Brian MacCallum: Ironman Hawaii: 'this race is not for the faint of heart'
ATHLETES, IRONMAN, Hawaii
As most of you know, Team MacCallum is competing in one of the hardest endurance races in the world!
I will be participating in the 2011 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on October 8th in just over 24 hours from now. Marriage withstanding this is by far the biggest challenge to be attempted by Team MacCallum.
Sure it's in Hawaii (paradise), but it's still one tough environment! Been here four days and have one heck of a sunburn and have been fighting a head cold from Cormac for the last week...Enough of me complaining.
So this race is not for the faint of heart, the day starts with a 2.4 mile swim in the Pacific Ocean, a 112 mile bike ride with island winds hitting 60 miles per hour on the course, finishing off with a 26.2 mile run (yes, a marathon). All done in temps usually hovering around 90 degrees with 80 to 90% humidity (yes 80 - 90%). The course is hilly, hot, and with no shade it’s considered one of the toughest courses in the world (though don’t kid yourself, no Ironman course is easy).
I received a late entry in June, but had been training for months in
hopes of getting an invite.
How did I get in? I have friends in the right places and I am totally
indebted to them for making this dream slash nightmare a reality. And there might be an opportunity for you, the viewer/teammate, to see a portion of my day (good or bad) from the comfort of your own couch.
The EP (Executive Producer) of the NBC National show (that will air on
December 10th, Saturday @ 4:30 - 6:00pm EST), heard about my story. No, not a story of an extremely good looking 41 year old with a hot wife and adorable son, who’s an endurance athlete (I use the term athlete loosely), rather the story of one 41 year old diabetic who's battled the disease for over 34 years, completed 10 marathons among many other races in the last 8 years. So the possibility of being one of the feature stories for the show was my in to the most famous triathlon in the world. This, of course, puts another level of pressure to the upcoming race.
In the last few weeks they have filmed me running and biking in my city and they also had a sit-down interview with me focusing on training with diabetes and training in the greatest city in the world. I was hoping they would ask how I got my arms so toned... But they did not, it was . . . diabetes this and diabetes that.
Speaking of training, unless you have trained for a race this long or
lived with a person who has trained for an IM, it's pretty unbelievable
what one, or should I say the one training and their families go
through to get to a level that completion of 140 miles in one day can
hopefully be achieved. The experience of the last four months has
been . . . How should I say this? Umm…? A grueling but rewarding
(solo) challenge that has required more teamwork and time than I
thought possible. Swimming, biking, running 6 to 7 days week, almost all the time starting shortly after my alarm went off at 4:15am or 4:30am. The positives of this demanding process is I have seen the sun rise more in the last 5 months than in the last 41 years of my life, I watch my son sleeping silently in the predawn stillness as I move like a Navy Seal out of our one bedroom apartment and I get most of my hard work down before 8am. I will truly miss these moments when my training
is over. I will not miss being out of the house on a Saturday for 8
hours on a bike/run brick. Nor will Coach Mooney and Cormac.
Recently as I was finishing a 20 mile run in the park, I saw this
extremely attractive brunette with beautiful blue eyes walking with a
child who I thought was the cutest kid I have ever seen (I’m sure a
future President). I stopped and said, "Hello! And what is this young man’s name?” She looked at me bewildered and said, "Hey Pokey, that is your son.” "Oh, Hi Mooney!” A little too much time away from the family isn't the best thing, so if anyone knows how I can get paid to do events like this and not have to work a normal job, please let me know. I would have no problem training 5 days a week 9am - 5pm. Really, I'm not kidding.
As I said teamwork has gotten me within a week of the race. I wouldn’t be here without people like Steve Mayer, Al Trautwig, Peter Henning, Claudia Cummings (Tri Coach), Bill Goins (Coach and "Agent”), David Nazaroff (Owner of Toga/Gotham Bike), Mike Abrams (Specialized Bikes), Cliff Scherb t(TriStar Athletes), Joanne Rinker (Fit4D), Teel Tech (Bill and Julia), Phil Galinsky for introductions, Eric Opdyke (REVOLUTION3), Les Jones (swimming), Matt Nicholson and Gary for covering the Columbus Day Parade in my absence, and of course Maureen @ home. Though this journey would never have begun if not for Mooney's support. Her help at home has been
indispensible these last few months and I appreciate it more
than I’m sure I show. I also want to extend my thanks to many others
who have helped me out since I started on the path to doing marathons and then triathlons with physical, financial or just (and as important) moral support.
Triathlons are one part physical, one part mental, one part time and
one part gear/equipment and on the gear/equipment end I want to give a special thanks to Toga Bikes and the bike manufacturer Specialized. Both have supplied me with a new bike (Specialized Tranisition Expert) and all necessary gear (including bike helmet, shoes, hydration system,
bags, Tri shirts, shorts, hats, etc…) and then some (like rub on
tattoos… Okay maybe they didn’t go that far). This incredible helping hand from both Dave and Mike will make my race day as comfortable, safe and efficient as possible (I don’t want to say fast, b/c it will not be), thanks guys.
As for race day, I’m feeling good mentally and physically. All
kidding aside, this race is more than just a race; it's a passage for
me. No matter what happens on October 8th, the training has pushed my limits and my management of my diabetes to a new level. A level, few in my position (age and length of having the disease) have reached, so
this already a win for me.
FOLLOW OUR EXPERIENCE HEADING TOWARDS RACE DAY:
You will be able to follow me Twitter (@briwmac) the days leading up to race day (October 8th) and on race day itself. Coach Mooney will be tweeting (on my behalf.)
RACE DAY TRACKING (On the Web):
October 8, 2011 (Saturday)
RACE START: 7:00am Local Time / 1:00pm EST
RACE CUT OFF: 12:00am Local Time / 6:00am EST
Go to the website below and follow instructions. You will be able to
see my splits. FYI: It’s sometimes not the easiest site to navigate
You should be able to put in my name or bib # 135.
NAME: Brian MacCallum (not Pokey, BMAC, The Dude, Stud, Single Guy, Married Guy, Buckles, Chippy, or other names I have been called good and bad).
TRACK MY ATHLETE SITE:
For a real time updates and other stats you can be go onto
You should be able to get on the
site (above) on the 8th and find the event (KONA IRONMAN 2011) and type in my name. You will be able to see other competitors using athlete tracker, so don’t compare me to the all the faster ones.
I’ve been asked, how long will it take me to finish? Well, this is my
first IM, as you can understand there are no guarantees with certain times, let alone finishing. Cut off is 17 hours from the start, so 16:59 would work for me, though I hope to be a little quicker than that Maybe 15 ½ hours? If I have a good day body and mind wise.
Swim, Bike, Run (and walk if you must, there’s no shame in it),