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Ironman World Championship Nice 2023: Part 7

At the Metallica show, with my 11 year old, trying not to think about biking the hills of France. (Credit: David Roher)

39 Days to go (August 2)

So, on Sunday, I kicked it up to 15 miles of running and reported zero problems.

(You ran 15 miles, in August … with one bottle of water?)

Running loops in Teaneck’s Votee Park meant that I had a water fountain nearby.

(Just how many loops did you run in Votee Park?)

I looped the soccer field over 40 times.

(How small a loop is that circumference of the soccer field?)

It’s 583 feet.

(How did you not go crazy … let me rephrase that question. How did you stay focused?)

I enjoyed knowing every inch of the path, so I knew where the tripping hazards were. I let my mind wander as my feet just kept moving round and round the perimeter of the field.

It felt good to be running pain free, not concerned with my hamstring.

(Hamstring behaving?)

So far so good … but my other concern was my mental state.

(That has been the concern of many for some time.)

A half marathon, 583 feet at a time, plus one mile there and one mile home. (Credit: David Roher)

Before I could start packing for Ironman Mont-Tremblant Canada 70.3 I had to leave for Bike4Chai. Bike4Chai is a two day-180-mile charity ride … and it scared me.

I was so traumatized by the ride at Ironman UK where I almost failed and the prospect of failing at Ironman World Championship Nice that I didn’t want to ride my bike outside.

(But you love your bike. You refer to it as one of your children.)

Be that as it may, I had to get back on the open road and regain my confidence.

(It sounds like this fear was all consuming.)

If I didn’t think about it, I was not worried.

(Out of sight, out of mind.)

Just like how the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” book described the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal. As the book claimed, “If you can’t see it, it assumes it can’t see you.”

That was how I dealt with my self-imposed anxiety.

I went to work; I took my 12-year-old to see Metallica at MetLife Stadium and I kept training.

(Was it weird taking a 12-year-old to see Metallica?)

He knew all the lyrics, and it was awesome.

(Ok, was it weird for him to be there with a 55-year-old?)

I too knew all the lyrics, and it was awesome … and I was the average age of the crowd. I even wore my “Metallica/Guns N’ Roses 1992 at Meadowlands” T-shirt.

(But what happened to your cycle training with all these “distractions?”)

Mind you, I kept the bike riding indoors where I didn’t have to think about hills … while I was preparing to ride hills.

(How does one prepare to ride hills … indoors?)

I will explain that later. Understand that all of this was so surreal to me.

(Going to the World Championships in Nice, France?)

That was only part of it. Ironman training season for me is from December to July. August to November is NYC Marathon training. During the school year I wake up at 4:30 a.m. and begin my training with the focus that I need to be at work by 7:30 a.m. to start teaching my first class of the day. It was summer and I was teaching from 8 a.m. -12 noon, four days a week, because those were summer school hours. I had to keep reminding myself to swim and bike train and to access those afternoons I normally don’t use in the summer. In summer, I try to relax and not think about triathlon training. But in the back of my mind, I knew that Bike4Chai was fast approaching and so was the Ironman World Championships in Nice, France. I was going to have to take to the road and face my fears very soon.

(You hadn’t experienced a crash, so what was your fear?)

That I might have bitten off more than I could handle with the 13-mile climb, straight up into the mountains of France.

(Moshe Kinderlehrer previously asked you to write about the time that you failed.)

I had not failed … yet.

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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