July 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Ironman UK 2023: Part 4 

“This is the way,” (Credit: David Roher)

Sixty days until Ironman UK.

The first week of May is the turning point for me when it comes to Ironman training.

With 60 days left, there were only six weeks of training remaining.

(Wait, that math does not add up.)

The last two weeks before an Ironman are called the “taper.”

More on that later.

By May, I am “super-sizing” my workouts. At that point, I had six months of strength-building swims, bikes and runs.

(Didn’t you start to extend the distance on those workouts at the end of March?)

Yes, but now my swims were extended to 3,000 meters, the bike rides were up to three hours and the runs were over 13 miles.

(How do you stay focused for so long?)

Music on the swim and the run. Netflix on the indoor bike.

(Ah yes. You told us this already.)

By May, the predawn temperatures have risen to the 60s.

Warm enough for short sleeves, cool enough to require a minimal amount of hydration on a long run.

The day before Shavuot, I ran to my parents’ house.

(How far was that?)

Twenty three miles.

Running across the GWB. (Credit: David Roher)

(Twenty three miles? Why would you do that???)

We were 37 days away from Ironman United Kingdom and I had a long run scheduled, so I ran to my parent’s house to bring them to me for Shavuot.

(Bring them how? On your back like Yertle the Turtle?)

Read on…

(So, how was the run to…)

White Plains, New York from Teaneck, New Jersey. Getting from my house to the George Washington Bridge was tricky thanks to the unmarked path in Flat Rock Nature Center.

(Why was that?)

I was following Google Maps.

(You could just have taken Cumberland to Myrtle.)

Thanks, I will remember that for the next time I do this.

(Be glad that Google Maps didn’t direct you into a body of water, like MapQuest used to.)

The sky was clear, the air temperature was 60 F and the wind on the bridge was harsh. With nothing to break the wind, I felt the full force of whatever was blowing up the Hudson River that morning. It is a strange sensation when you have the warmth of the sun on your face combined with the chill of an Atlantic wind. Once over the bridge, I was in Washington Heights. From there, up Broadway like General George Washington’s troops when they evacuated New York City after the British landed at Kips Bay on September 15, 1776. I crossed the University Heights Bridge into the Bronx at 207th Street. Another two miles through Fordham until a left turn that took me along the Bronx River. I had refilled my 16.9-ounce bottle at a park water fountain. I was now 10 miles into my run. With 13 miles to go, I started to count down the miles as I sang along to the 80s metal bands on my Spotify playlist. Two miles later, I passed Woodlawn Cemetery and rows of abandoned cars.

(Twelve miles done; eleven miles to go!)

Another mile later I stopped to buy another bottle of water from a food truck.

(Thirteen miles done; ten to go!)

Right turn into Bronxville.

(Fourteen miles done; nine to go!)

Bronxville became Tuckahoe.

(Sixteen and a half miles done; six and a half to go!)

Tuckahoe became Eastchester as I passed Lake Isle Country Club.

(Eighteen miles done; five to go!)

Eastchester became Scarsdale as I passed Scarsdale High School.

(Twenty miles done ; three to go!)

Taking the long way to the GWB. (Credit: David Roher)

Right turn at the Scarsdale Police station and ¾ of a mile up the hill to White Plains … and my hamstring spasmed. I walked a few feet until my leg calmed down. I continued the last mile and a half to my parents’ house. I entered the house and found my parents packed and waiting.

“Dad, can we take your car back to my house?”

“What’s wrong with your car?”

“It’s back at my house.”

Here was the moment I had waited for…

“How did you get here?” My bewildered father inquired.

“I ran here!”

“You’re kidding.”

“Mom?” I replied.

“Judd, I don’t think he is kidding us.”

“Ganz meshuggah.”

I laughed.

Two days later I drove to my parents’ home with my bike in the trunk of their car.

My plan was to bike back to my house after a detour.

(What type of detour?)

A 40-mile detour to the top of Bear Mountain.

From my parent’s house in White Plains, I rode west to the Mario Cuomo Bridge.

(The Tappan Zee Bridge.)

Once on the Rockland side, I had two steep climbs to ride to reach the entrance to Bear Mountain State Park. From the entrance to the top of the mountain was a 4.5-mile ride straight up winding roads. The ride to the top felt manageable, so when I got to the bottom, I rode back up to the top again. This time something didn’t feel right…

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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