Is deciding on a goal finishing time for an Ironman race taboo? Maybe. Is deciding on a goal finishing time for your first Ironman race taboo? Probably. There's just so many variables involved with a full day of racing, it's hard to predict. You could absolutely base your goals off of how you have been performing during training, and maybe you have done a half iron-distance to use as a gauge. But it's still a tough thing to do. Just about everyone I spoke to before my first Ironman said to not worry about the clock, and just enjoy the day.
Now that I have done 5 Ironman events, I at least have a few bench marks to go from. My last Ironman race I was able to achieve an 11:26:22. This was at Coeur d'Alene too, so I'm hoping that on a flatter course, I will be able to have an improved bike and run time. The swim is a sensitive subject for me, because I just pretty much suck at it.
After taking some online calculus courses, and concocting a highly accurate equation, I have been able to come up with my goal time. Now keep in mind that this time is assuming that everyone goes as to planned, and that the weather is wonderful, and I have a jet pack strapped to the back of my bike. Ok, maybe no jet pack. My goal time is going to be 9 hours and 45 minutes. Let me break down my time goals so that this makes sense.
For the swim, I am always slow. I didn't look at my exact times, but I think I've always been between 1:15 and 1:25. So, I'm hoping for the shorter end of that spectrum and am shooting for 1:15. On the bike, I am really going to try and put in some serious work and get a little faster. I believe I finished the bike portion in my last IMAZ race in about 5:45is, so if I get serious about my training, I am hoping for about 5:30 on the bike. Then comes the run. I just set a PR in a stand-alone marathon earlier this year, with a time of 3:05:23. I don't expect that to translate straight over to the Ironman, but I am hoping for somewhere around 3:45. Add to all of that about 15 minutes for transition and other variables and you get my goal time of 9 hours and 45 minutes. Oh, wait. Did I say 9 hours and 45 minutes? Crap. I had my shoes on when I was trying to count. I guess that actually comes out to 11 hours. Sorry for the confusion!
So yes, my goal time for this year's Ironman Arizona is going to be 11 hours. Do I think it's possible? I would absolutely love to finish in 11 hours, so I hope so! But it really all depends on my training, so if I don't do it, I can only blame myself.