I started this post thinking about my toughest races and events and then more lists came to mind, so read on and enjoy. Let me know what your toughest/hardest events were.
After completing Ironman Wisconsin in September, a lot of people would ask how tough was it? My response is that it was a long day with filled with many emotions, thrill to start, some nervousness, some nausea, a couple of rough patches, and then a joy to finish! I think with any race or even I've completed, it all comes down to the training for how you will fill for an event. If you undertrain, the event will be much tougher and you will not like it as much. If you put in the work, then everything should go smoothly. Of course, weather, body, etc, could change that. So below, I'll give you list of my "toughest" races. I'll put them in a couple of categories because certain factors can play into each.
Toughest races in terms of terrain and length.
1. The Ouachita Challenge - 60 mile mountain bike race - Took me 7.5 hrs, I trained fairly well for this, but since I was still new to MTB it was a very diffcult and long race! Click here for the report.
2. Ironman Wisconsin - I've been racing in tris for 5 years now and all my training came together for this race! It was a day filled with all kinds of emotions and challenges. Click here for the post
3. Ride The Rockies - 6 days, 471 miles, 30,000ft of climbing, awesome bike ride across Colorado. Here is the post
Toughest events, it could be for a variety of factors, such as weather, length, training, etc.
1. The Ouachita Challenge - wins again, the weather was great, but the terrain, length, and some technical sections still help this win the day. Maybe next time, it won't be so hard. They say to train for the race who should ride the course. I think next time I'll take that advice.
2. Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs 2011 - It reached 100 plus during the run and the wind was around 20mph for the ride back into T2. I cramped on the run due to poor nutrition on the bike, actually able to run parts of the second half of the run and crossed the finish line, feeling like I didn't know where I was! Tough race! Read the post here
3. First marathon 2008 NYC Marathon - Being that this was my first time to real train for any bike or run race this has to be on the list. At the time, I didn't know anything really about running or training for a run. I saw my dad complete the 2007 and thought I want to do this. The training was tough and the race was tough also especially since I didn't know what to expect. I find this marathon was much tougher than my Ironman marathon. Both where within one minute of each other.
Now what do you mean by training, I find that training for event is the toughest part of reaching that goal whether to run a marathon, complete a 5k, Ironman, etc. You have to the drive and motivation to complete the workouts needed day after day, week after week to reach your goal.
1. Martial Arts - I've been involved with Grand Master Hans Martial arts since 2006. I've reached the rank of 4th dan black belt. You are constantly learning new stuff and trying to perfect techniques. The training never stops and the next rank takes longer the reach, but you have to continue to have the motivation and the drive to reach that next goal. I'm motivated because I enjoy to train and I know there is always some technique or drill that I need to work on to perform better. Also, it helps to teach and train other students to achieve their goals.
2. Ironman - Swim, bike, run, sleep, rinse and repeat for around 20 weeks. Long rides of 6 hrs, long runs of 2 hrs, long swims, drive to the pool, early mornings, hot days, rainy days, windy days, all reason to bag a workout. It was tough to do week after week. By the end, I was ready for the race and finished with training!
3. Marathon - It was a tough decision between 2/3. I choose 3 because is not as grueling since you can get more off days. However, to run a great a marathon, you need to put in a lot of work and stay injury free. I've never been a fan of the long run, but can get on the bike for hours at time?!
Final List -Events/Goals/Future - There are more but here are a couple.
1. 5th Dan Master Level Black belt - Still years away and lots of hard work
2. Sub 20 5k - Fun fact about me, I've only run one open 5k, I think I avoid them because I won't be able to beat my one time set in 2009.
3. 50/100 mile ultramarthon - yep, sounds tough, intense, and epic. Maybe one day. Great thing about these events is that at least most of trail runs, bad thing is that I would have to do lots of running.