Monday, July 13, 2020

The week before an Ironman is like something out of “A Tale of Two Cities.”

(“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times?”)

The week allows me certain freedom I haven’t seen in three months, but it also can be quite restricting.

Everyday becomes an all you can eat buffet, but I have to guard against my inclination to bike another 100 miles.

(Why is one more dry run a bad idea?)

This close to the race there is nothing left of gain, that I might have missed in the past six months. What my body needs at this point is rest.

(So walk me through your “rest week”)

Sunday to Wednesday:

By this point I choose to eat what I want, when I want, because I am going to burn ALL of it off. We are talking about a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2 mile marathon. All within 17 hours. I will burn more calories in one day than I can consume in the five leading up to the race.

(Just how much can you eat?)

My eldest prepares for this week by labelling his snacks.

Wednesday night we stop for sushi. We have to go for an early dinner, because I like to order a sushi boat for myself and I’m not in the mood to wait while other customers order their food. (What about your family?)

I make sure they order their food first.


We drive all afternoon to our hotel in Lake Placid, New York. As you might have guessed, the car is a smorgasbord on wheels. The kids have their electronic devices to keep busy and we only stop for bathroom breaks.


This is an all day affair. There’s food to buy, T-shirts to buy, more food to eat...but the highlight for me is the IronKid’s run. Each of my children had the chance to earn their own Ironman medals.

My 14-year-old and I ran with my 7-year-old. At the halfway mark the 7-year-old exclaimed,

“Everything hurts and I’m dying.”

“Do you want to walk?” I asked him.


Once we crossed the finish line, my 14-year-old had to run back to the start for his own race. When that was over, he looked worse than I do after an Ironman.


We had a minyan, we had a Torah, I had a foot cramp. All of this, in my hotel suit.

We had davening, we had Torah reading, I had copious amount of water and Gatorade.

In between reading aliyot, I sipped and stretched...and prayed that the cramp would dissipate before race start.

David Roher is a USAT certified Marathon & Triathlon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher & a veteran special education teacher. He can be reached at: [email protected]

By David Roher