Excouch Potato Turns Iron(wo)man: “Coming Soon To A Theatre Near You! Nightmares On Ironman Street”

Samantha Pruitt

As the weeks tick by and the new Fall Season shows it’s colors, I feel like a heavy magnet being pulled strongly towards an big Iron door.  Just eight weeks from my Ironman Arizona race day (but who’s counting?) and my body is on the verge of being in the best shape of my entire life. The painful 4000meter swims, 100mile rides and 20 mile runs now come naturally (no I did not say easily). It blows my mind and expands my soul to realize just how my much my prior couch potato body and self-limiting mind have evolved. For example, this Saturday I will do the Lopez Lake long course triathlon (1.2m swim/49m bike/9m run) at Scott Tinley’s Adventure Races and oddly enough it seems like no big deal but simply just another workout. My only real concern is choosing what beer to bring to our Central Coast Triathlon Club after party. Now that’s cool.     

However, there is just one little problem that mysteriously appeared just last night, bad dreams. That’s right….. “Nightmares On Ironman Street” for sure. Being fully loaded with 20hours of training volume in my Peak Phase, I have needed a solid 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Before I turn into a pumpkin and the 6pm sun barley sets I am fed, bathed and in pj’s with legs up and book or computer in hand. From 9pm to 5am I slip sweetly into a zombie like coma. At least until last night. Like a kid who watched a horror movie without permission, I tossed then turned and drifted in and out of hairy scary Ironman dreams all night long.

First off my bad dream started with me being at the race start in Tempe, Arizona and it was predawn dark and stormy. Along with 2,500 fellow wanna be Ironmen I jumped into the bone chilling river to do my 2.4 mile rectangle swim down and back. The gun went off and it started to rain. Like a black and white Hitchcock movie we were a helpless sea of wetsuit suits n goggle eyed bumping bodies in the dark, choppy water. The crowd’s high anxiety took its toll on many and half way down the flashing red light rescue boats started pulling swimmers out who already had enough. ‘Today was not their day to be an Ironman’ I thought, then tuck my head back into the dark water and drafted alongside a pack of unknown men for some protection.    

Nerves shot, I finally exited the water much later than I had hoped for. Through the wind and cold rain I stumbled in the dark into T1, changed clothes and mounted my bike. IMAZ bike course is 3 loops of 37.3mile each for 112miles total. I suffered through it shivering and hardly able to drink due to cold but finally came in and was very relieved to pass a wet grumpy volunteer my bike, but noticed not many other bikes where in yet. I went in the T2 tent and changed into dry run clothes. It was then I saw the pros just coming in off the bike. I panicked when I realized I had obviously only done two of the three required loops. Defeated, I sat down on the wet grass knowing I’d be DQ’d from the race. I knew my only chance to save my shot at being an Ironman was to go back out and finish the third loop. I pulled myself up and went to find my bike in transition. Still dark, windy and raining most of the volunteers had left and the place was a mess. Once I finally found it I got back on, wearing only run clothes and rode the course one more time. It was like a ghost town without spectators and all the abandoned aide stations due to the storm. No love out there for me today.

Into T2 the second time, I racked my own bike and ran off towards the timing mats to be sure my third loop and run start was counted. Doing so, I forgot my Garmin on the bike mount. IMAZ run course is also a 3 loop of 8.7mile each for the full marathon. The rain had stopped but it was still dark and very windy. There was no aide support or spectators and just a few other athletes beaten down into the Ironman shuffle barley moving. I was unsure of what direction to go and it was now late into the evening. My heart was racing knowing I’d eaten up most of my precious hours of the allowed 17 hour Official Ironman Race cut off time. My hands and feet wear numb and my body felt broken like I had a ton of bricks on my back. I had no clue what time it was due to my missing Garmin. Hypothermia was setting in due to being cold and wet all day plus a severe lack of fuel and hydration. The desire to quit and the pressure to keep moving were unbearable. In a pool of sweat I suddenly woke up. My heart was pounding! HELP!!!

Luckily I awoke in my own bed at home and my Ironman race is still weeks away. Thank god I have another chance for a good race. I then realized that as my body is adapting to training for this ‘Ultimate Test Of Human Endurance’ Event, my mind is as well. I must now use the next 8 weeks to train my mind along with my body to hold the calm focused confidence required to execute a good race. I need to hone my race strategy and go over all the fine details of the 140.6 mile race in my head and on paper to ensure I am well prepared. As they say in Ironman and in Ultra Racing, it’s not IF things will go wrong, it’s what and when things will go wrong. So no, I won’t be watching the Jaws Movie or reading any scary bike and running stories in the dark soon. I’m gonna tuck early into bed each night with an uplifting book of champion endurance athletes tales and visions of me swimming, biking and running my way in the warm SUNSHINE across the ultimate dream. The glory of the finish line. 

Living the Run is thrilled to publish Samantha’s Pruitt’s weekly blog “Excouch Potato Turns Iron (Wo)Man”. Sam has gone from an overweight and unhealthy coach potato to a fitness fanatic. Pruitt is a Certified Heart Zones Triathlon Coach, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, RRCA Running Coach and USAT Certified Race Director. View Sam’s complete bio on our Bloggers Bio Page. You can read her blog every week on www.livingtherun.com.  

Other Excouch Potato Turns Iron (Wo)Man Blogs:

“Slipping into the Twilight Zone”

Happy New Year to Me!

Let Freedom Ring and Women Sing

Healthy fear fuels your fire

Match Maker-Match Maker, send me a match

Sweet athletic dreams are made of Zzzzz’s

If you want to love somebody, love the one your with

Calories In, Calories Out, Repeat

Open your eyes to everyday inspiration

Silly kids… Toys are for Triathletes

A little A.D.D. goes a long way

Embracing my not-so-skinny genes

Building my base one brick at a time

Big dreams take big sacrifices

The Journey Begins 

Get Off the Couch, Potato. Sports Productions LLC Central Coast Samantha Pruitt, Certified Coach & Race Director  
Triathlon Club Coach & Ultra Athlete
Sporting Event Productions Management & Training Programs

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.