I've wanted to do an Ironman (or the distance at least - I don't care about who organizes the race) since completing my first sprint triathlon a few years ago, but between being pregnant and having a baby who nursed every two hours it just hasn't been possible. Since Jack hit six months and has been sleeping through the night (sometimes!) and much less dependent, I've found the time to really start putting in mileage (I've averaged 40 running miles/ week since Christmas) and I think now is the time.
So the first question is, which one? Since I'd like much of my peak training to be in the summer (I am a teacher so I have my summers off) the best option would be anywhere from late August to October. That leaves Ironman Louisville, Rev3 Cedar Point (Sandusky OH), ChesapeakeMan(Cambridge MD), and Bridge2Battleship (Wilmington NC.)
Ironman Louisville looks like a good race but like all WTC series races the fee is very steep -- about $650. Definitely won't be wetsuit legal. And the weather could be sweltering. Granted I'll be training in DC all summer so will be used to sweltering, but it still makes me nervous. It's also the furthest away. The good news is I wouldn't need to miss any teaching days, and I could do my heaviest training in July when I'll be off work. Travel costs would be considerably low since we'd probably just overlap it with our trip out to Indy -- we have to go there to drop off Susanna for her week with my parents anyhow. The other good news is that it would give me time to recover for fall marathon season, and I was planning on running the Indianpolis Monumental Marathon in November.
Rev3 Cedar Point will be a good race as well I am sure. I did the half their inagural year and it was fantastic. The cost is about $550 and there is also a sprint on Saturday that Jamie could do. The biggest con is the date -- it is the Sunday after we start teaching. Which means I'd have to miss the following Monday and possible the Friday (although last time I just drive down Friday night right after school -- arrived about 11pm.) Susie and Jack could enjoy the amusement park with us when we are not racing. Training-wise, though, it's a good date -- once again the majority of the training could take place in July.
ChesapeakeMan is the last week of September -- perfect timing as the peak training month would be August. It is the closest race to me -- less than a two hour drive -- and did get good reviews. My fears are the actual race course. I've heard that the jellyfish can be bad, the bike is windy enough to make up for the lack of hills, and the run is very lonely. It's a very small race compared to the other three I'm looking at. It also has the lowest race entry fee. Quite honestly, though, it's the race that excites me the least.
Finally Bridge 2 Battleship in North Carolina is towards the end of October. The date presents a few problems. It involves peak training month to be in September right when I've returned to teaching. I'm not sure I can handle 17+ hour workout weeks at that time. Secondly my brother is getting married sometime in the fall and hasn't chosen a date. If he chooses somewhere around that weekend it could mean a lot of missed work and travel costs. Also the weather is iffy -- apparently last year the course was freezing. I don't mind cold runs but I'm not really into the freezing swims or bikes. On the positive side, it's a nice midsize race that has gotten great reviews and the registration cost is reasonable at $450. The course is supposed to be flat and it it is point to point rather than loops. And the drive is only about 6-7 hours.
These are all races I might like to do someday, but for my first 140.6 I'd like to choose the race that will be the most rewarding all around. I need to make a decision soon as some of the races are getting close to capacity. All comments welcome!