Andrew Raynor Dover New Hampshire NH

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The Decision To Race Ironman – Countdown Day 7

Andrew Raynor Dover

By Mike Tarrolly for Crushing Iron

The time has come for me to make a decision about doing an Ironman this year. I did Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga 3 weeks ago and still have the fitness to turn it up, but how bad do I want it?

My decision to make “The Decision” came on the heels of a powerful podcast about “Finding and Keeping Your Why.” It was generated in large part by our athletes who contributed many good reasons, but one of the main things on my mind these days is doing something hard because it changes you.

This would be my 6th Ironman in as many years and there is a big part of me that would like to keep that streak alive. It’s not everything, but it’s certainly an accomplishment and if I want to do something very hard once a year, I don’t know what else that would be now. 

I’ve narrowed my choices to three races: Wisconsin, Louisville, and Chattanooga. There are many reasons, but mainly it’s because I’m familiar, they are all convenient and solid downtown locations, and I’ll have many friends at each.

I’ve decided to start this exploration with a list of pros and cons for each race.


Ironman Wisconsin 

  • My favorite course
  • Unbelievable crowd support
  • One of my favorite cities in the world
  • Close to parents and where I grew up (post-race cottage)
  • Wisconsin weather in September

Ironman Louisville

  • Easy to get to
  • I love the city
  • Friends to stay with on Thursday and Monday
  • Cool temps/wetsuit swim
  • Finish Line (but I think Wisconsin is better)


  • Easy to get to
  • I love the city
  • Tough Run Course
  • Only done it once (others twice)
  • Great fan support on the run course


Ironman Wisconsin 

  • Long Drive (Though I’ll be there either way)
  • No more mass start swim
  • Most expensive hotels
  • Toughest Swim
  • Toughest bike

Ironman Louisville 

  • The flat run course has been brutal to me both times
  • Very tough bike
  • Long walk from Finish to transition
  • Could be pretty cold

Ironman Chattanooga

  • Tough Run
  • Temps have been very hot last two years
  • It’s already my Ironman PR course
  • Little Debbie logo on shirts 🙂

The other option, of course, is no long course race at all. 

Pros of NOT racing a Full

  • I’ll bank many hours of training time
  • Less of a life burden hanging over me
  • Possibly more energy for other things
  • Home Improvements are more likely
  • Lawn mowed is more likely

Cons of not Racing a Full

  • I could go down a bad road of health and fitness
  • I won’t have something to shoot for that keeps me on point
  • Possibly less energy for other things
  • Less fodder for Crushing Iron and the podcast
  • Regret

This week will be a serious time of reflection, and I’m honestly trying to keep all options equally open. The key element (as you will see in these detailed graphs) is that, if anything, I am probably leaning a little bit toward racing vs. not. 

It’s really going to come down to how I feel after some consistent working out. The biggest goal I have is to run a solid marathon. So for the next week (It started a few days ago) I will continue to put time on my legs. Maybe not long runs, but consistent runs off the roller blades and bike. Yes, I said roller blades, which can honestly be given most of the credit for why I’m even considering a Full. They are my go-to exercise when I’m not feeling like doing anything else and they have reminded me how good they are for the core, balance, and general “feeling good” after a workout. I’ve been working out in the hottest part of the day and loving it, so all signs are good at the moment, but at my age, things can change quickly.

Thanks for checking in.

Have YOU been thinking about an Ironman, half or any kind of triathlon, but don’t know how to start, please consider us for coaching. We’ve been through most every situation regarding this sport, including starting from scratch. We’ve also taken athletes from their “stuck point” and helped get them on the Ironman podium. We love working with beginners and athletes that want to push it to the next level. Check out our coaching page for more information, including philosophy and pricing.

All 170 podcast can be found on iTunes or on our podcast page.

You can always support The Crushing Iron podcast by making a small pledge here.

Andy Raynor Dover

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