Colleen Wilcox Conquers the Double Anvil
In March 2015 we travelled to Tampa to crew for Danielle’s boyfriend David while he returned again to do the Florida Double. It was an amazing, awe-inspiring event and I knew I wanted to push my boundaries and go for it in 2016.
Have you completed any Ironman distance races?
I have done IMAZ each year since 2013, then in July 2015 I did IM Whistler.
Did you have any doubts about completing the distance?
I was confident that I would train my mind and body to complete the full 281.2, but I didn’t think I could do so before the 36 hour time limit ran out. I say that because in January I had done an UltraRun and it took me 17 hours to do a little more than a double marathon – and that was without having “warmed up” with a 4.8 mile swim and 224 bike like I would be doing during the Double.
I was really enjoying myself almost the entire time, and when I wasn’t I kept reminding myself that my mood was like the weather in Florida – wait a few minutes and it will change J.
How did you manage to stay focused during the race?
I knew that I needed to get out of my head and out of my own way if I was going to be able to do this – so my mantra was “Don’t think about this lap, don’t think about this mile, focus on this moment”.
So much of this training seemed to be about developing the ability to recover rapidly and repeatedly. The workouts were longer and there were few true rest days. There were times when I was thinking “geez, we just rode 100+ miles yesterday and now I have to go out for a long run today?!?!” but it totally makes sense … since so much of the Double would be done in a fatigued state I needed to learn how to keep moving forward even when I was feeling worn out.
How did you balance your career and training?
Timing with this race and turmoil at work was unfortunate. We were going through a lot of transition so I didn’t always have the ability to get out of work at a reasonable time in the evening. Knowing that my evening schedule was unpredictable (and I am not a night person anyway) I preferred to do my training in the morning instead of feeling the pressure during the day to get my work done so I could go get my workout done afterwards. But when the workout is 2 or 2 and half hours, and you work in construction and need to be heading to work by 7am (oh, and everybody would really appreciate it if I showered) I was typically up at 4am. I was fortunate to have some flexibility periodically, but what really ended up happening was that household stuff (grocery shopping, laundry, etc.) stopped getting done a regular basis. I was so fortunate that my husband, John, was totally on board and supportive. Often times when he left work he would head home and cook dinner so it was ready whenever I got there and I could go straight to bed after eating.
The people who do Ultra’s along with the people who support them are an incredible, inspiring, welcoming and supportive group. I think that energy is addicting. Oh – and they offer the Double as a Tag Team Relay (you don’t select a single athlete per discipline, but are free to swap in/out at any lap) – a totally fun way to dip your toe in the Double pool and see how wonderful it is J