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May 26, 2024
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Ironman Lake Placid 2022: Part 2

I had to figure out if I could get my body ready for another Ironman Triathlon … in the next 14 days.

I had come back from racing Ironman United Kingdom and took a week off from training. So, I thought after a week of rest I would be able to do 13-15 mile runs and 75-to-100-mile rides, but my body was in recovery mode.

(Were you in any pain?)

Pain dissipates after 48 hours of completing a race, but the fatigue, I learned, can last for weeks.

(Did you do any training in those 21 days between the two races?)

I did a lot of recovery workouts.

(What is a recovery workout?)

A “light” workout that helps your body recover from a race or heavy workout.

(How exactly does doing a “workout” help in recovery … from a workout?)

A recovery workout can be an easy spin on the bike for 30 minutes. The act of moving your legs helps blood flow to the fatigued area, which facilitates recovery.

(Ok, a week off, a week of recovery workouts, then a week of intensive training?)

Nope, there is nothing to be gained by doing a huge workout the week of a race. All you will do is become fatigued or even hurt. Gains take weeks of training; I had days.

The week before an Ironman triathlon is just chaos in my house.

Between teaching, planning and packing, I’m running around like a villager from a burning hut while my poor wife is trying to pack herself and the kids for the trip.

(Do you help her?)

After 16 years of triathlons, I have learned that the best way to help is to stay out of her way. She has a system of packing and food shopping that guarantees a successful weekend. If I’m asked, I step up.

That week I tried to get as much sleep as possible and I ate … a lot.

Tuesday night I treated myself to a double Massin Burger at Narruto Bowl … because I could.

(What do you mean, “because I could”?)

I was about to compete in a race that has taken me between 15 to 17 hours to complete. It didn’t matter what I ate, I was going to burn it all off.

Wednesday night I ate a boat.

(What do you mean by a boat?)

A sushi boat. Sushi has been in America since the beginning of the 20th century. The economic boom in Japan in the 1970s and 1980s brought Japanese businessmen to America. That’s when the raw fish in rice took off in America in the form of sushi restaurants. According to Daniel Berlin, kosher sushi first took off in the early 1990s with catered events, not restaurants. I first tried it on the Upper West Side in the late 1990s at a place on 79th street that no longer exists.

Jackie Mason had a joke about Jews and Sushi, but the term Sushi doesn’t refer to the fish. Sushi actually means, “vinegared rice.” Sushi was first created in Japan in the 1820s during the Tokugawa shogunate. There are older pre-sushi versions of these rolls that go as far back as the 700s.

(But why a whole sushi boat?)

Because I could. Because it didn’t matter what I ate between now and the end of the race on Sunday night, I would burn it all off.

(But why sushi?)

Because my friend Elie Y. Katz challenged me to do so when we were in a sushi restaurant with our friends, back in 2014.

(What happened?)

On that fateful Wednesday, I devoured all eight rolls and asked for another boat.

(Did they give you one?)

No, they promptly told me I was cut off. The chef didn’t want to make a new one at that time of night.

(What did you do?)

My friends and I went out for ice cream.

(So, you have continued to do this before every Ironman triathlon?)

And marathons.

(Is it a superstition of yours that if you don’t do this you will fail?)

No, more of a mark that after eight months of training, I can sit back and relax.

(That seems like an excessive amount of food in a short time between the double hamburger and the sushi boat.)

It does seem like it, but I only eat this way the week before the race.

(Doesn’t this make you want to throw up?)

No, I eat until I’m satiated, then I stop.

By Thursday, I was ready.

(To what, throw up?)

To leave. It was time to drive up to Lake Placid, New York.

(This was like your, what, 400th time doing the race at this location?)

Fifth, thank you.

(So, why go back?)

I had athletes competing here, so I wanted to be there for them.

(So, you could have just come up to stand on the sidelines.)

My loving wife Janet asked me when I was going to stop doing these huge races. “When I nolonger can complete them in time.”

(So, you wanted to see if you could complete two of these 140.6 mile races in 21 days?)

That was the idea. It was time to see if I had bitten off too much.

David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6.

He can be reached at [email protected].

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