enough to beat the bike cut off?? Can I deal with the day turning to night and still being out on country roads with only a neon necklace to ward off stray cars. My races were small events compared to the corporate races in the M-Dot format.
4. Nutrition knowledge was less when I did the three Irons. (Most recent one was 2002). I never bonked, but I know I was not properly fueled besides Gatorade and water.

50 Mile Ultra Marathon
1. It was a solo event, so I controlled the run...I was under no pressure to beat anyone or try to stay with any person. I say that was a benefit. Also, having my son run the last 20 with me was a huge benefit.
2. Body issues. I traumatized my tendons to my left ankle at mile 25 or so.. I kept running. Not really smart. Once I got that issue controlled in my mind. (ibprofen helped) I was able to finish. I ran it in 11 hours. 54 minutes.
3. Fitness level was about the same as the Irons, but I felt I had alot in the tank when I finished. I think I can run a 100 miler some day. I am not sure, I could do a double-Ironman.
4. My nutrition was much better. Roctane Gels were used and really helped. PB and J sandwiches were beneficial as were the trail mix and the Coke-Gatorade-Water I constantly used.

Those are some points and I have concluded that the Ironman distance gets a slight edge on which is tougher. Very slight. I also know if I attempted a 50 miler in August when the temps are in the 80's with humidity I would easily vote for the ultra-marathon being tougher.

I am blessed to be healthy enough to be able to. complete 3 Iron distances triathlons in my late 40's and do a 50 mile ultra at age 56. I know I will do a 100 miler some day and I am not done wtih long distance triathlons either. Speaking of 100 milers....good luck to Donald in the Western States 100.

Those are my stories and I am sticking to them.

On a work note. Things will be lots of fun covering the Cavs now that Shaq is on the team. He is a funny guy and he'll keep us on our toes..LOL!!!

Life's a Blast
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