Thought for the Day

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How Tough is Ironman St. George?

Holy crap!
That's the phrase that leapt to mind when I saw this analysis from of the easiest/hardest Ironman courses, based on average completion times:
Easiest/Hardest Ironman Course

Overall, St. George has the longest average finish time:
Finish Times

St. George is ahead by a wide margin, half an hour longer than the next longest time, over two hours longer than the fastest ones.
I can take some small degree of solace in the fact that St. George has only one year of results, so this may be an anomaly.

Swim, St. George is tied for 3rd slowest:
Swim Times

There is about 20 minutes between the slowest and fastest.
You would think that water is water and there couldn't be that much difference. The guy doing this analysis says that things like the crowding/tightness of the course, chop/roughness of the water, and currents matter. Temperature matters to me.
The St. George course is tight at the start, and the water is cold. The water didn't look choppy to me the first and only time the race was held, but according to some reports it gets windy sometimes and it could be worse in 2011.

Bike, St. George is tied for slowest:
Bike Times

There is about an hour and twenty minutes differential here between the slowest and fastest courses. The three slowest are almost the same, and about 20 minutes slower than the next course on the list.

Run, St. George is 6th slowest out of the 25 races analyzed:
Marathon Times

Having seen the run course, this is surprising. That's a tough marathon. I would have guessed it was in the toughest 20%.

St. George isn't just a tough course, it is the toughest.
So what does that mean for me?
I can't just train to be an Ironman. I have to train to be one tough Ironman. I can't train with the thought that I just need to be good enough to make it through this. I have to train to be a serious triathlete. To do all right at St. George, I have to be ready to excel on any other course.
Good enough isn't good enough.
I'm pretty scared.
Holy crap.



Scully said...

holy crap is right!
I don't do triathalons or anything lengthy multi-sport like that. I do know on a smaller scale its that "holy crap" feeling that motivates me. I look forward to following your intense training!

Gary said...

Holy Crap is right! Now... NEVER look at this post or this info again. ;-)

Marcus Grimm said...

I saw on a high school athlete's t-shirt that Pain is Just Fear Leaving the body. Maybe the reverse is true, too - and fear is just pain leaving your body. :)

Mike Fraser said...

Well Jerry, all I can say is know your course well - study and analyze it to the dot. Customize your workouts to eventually be harder than the routes for St. George. And remember the one thing many, many people always tell themselves when crossing the finish line..."I should have trained more"...and don't be the one to make that comment when you cross. Of course you already know all of this stuff and are probably working it into your training already.

Man up.

jpnairn said...

Yes, knowing how tough it will be if I don't train hard is strong motivation to train harder.

Yeah, I am painfully familiar with those "should have trained more" feelings.
You're right, the things you're saying I've heard, and thought, before. But when you're right you're right, and it doesn't hurt for me to hear it again.
I will be studying everything I can find about the course, and visiting it as often as I can.
Thanks for the comments.