Crockett Bohannon

My-Story-Crockett-Small-199x300“Because it’s there”

Those words spoken by George Mallory in 1924 when asked why he wanted to be the first to climb Mt. Everest have over the years taken many people on similar adventures of the body, soul and mind. When I completed my first Ironman Triathlon in 1999, it was to check it off my bucket list. Done, now what’s next? Well, 13 years later – and 13 years older – I decided to try it again. Asked over and over why do it again, the only answer I could come up with was, “Because it’s there.”

For those of you that don’t know, the Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4 miles swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride and a 26.2 mile run. Yes, all in a row and all in the same day. They give you 17 hours to complete this trifecta and this time around I needed all of them.

The race itself is probably the easiest part of the process. Giving up a year of your life to the race, no more sleeping in on weekends, no more extra piece of cake – now that’s the tough part. Trying to find the time to perform proficiently in any one of the three disciplines is hard enough, but through in a full time job and all your other priorities are out the door (#notimeforfamily). The race I did (Ironman Florida) accepts about 3200 entries sold out in less than a minute! It’s good to know I am not alone.

It starts off with a mass swim start in the Gulf of Mexico. And by mass I mean 3000 people all at once, elbows and feet flying. Nothing those countless hours I spent in the pool or even open water swimming in the lake could have equipped me for this. As a result of the rough ocean and the crowded conditions several people had to be hauled into shore via Jet Ski, their day ended there, their shot at glory brief. I got out of the water in 1 hour 33 minutes and 44 seconds. Now, where’s my bike?

I’ve been biking longer distances for 15 years, so the 100 mile training rides in preparation for the race came easiest to me. Fortunately I had a training partner, Sharon, that helped pass the countless hours and hundreds of miles on the bike. The good thing about Florida is that its flat and the Ironman course had only one hill to climb – an overpass. Other than that, is was several grueling hours in the hotter than normal November conditions to get the chance to run a marathon. Finished the bike in 7:36:22.

The good thing about running is that you can run anytime and anywhere, just you and your shoes. Sort of. If you are going to be training for the Ironman you might need to carry fluids, food, sun block, salt tablets, gel shots, Band-Aids, your GPS watch, sunglasses – you get the picture. Nothing is easy when you are doing the Ironman. But, I finished the run in 6:47:06.

Total, that’s 16 hours 28 minutes and 57 seconds. The great thing about the Ironman is the only race is with the clock. Finish in less than 17 hours and you win. The first time I raced I finished in less than 12 hours, but it didn’t matter. This second time I received the same welcome at the finish line from my friends and family, felt the same exhaustion and the same relief that I did it and it was over.

This Article was previously published Feb 5, 2013 in Insight East Orlando magazine.