That’s right, I’m scrapping the plan I put in place almost a year ago to do the Florida Ironman this year. The Florida Ironman 2010 in Panama City would have been my first Ironman ever, and I’ve been pretty excited about it, since this was the goal I set when I started doing triathlons back in 2007. While there are personal reasons having to do with simply having too much on my plate and needing to focus, and those reasons may be more than enough by themselves, for the purposes of this blog the one reason I want to talk about is the uncertainty caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Training for an Ironman requires 15-20 hours per week of training (or if not actual training time, then training-related time), maybe more, if you’re slow at the gym like I am and you factor in drive time. It’s an incredible sacrifice not only for the individual, but that individual’s family. Then there is the money involved in getting to the event and back, which is a few grand if you’re taking the whole family as I’ve been planning on doing. For me, to spend upwards of 400 hours on training and a few thousand dollars on travel and lodging, only to end up with the event being postponed or the swim canceled isn’t an endeavor in which I want to participate.
It’s not that the time would be wasted, of course. I’d still have the health benefits of all that training. But I don’t like the uncertainty of not knowing whether the event I’m training for is going to happen. Of course there’s always the risk that an Ironman might be canceled, or that at least the swim portion might be canceled, but generally I’d say that risk is fairly low compared to the risk that Florida Ironman 2010 will be canceled or turned into a duathlon.
As for doing a duathlon, I’m not into it. For me, if I do an Ironman without the swim, it’s not really an Ironman. If I were on the spot and they announced the day of the race that the swim was canceled, I might still participate, even though I wouldn’t go around telling people afterward that I had “Finished an Ironman”. But if I were already there, and had already spent the money and had done the training, then why not at least get a good bike/run brick workout in? But I wouldn’t buy plane tickets to do an Ironman duathlon, even if I had already done the training.
If the folks who run Ironman had already announced a different swim venue, then that might have changed my mind. But with the time having approached for me to start my training in earnest, I feel I need to make a decision one way or the other, and given the uncertainty (and the other personal factors I mentioned at the beginning) I’m deciding to drop out. Perhaps the oil will never hit Panama City, and come November I’ll be thinking “Dang, I could be there right now.” But that really isn’t the point. The point is that right now, in June, I don’t know what’s going to happen, and that’s all I need to know.
Now the question is this–do I get my partial refund now? Do I wait and hope that perhaps they will give full refunds if oil hits the beaches and they cancel the event? Will they postpone the event and give us the option of doing the race in 2011? Does anybody know what they did for participants after the recent cancellation of the Japan Ironman?
What would be really nice would be if they would let me trade my Florida Ironman 2010 registration for the St. George Ironman 2011 in Utah.