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

Thirty-Five Days Until Ironman United Kingdom

With less than 40 days until Ironman United Kingdom, my workouts are fast approaching race distance in size.

(Which are?)

Swim 4,224 yards.

Bike 112 miles.

Run 26.2 miles.

(In how many days?)

The Ironman Triathlon gives you 17 hours to complete all three events.

(How many full marathons do you run in training?)



Yup, if you can run 22 miles, you can run 26.2, so zero.

Normally, the need to run 18-22 miles would result in my running to a destination, say the 20 miles from Teaneck to Yankee Stadium and back or a giant loop around the Island of Manhattan, but this year was different. My friend Maccabee Avishur had introduced me to something called the “Local Legend.”

A “Local Legend” is the title awarded to the person who completes the most laps on a specific sections.

(Say, the soccer field in Votee park in Teaneck?)


All of this takes place on Strava, the tracking app for endurance workouts. Data recorded on my watch is uploaded creating a record of my swimming, biking or running.

So, it’s not the fastest?

No, that’s called “King of the Mountain” aka “KOM.” Only the really fast can claim the title of “KOM,” but “Local Legend” can be anyone’s … so I decided it was going to be me.

(If most serious runners run four to five times a week, you would have to run more than 20 laps … on a loop with a circumference of @568 feet.)

Yup, one mile is 1,760 feet, so that loop is a 1/3 of a mile.

(So if you ran 18-22 miles, that means…)

I ran 77 loops over three hours.

(But how did you not go insane? Wait … you are insane. How did you not get bored?)

Training is more than physically conditioning, it’s mental conditioning.

It’s about training my mind to block out the discomfort of hours of physical activity. For over three hours, I ran a loop where I tuned out my physical pain by finding something for my mind to fixate on … books on tape.

(Does that even exist anymore?)

Ok, audio books on U.S. History.

(So, what did you learn?)

If Washington’s ill-equipped army could endure two winters at Valley Forge, in the middle of a smallpox epidemic, I could tough through three hours of looping a soccer field every three minutes. There were moments during the American Civil War where it appeared that Abraham Lincoln would lose reelection because after two and a half years, there was no end in sight to the conflict. Lincoln could have secured his reelection by making a compromise peace with the Confederacy, but that would have left 4.2 million human beings still in bondage. He had already refocused the war from preserving the union to ending slavery when he gave the Gettysburg Address the year before. Like Lincoln, it was better that I fail trying than I quit because I feared failure.

Nothing is guaranteed, but perseverance can be learned. Ironman Triathlon training is about “banking” victories, so when the doubt creeps in, I can look back and know that I have done this, so I can do this now. I refused to, as Peter Shankman calls it, “rent space” to the voices of doubt.

When challenged, we are so much more likely to succeed if we refuse to entertain the idea of failure.

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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