Top 14 Life Lessons from My 14 Ironman Triathlon Journey – Part I

Wow, the end of 2018. As I was going through my blogs from the last 3 years, I wanted to pull out some of the most popular but as I saw my “Life Lessons” from each race and I realized I was 4 lessons behind.

So, this week, I present to you my “First Seven Life Lessons from my First Seven Ironman Triathlons.”

1.Your First Ironman will ALWAYS be your favorite– Ironman Wisconsin -2002

  1. Everything is SO NEW and so WONDERFUL heading into race day.
  2. HOLY CRAP… I am doing an Ironman! You trained for it. You swam, bike and ran your heart out for a year of training.
  3. You get the IM shirt, socks, hat, bag, etc. You get the finisher shirt, hat, socks, bag, vest, etc.
  4. The people, the volunteers, the support on the race course were SO AWESOME.
  5. Your family and friends were cheering you near and far and you cross that finish line and you hear, “Jennifer Fritzsching, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”2. Travel the World by doing an Ironman Triathlon – Ironman Brazil – 2004
  • You are doing an Ironman in a different country!
  • You still trained your heart out for another Ironman.
  • You are a bit tired heading into this one. You know what to expect.
  • Wait, you are doing an Ironman in another country. How do we ship the bikes? Luggage? You don’t speak the language. UGH!
  • You are in BRAZIL. The beautiful country. The amazing food. The ocean. The beach. You cross that finish line and you think you hear, “Jennifer Fritzsching, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

3. Racing a flat Ironman course is as hard as racing an Ironman hilly course. – Ironman Florida – 2004

  • What were you thinking, 2nd Ironman in one year…this one is flat. You will be fine. Think again.
  • Heading out for a 5:30 training ride, pulled over at 1 hour and started crying. Called my coach, turned around and went home.
  • You drive to Florida. It’s only 12 hours. You can load up the car with all your stuff and off you go.
  • Racing a flat course is much harder than racing a hilly course. You are in your aero bars for 90% of the time and there is no “free” spin going down hills.
  • You set an Ironman PR. It still hurts. You still cross that finish line and hear, “Jennifer Fritzsching, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

4. If you plan on doing this for a while, find a spouse, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, who also does Ironmans and gets this crazy world.– Ironman Western Australia -2005

  • Chris and I got married in April 2005 and we delayed our Honeymoon to Australia by doing an Ironman together AND travel the country after the IM.
  • We met AMAZING people in Australia, triathletes and locals. The support for triathletes was everywhere. It seemed the town of Busselton was out cheering us on.
  • We didn’t see any deer on the side of the road instead we saw Kangaroos while we were racing.
  • We swam in the Indian Ocean. We had to be prepared for anything as far as weather in Australia. Delayed the race due to weather (lighting and thunder). Windy and cool on bike. Hot as all get out on the run.
  • You were sick as a dog heading into the race. You still cross that finish line and heard, “Jennifer RULON, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

8 year Sabbatical from Ironman Triathlons and started lifting…continue, please…

5. Be Comfortable in your Clothing.– Ironman Florida – 2013

  • Utilize the race tents to change out of your clothes. BE COMFORTABLE! Wear a swimsuit if you want then change into a top and cycling shorts. Then change into running shorts.
  • If you are trying to qualify for Kona, don’t change. I was chafing SO BAD on my cycling shorts at FL, thank GOD; I had my running shorts in my T2 bag.
  • After an 8 year sabbatical from Ironman Triathlon training, it was good to be back. Long swims. Long bikes. Long runs. #Kona2015
  • Body doesn’t recover as well as it used to be…8 years ago.
  • You set an Ironman PR. It still hurts. You still cross that finish line and hear, “Jennifer Rulon, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.” 8 years old and 15 minutes faster!

Ironman Triathlon Strength Coach

6. Doing a marathon AFTER a 2.4-mile swim and 112 mile bike…it will hurt regardless.– Ironman Coeur d’Alene – 2014

  • Cooler racing temps coming from Texas are so much nicer. Race morning, a bit chilly.
  • Sometimes you need to tell yourself to #HTFU when you are racing. Freaked out in the swim.
  • Be mindful that the water may be cold but you will warm up quick out on the bike. Better to underdress than overdress.
  • A marathon on flats or on hills after you swam and bike will hurt regardless. It is easier to run up and down the hills. If you keep running, you PR, your Ironman Marathon time!
  • Your family and friends were cheering you near and far and you cross that finish line and you hear, “Jennifer Rulon, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

Ironman Triathlon Training Jen Rulon

7. Write down your nutrition before the race and DO NOT CHANGE it unless absolutely necessary. – Ironman Florida – 2014

  • What were you thinking, 2nd Ironman in one year…this one is flat. You will be fine. Think again.
  • Everything was written out on paper for your food. Generation UCAN is set. Wait, let’s throw a bar in there…you get hungry sometimes.
  • DON’T FORGET TO CHARGE YOUR GARMIN! #rookiemistake
  • Swim was canceled. Riptides were terrible. Wind gust up to 30 mph’s. You ate that bar on your bike, which you NEVER TRIED during racing. You get on the run. You dry heave. You throw up that bar. You were walking, crying, and hating life. Once again, you decided to #HTFU.
  • Your family and friends were cheering you near and far and you cross that finish line and you hear, “Jennifer Rulon, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.”

Next week, I will finish off the “Last Seven Life Lessons from my Last Seven Ironman Triathlons.”

Do you have any Life Lessons that you learned from your races? Please comment below!