It Begins

It is Friday night. It's 10:11 p.m. I'm in my bed, blogging. Most people are getting ready to go out for a night on the town. I'm 35 and not yet married, living 20 minutes from Hollywood. I should probably be doing the same.

Instead, I'm on the verge of sleep so I can get up early tomorrow to run 10-12 miles. After cycling 50 today from Agoura to Malibu by way of Westlake, Newbury Park, and PCH (where the image above was taken by fellow triathlete and all-around fantastic human being, Anat). After cycling 20 yesterday, on Thanksgiving, and cross training with my personal trainer and friend, Shannon, the day before that.

It's all with a bigger goal in mind. One in particular. What business author Tom Peters calls a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal, or B.H.A.G.


Just typing those words makes my stomach churn just a bit. I was one of the lucky (crazy?) folks able to register for Ironman Arizona 2010 before it sold out in 25 minutes. And since this past Monday at 11 a.m. Pacific time, I've been wondering if I made the right decision.

I thought I was in good shape, until Wednesday night. That's when I met Gerrardo, my new triathlon coach. I've competed in seven triathlons so far, including three Olympic distance events. I typically finish as high as top 10% to 50% of the field. I train six days a week, up to 10-12 hours per week. But Gerrardo indicated that my training will need to increase substantially over the next year, as in closer to 20 hours a week by this summer. And, I'll need a new triathlon bike as well...this after I bought a 2008 Colnago Extreme Power earlier this year thinking it would be the last bike I'd ever have to buy. Fail.

(Nobody told me in advance that this sport is such a money pit!)

Yet I can't get enough. I'm compelled to rise out of bed early each morning to push myself harder than the day before, just by a little bit. But I often do it by myself, running lonely streets, swimming solitary laps and going on long bike rides with a handful of training partners.

That's where I hope you come in. Am I doing this alone? Am I the lone Iron(mad)man out there? Am I the only one wondering every morning "Why the hell am I getting out of a perfectly warm bed to beat myself up before (and sometimes after) work?"

I'm looking forward to chronicling this journey towards Ironman 2010. I want to capture those lonely training sessions, the quiet milestones checked off the list, the tune-up events, the lapses and maybe even a podium finish (or two?). I want to have something tangible at the end of the finish line on November 21, 2010 besides the obvious finishers medal, jersey, photos, etc.

I want to relive the memories one day. I want to show my kids (when I have them!) what can be accomplished if you put your mind, body and spirit into something that seems impossible. A B.H.A.G. I hope I inspire others to accomplish their own big-ass goals. And I want to share the experience with anyone who might be mad enough to come along for the ride.

I'm Ryan Schneider. I'm the Iron(mad) training.

360 days and counting.

PS: I'm waiting for a more official website to be built, so this will be my temporary home until then. I'll keep y'all posted with details. I also have a nifty logo that I'll be sharing shortly, thanks to my buddy and amazing web developer/user experience guru, Ward.