Kurtz’s Stronger Than Iron

Stronger Than Iron: Not Finishing Was Not An Option
Wayne Kurtz and Stefan Zetterstrom

There are endurance events, like a marathon, or even a half marathon. And then there are ultra endurance events, like 50 milers and hundred milers, and, I’d argue, ironmans. But then there is shit that is just so crazy that’s its hard to even fathom. These kind of events are often lumped into the category of “multi-day” or extreme ultra endurance. They include things like the 200 mile foot races, double ironmans, and things like what this book is about – a triple DECA ironman. Or three x ten times the distance of a standard ironman.

 

For those counting at home, that’s 72-miles swimming, 3,360-miles biking, and 786-miles running.

 

Yeah, a lot more than a half marathon.

 

This is a self published book about the exploits of the very unique brand of athelete who has the drive, time, and means to engage in this sort of craziness. It focused on a single event that occurred in Italy where a number of the top athletes in this world of ultra endurance ironmans tried to take it to the next level.

 

I’m not gonna lie, this isn’t very well written, in fact, its pretty bad. But if you need a dose of inspiration to get out the door for a 5k, it can be inspiring to read about these everyday people who do incredible things.

 

Recommended for the enthusiast.

It Takes Time To Go Fast

For future reference:

“Faster finishers (those under 10 hours 30 minutes) tend ot average greater traning volumes than slower finishers. On average, the faster men and women trained approximately 14 hours per week, broken down into 2.5 hours of swimming, 7.5 hours of cycling and 4 hours of running.”

  • Triathlete magazine “Would You make A Good Ironman”? October, 2016

parallax-triathlete

 

Race Autopsy: 2006 New York City Triathlon

Originally written for another blog. I haven’t edited this at all since it was published in 2006.

Prerace

I really underestimated the amount of shit that has to get done before you even start a triathlon. There’s the pre race briefing, where they tell you where everything is, and how the water in the Hudson is clean (honest!). Then you drop off the bike at the transition area the night before and after a fit full night of sleep, I was up at 3 a.m. to set up my transition area.

When I got to the transition area at five am, the sun wasn’t even up. The floodlights were on in the transition area, and not having a clue as to what I was supposed to do, I looked at the people around me for a guide as to what to do. I laid out the equipment and chatted with a number of much more experienced triathletes around me until six a.m. when I headed off to the race start.

The Swim

The swim course was from 100th street down to the boat basin at 79th, and as soon as the pros went off a couple minutes before six, it was obvious the current was going to be in our favor. I saw one woman float on her back down the river and still finish the stage in the allotted time.

Before the race, I was terribly nervous about the swim since I had had such trouble in the Liberty Swim in May. I told myself to just put my head in the water and go for it, counting my strokes and not worrying about where I was in the race.

When the horn went off, I was at the back of the pack, but all the open water swimming I have done recently must have paid off, because by the time I got out of the water, I was feeling strong, and at the front of the heat.

It took me 19:56 to finish the swim. That’s a full ten minutes faster than I was expecting. I felt strong coming out of the water, and was confident that I was going to at the very least be able to finish this thing.

The Bike

I need to do a lot more work on my biking. I got fucking destroyed by the dudes around me. I think this was for three reasons:

  1. I had taken the bike leg for granted and hadn’t trained nearly hard enough for it. I didn’t put in enough long rides and had done no speed work, so it isn’t surprising that I was getting smoked.
  2. Add to my lack of training the fact that I was riding a mid eighties steel bike and many of the guys passing be were riding time trial bikes or at least bikes with the aero bar setup. I need to rethink the design of my bike and possibly invest in a new handle bar set up. My sub par equipment isn’t an excuse for how badly I preformed on the bike, but a more tri specific set up would certainly help.
  3. Finally, I didn’t know how to pace myself since the run was still to come and that affected my speed. In hindsight, I could have gone out a lot harder on the bike. Lesson learned.

I finished the bike leg in 1:30:25. That can definitely be improved on.
The Run

It was well into the nineties by the time the run started, and all I was interested in doing was finishing. I passed more people than passed me. I finished the run in 62:48. My run could always use improvement, but I’m not going to beat myself up over ten minute miles in those conditions.

Total time for the event was 3:05:02. All in all, I’m proud as hell to have finished the thing, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. Now, I have to concentrate on training for the Hartford marathon, but I have to say, I’m hooked triathlons. Is it too early to be thinking about a half iron man?