Introducing: Road to Ironman

One Killer Summer

Editor’s Note: We’ve been curious about Ironman for some time now. We’d seen reliable intel that more guys than ever are adding it to their bucket lists, training hard in excess of a year for one very brutal day of swimming, biking, running, dehydration, and hyponatremia (body’s lack of sodium). It sounds like one hell of a way to spend what little free time men have nowadays. So, we asked GP’s resident Braveheart, Mr. Jeremy Berger to cancel his plans for a leisurely summer and with the help of our friends at Timex, got him signed up for Ironman Louisville. Be sure to check in with us every two weeks between now and the end of August for a new chapter of the Gear Patrol original summer series, Road to Ironman.

Read Jeremy’s first dispatch and introduction to the series after the jump.

Road to Ironman
Part 1: Introduction | Part 2: Conversation with Phillip Bauman, MD | Part 3: Swim, Bike, Run, Eat | Part 4: Training with a USA Triathlon Amateur Athlete of the Year

Road to Ironman: Part I

I’ve got this lump on my left big toe, just north and east of the nail. Some kind of blister beneath a callus. It’s becoming dark and a little painful. I’ll cut in there with my utility knife — no problem — and then hit it with some alcohol and bacitracin and be out running again tomorrow. Thank goodness it isn’t the toenail, you know? I don’t know how to deal with the toenail. I’d have to go to the doctor… oh, and I don’t have good insurance.

Training for Ironman is largely self-indulgent, in part because it’s an individual sport, doubly so because the athlete is so tuned in to his body, his strengths, aches, his response to nutrition and sleep, and so on. This means I spend a lot of time running my mouth about training to people who are on the cusp, interest-wise; it was a major event the other day when I swam, ran, and then had a violent stomach ache — probably because I drank a bunch of milk that morning — but this is scarcely interesting to anyone who doesn’t love me unconditionally. After today, you’ll hear little about things like my gastrointestinal issues or foot problems.

The minor revelation here is that intense training of any kind requires focus and presence of mind — living in the moment, so to speak. This series isn’t about all that, however — at least not directly.


As a reminder, Ironman is an is an ultra-distance triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. It sounds like one hell of a slog and your author has been spending a little part of each day sitting quietly, terrified. It feels good to get that off my chest. The good news is I’m a competent athlete: At the beginning of this training period I could comfortably run a half marathon and bike 30 or 40 miles on a mountain bike. The one big obstacle is that I have an average man’s relationship with the water. In a pinch, most of us can get ourselves to land, but we don’t really swim. Fortunately, I have a friend in my corner who’s as pretty as a mermaid and nearly as aquatically gifted.

Welcome to our latest project: Three very intense months of training for Ironman Louisville. Twice per month, over the next several months you can expect highly focused vignettes of Ironman training as one regular guy sees it, interviewing experts and covering topics like foot and knee health, time trial bikes, open-water swimming, and of course, lots of gear and other surprises along the way.

It’s going to be a killer summer. Seriously.

If you have any feedback, words of support, or other sage words of advice, be sure write to Jeremy jberger @ gearpatrol . com.

The Courses




Road to Ironman

Road to Ironman

Part 1: Introduction | Part 2: Conversation with Phillip Bauman, MD | Part 3: Swim, Bike, Run, Eat | Part 4: Training with a USA Triathlon Amateur Athlete of the Year

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