Monday, April 27, 2009

Marc Herremans

Ironman is such an incredible event, in large part because of all the amazing stories - almost the to the point of being unbelievable - that come from it.

I was watching an old NBC recap of the 2002 IM Championship over the weekend, and was reminded of Marc Herremans's story. Marc was a professional triathlete from Belgium, who finished sixth at the 2001 IM Championships, and had high hopes of someday winning the event (He had finished fourth at IM Australia earlier that year). Sadly, just three months after that race, while training in the Canary Islands, Marc crashed his bike and landed on some rocks, breaking his back. He was paralyzed from the chest down. Undaunted, Marc trained throughout 2002 for a return trip to Kona, this time to compete in the wheelchair division. He started that race, just 10 months after his accident, but was unable to finish. In 2006, Marc not only finished, but won the wheelchair division of that year's IM World Championship.

It's really an incredible story, and my re-telling of it here doesn't do it justice, but this is just one example of many where people have shown an incredible amount of resolve and determination in the context of an athletic event. There are, no doubt, similar stories throughout the world of sport, but considering how difficult an IM is for a Regular Joe, these stories always seem to put IM racing apart in my mind as something completely distinct from any other physical endeavor. If you've done one, you know this, and if you haven't yet, you will. It's truly something special.

Anywho, we had a great weekend of training:

- Saturday was a 90-minute run. I probably took it a little bit too hard (about an 8:15 pace for most of it), and it was warmer than I anticipated, so I was pretty tuckered out at the end.

- Sunday we rode 60 miles up to Highland Park and back. I put the new ride together, and, after making a few mechanical tweaks, everything felt great. Cath killed the pace on the way up, and I was hurting by the time we stopped for coffee, but felt great on the way back (even through the waves of thunderstorms that blew through). It felt nice to leave the trainer in the closet and get some "real" miles in. I need to work on the nutrition plan, though - I burned through my breakfast (PBJ on a wheat tortilla) well before we hit the turnaround, and the Infinit alone wasn't enough. I was way hungry by the time we stopped, but, luckily, the coffee and lemon loaf (thanks Starbucks!) totally did the trick. I either need a bigger brekky, or take in a gel or two earlier in the ride. Hmmm....

So, welcome to week 11 - today's a rest day, which I'm totally embracing. Hope everyone a great week of training.

1 comment:

  1. Marc Herramens' story is one of the many that brought me to tears watching Kona. I have that one on DVR and find it really inspiring. It is pretty incredible and I can't wait to experience it for myself.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who drinks coffee in the middle of a long ride :) Try some gels. I have one 30 minutes in and then roughly every hour and never get hungry anymore.