I don’t look at this as a big big deal, but a lot of people are curious about how I got off the couch and finished an Ironman at age 50.  It wasn’t easy, and definitely took a major turning point, but I really believe almost anyone can do an Ironman.

Coach and Mike
This is me culminating my Couch to 5K training

I started running for the first time in 2012.  I was 48 at the time and probably 30 pounds over my ideal weight.  A party video changed my life and I knew it was a now or never moment.

After about 8 weeks of walk/run training I finished my first 5k.  In some ways I still feel like that was a bigger deal than finishing my first Ironman.  It was the turning point that sort of shoved me into working out again.  I loved it and kept going.

I went straight to a 5 mile, a 10k, then a 1/2 marathon two weeks later.  It was probably an excessive path, but I was bitten by the bug.

But later that year the big bug bit me when I went to watch my friend Kevin do Ironman Louisville.  It was truly a remarkable experience, and even as a spectator, I didn’t want to let go.  I ran around with Jim for 17 hours and I knew it was just a matter of time before I was lining up to do Ironman.

The next weekend I almost drowned in an Olympic, but I was in too deep.  One week later, along with four other guys, I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin.

From there it was just a matter of wrapping my brain around what it would take to get ready for a mass start swim, a hilly 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon, which I would never come close to running in training.

The swim was the biggest mental obstacle.  The Wisconsin mass start intrigued and intimidated me at once.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it, but the bottom line was I had to start working or I would be embarrassed . . . or worse.

A couple months after my decision, I met Coach Robbie and he patiently answered a million questions, guided my workouts, inspired me, and jumped my ass when I needed it.

We worked together from the beginning of January 2013 all the way through Ironman Wisconsin 9 months later.  It was a bumpy road at times and often I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off.  But the incremental growth kept coming.

Have you ever seen a coach so proud?
Have you ever seen a coach so proud?

Along the way I had 4-5 breakthrough moments that convinced me I could be an Ironman.  They were mental victories that I believe pushed me over the top.  I started with the hope of finishing under 13 hours, but as the summer went on, I started looking at the idea of sub-12.  That decision was far more mental than physical and in this podcast I talk about how my mindset changed and what I think was the key moment.

We also talk about:

– The importance of recovery as you get older
– Turning points in Mike’s belief system
– How Mike went from a 42 minute Olympic swim to a 1:20 Ironman at Wisconsin
– How to virtually guarantee a solid Ironman run
– Why Mike’s longest training run was only 14 miles en route to a 4:20 marathon.
– How Coach Robbie kept him focused over a long 9-month-plan
– Overcoming mental and emotional burnout
– The mind game Mike played with himself to assure a sub-12 Ironman

*** And here’s a great recap from Coach Robbie from his day as a spectator/coach for my first Ironman at Wisconsin.

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From Couch to Sub-12 Ironman at 50

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