4,223 Yards…Oh My!!

4,223 Yards…Oh My!!

IM Wisc swim startby Coach Suzy

My alarm went off at 4 AM yesterday. After fumbling to hit the snooze button, I said, “Oh my God, what day is it?” He answered, “It doesn’t matter what day it is…you’re Ironman training…get your a#* out of bed!” Well, I guess that puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?! 🙂

My workouts are definitely getting more plentiful and longer, and this has been particularly apparent to me on my swims. As a person who learned how to swim as an adult in order to compete in triathlon, swimming has never been my strong suit.

As I was logging a recent 2,000+ yard swim workout into our online training system, I was not only reflecting on how far I’ve come (swimming 1,000 yards in an hour used to seem like a big accomplishment), but for the first time, I thought about just how LONG is that Ironman swim, and how long do I have to do it!? Almost as quickly as I hit the ‘Save’ button, Coach Joe answered me: 4,223 yards, and I have 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete it. 4,223 yards?!?! Oh my!!

Many years have passed since swimming 1,000 yards in an hour seemed like a big accomplishment, and things have definitely gotten better in the water. My swim improved enough that I got through my first Half Ironman swim in Racine fairly easily. As intimidated as I was by the sheer magnitude of that swim course, I just took it easy (after all, the swim is the warm up, right?!), put myself at the back of the pack, and swam a little bit wide of the group, following the buoy line on my right (perfect for me since I breathe right). The 1.2 mile swim was uneventful (just the way I wanted it), but I do remember thinking, “is this swim EVER going to end?!”

So, now as I look ahead toward my 4,223 yard Ironman Wisconsin swim on September 8th (and all my training swims that will get me there!), I think I’ll take the advice that Dory gives Nemo in Finding Nemo:

“When life gets you down you know what you gotta do…JUST KEEP SWIMMING!!” 🙂

“Believe” by Staind

It’s my life
It’s my choice
Hear my words
Hear my voice
And just believe in me
Cause I was made for chasing dreams

My 2013 Ironman Journey Articles by Coach Suzy:

8 months and 8 days

4,223 Yards..Oh My!!

The Hard is What Makes It Great

What a Ride

Becoming 140.6 Mile Suzy

All You Have To Do Is Choose

Suzy Cerra is a USAT certified Triathlon Coach with Experience Triathlon.   As leaders in the endurance services industry, Coach Suzy and the Experience Triathlon staff help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life.  Learn more about Coach Suzy and Experience Triathlon at www.experiencetriathlon.com.


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  • Drew Repoza

    Suzy, I never realized you also learned to swim as an adult. I just figured you had always swam! This gives me hope that I, too, can make the jump to those giant distances. Good luck with your training, we’re all excited for your journey 🙂

    • Yep, I’m just like you, Drew!!! 🙂

  • Jim R

    Suzy, With a lot of training ahead you’ll have a few very close friends this year to get you through. I look forward to sharing the journey towards hearing those special words “you are an Ironman” and since we’re quoting songs here is one from the Beatles “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends”

  • Kendra

    You are so awesome!! Good luck with your training this year!!

  • Ha!! I didn’t think you’d turn that into a blog story. 🙂 Yes, the days of an Ironman athlete ALWAYS start before the sun comes up. It’s just part of the drill (pun intended). The swim workouts ARE long, but they become a great time of silence in an often chaotic lifestyle of a long distance athlete to reflect on the path ahead. Thanks for sharing your journey. Love that song by Staind. Keep it rollin’ baby. You’re doing great so far!!

    • As soon as you said it I knew it had to be the opening of my next blog story! 🙂

  • Sarah F

    Gosh, Suzy…..you won’t EVER be able to skip a workout with your Ironman training because your coach will ALWAYS know!!!! 😉

  • Steve S

    Bonus points for referencing Nemo and Staind back to back…..never seen that done before! Nice job, Suzy.

  • Cathy Obordo

    Remember Suzy….just one stroke at a time and you’ll get it done! Looking forward to spending some quality swim time with you soon. :))

  • Cathy B

    What? You are like me!! I didn’t realize you learned to swim as an adult..woo hoo for us late starters! You will be fine at IM swim (1st of all, you have an amazing swim coach!!)…if I can do it, you most certainly can. (Although, yes, at times you WILL wonder…when will this swim end?) And then it’s over…