The Wussification of Ironman

I haven't written much lately. The training is going well, but the SD 100 is approaching too fast.

I had some friends race Ironman St. George a couple weekends ago. One didn't make the swim cut-off and the others that finished talked about what a hard race it was and their times reflected it, finishing an hour or two slower than I'm sure they would have on a faster course, or in better conditions. Ironman has had trouble with the conditions of St. George in the past...rain, heavy winds, heat, cold. I guess St. George in May is just unpredictable. It's a tough course, too. The bike course is one of the most difficult among Ironman-branded races, and the run, which was changed this year to an easier 3-loop course, used to be difficult as well. It's a tough race, worthy of the "Iron" name, or at least it was before the WTC decided that this year was the last year of Ironman St. George. Next year it will be a 70.3 (Half Ironman), and if that doesn't sell out, they will probably scrap the race all together.

Wait, isn't Ironman supposed to be hard? Wasn't the initial draw of Kona to test your mental and physical limits against the course, against trained and hardened competition, against the winds, the humidity, the heat and whatever nature decided to throw at you on race day?

You hear a lot of talk about fast courses, or great PR courses, and I really have no interest in doing one of these. If I'm going to do another Ironman, it would be something like St. George, or Silverman Triathlon in Nevada. Unfortunately, neither of these races exist anymore, probably due to the shift in the triathlon market from tough and gritty to shaved, carbonized, and fashionable. I have way more respect for someone who tried IM St. George and failed to make it out of the swim on time due to the wind and waves than for someone who threw down a fast time on a flat, multi-looped course. Is there anything worse than an Ironman race with a multi-looped marathon around city streets in the hopes of avoiding a steep grade or a remote area outside of town?

I get that Ironman is a brand run by a for profit corporation, and that they are doing what is best for their bottom line, but they will not be making any more money off of me. I'll stick to the races where 30-40 percent of the people will drop, and where I know I will have to train my ass off and fight some internal demons just in order to finish.

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