Kristen Lodge: How to be a member of the super fit club
Grand County, CO Colorado
In the last 365 days, Kirk Oldham logged more than 4,000 miles on his bike, ran more than 700 miles, swam more than 170 miles, totaling some 500 hours of training. These statistics bring him to this weekend: his 3rd Ironman race.
In August 2008, he crossed his first Ironman finish line in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2009, he raced Ironman Coeur d’Alene; this weekend will be his second time on the Coeur d’Alene course. As you read this, Kirk will be doing short swim-bike-run workouts and preparing mentally for Sunday’s race: 2.4 mile swim in Lake Coeur d’Alene, 112 mile bike through the Idaho countryside. and finishing with a marathon.
As we sit in Java Lava, drinking coffee, I ask him: Why Ironman? What motivates you day in and day out to race what some athletes call one of the most grueling endurance event?
“Training and racing Ironman has to do with desire and dedication. It is what attracts people to it. It’s not something you decide at the last minute. You have to plan. Now that I’ve been into it for four years, I’m just now starting to feel like I have a good base. If I don’t get in a long run or 2 or 3 hour workout, I go through withdrawal.”
“The logistics of competing in three disciplines requires planning and concentration. There are so many facets to racing well. It’s more than just swim, bike, run. It’s the complexity of doing them after each other and doing it at a level of intensity and pushing yourself fast enough to be competitive and not blowing up.”
He has a coach to create a training plan: “I have a career and other interests, so when I train I have to train smart and efficiently. I didn’t have time to figure out all the aspects of training. I have a great coach who creates a focused training plan.”
Competing in Ironman races is one way to tests his training and lifestyle against some of the best athletes in the world – and “to see how I stack up”.
At the end of the day, he says it’s all about learning balance and living a healthy lifestyle.
“I love being part of the super fit club. I get energy from being around people with an active lifestyle. Some athletes do an Ironman and then they’re done. There are others who continue on and it becomes their lifestyle; it’s my lifestyle.”
On Sunday, June 27 Kirk will cross his 3rd Ironman Finish line. And if that’s not enough, he competes in Ironman Arizona in November. Will all the solitary hours biking and running and hundreds of laps at the YMCA pool give him an added advantage against other athletes in the country?
Maybe just being out there surrounded by like minded athletes is enough.
As a Grand County resident who is passionate about endurance sports, Kirk hopes to motivate others to obtain their goals: “It doesn’t have to be Ironman; it can be mountain biking, running a 5k, hiking 14,000 footers, or excelling at work or school.”
We are finished our coffee, and he looks at the engraving on his Road ID: “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”
Words to live by; words to race by.
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