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  • Jade Elkind

Jumping Into A Full Ironman As My First Triathlon: What I Learned From IM TX

First, here's a little backstory:

I signed up for IM TX last May, having never done a triathlon. What spurred this rash decision was that I decided to run 13.1 miles one day by myself. Just because. My ankles were pissed. But despite that, I thought "Wow, I just ran a half marathon!" I remember thinking that 8 miles was impossible, and I had just done over 13!

It took me about 3 hours and 15 minutes but hey, who's counting?

It was an exhilarating experience!


So obviously . . . the most logical decision was to sign up for a full Ironman: 2.4 mile swim, followed immediately by a 112 mile bike ride, and a full 26.2 marathon miles of pounding concrete. Awesome. My gut and wallet gave me the silent treatment for the entire evening. They weren't thrilled with the decision.

I also didn't own a bike, nor did I have a swimming or running background minus splashing in a pond when I was a kid and doing some 3 mile runs as a part of a gym workout. Oh, and let's not forget that spur-of-the-moment half marathon. I figured:

"WHAT-EVERR!! I'll find a bike somewhere . . ."

"I'll learn how to swim . . ."

"Running is putting one foot in front of the other and if I can't, I can always crawl. That would probably be more aerodynamic anyway."

Needless to say, I jumped into the longest triathlon in the world pretty bare-boned as far as experience and equipment goes, and of course, I had to tell people about it because let's face it, It's not official unless you tell everyone about it. Duh.

So I started telling friends, family, and patients, and here are some of the responses:

"Jade, why are you doing this?"

"You're crazy."

"Have you ever even run a marathon, before?"

"Have you even done a bike race, before?"


"People spend years training for those. You're going to die."

And then there were the people that said nothing and just shook their heads.

Whoaaa, make way for the doubters on da flooooorrr!!!!

Well, fast forward to April 22, 2023. Jade Elkind crosses the finish line and becomes an Ironman!!!

So, what did I learn from this journey that I will be able to take with me for the rest of my life and hopefully use to inspire others?

Here are some of the lessons that I learned from my Ironman journey:

1. You get a really cool belt buckle.

This is absolutely true with Ironman Texas. They give you a belt buckle which I consider awesome! I love wearing belts. I'm so wearing the sh** out of this belt buckle! You can think whatever you want about Texas, but this is awesome.

2. Doubters are doubtful because they don't believe that they can do it, themselves.

  • Obviously, I had some doubters, but if you put in the work to make your dreams happen, then you know it's possible, even if it seemed impossible before you started! Doubters are limited by their own self doubt and fears. Don't let their insecurities put you down.

3. It's more simple than you think.

  • Time, consistency, and discipline. Yes, it's a big ass triathlon and there are many hours of training. It takes time, but keep at it! It won't happen overnight and that's okay. I gave myself 11 months because I wanted to learn and be prepared as much as possible. Everything from your workouts to getting all of your gear is simple when it's broken down into executable, simplified steps. It's a lot, but it's really not complicated. One step and stroke in front of the other. . .

  • DO, however, talk it over with your spouse. It is a BIG time commitment.

4. Consider getting a coach.

  • Soooo, I actually panicked in a three foot pool not long after I signed up. I was getting splashed on, and panicked. TRUE. STORY. Figured that getting a swim coach was a good idea since I'd probably get splashed on a little bit during an open water swim with over 2,000 participants. Just sayin'.

  • This was one of the best decisions I made as far as my training, goes. I love to learn, and I actually learned how to swim so that I was no longer performing "controlled drowning prevention." Fancy that! It made the entire experience wayyy less stressful and so much more rewarding. I was seeing progress! Check out triathlon and run coach, Scott Young with Trimaker. He worked with me to structure my plan so that I was ready on race day!

5. An awesome support system makes all the difference.

  • I am very fortunate to have had people around me and even patients who backed me up and were super excited for me. I think they were more excited for the IM during the weeks leading up to the race than I was! In my defense, I was undergoing my peak training so I didn't have much energy to be excited. That's probably why they make energy gels: because you're so exhausted that you don't even have the energy to chew anything.

  • You will have doubters. They are everywhere. Some people are just like that because of their own insecurities and fears. Either way, don't make their problem your problem. It's like Bon Jovi says: "It's my liiiiiiiiife . . . .!"

6. Just do it. - Nike

  • I'll admit that I am more of an Under Armour and Addidas girl, but Nike really hits it right on the head. Too often, we get in our own way. We're held back because we're scared of something.

"People are going to judge me!"

"I'm going to die in the swim! (Read my recent blog about how I panicked in a three foot pool if you're scared of the water. You can get over it. Trust me).

"I might not finish."

  • Whatever! Seriously, worrying about what other people think is just a waste of energy that can be put towards kicking ass towards your goals. Plus, the good people in your life aren't going to judge you. Just sign up for the thing if it's something you want to do! Get out of your own way so you can do your best to get to the finish. If you sit there, blocking yourself because of your excuses, then obviously you'll be going nowhere.

7. Do it for the experience. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to be "perfect."

  • Okay, if you're a pro, then that's probably a different story. I guess you can skip this part. But for the mortals like myself, do it for the experience. I do it because I like pushing myself and doing hard things. To me, it creates growth. I know that I am not super fast at anything, but I went into IM TX so happy to be there. I didn't feel like I needed to prove anything. I just wanted another experience to add to my life story to make me a better human being. Even if that squirrel had, indeed, taken me out on my bike (yes, a squirrel did come out of nowhere and hit my back tire) it would've sucked but let's face it, it would have been an interesting story lol!

  • I enjoyed it. Mile 17 - 26.2 of the run was hard, but let's face it. It's an Ironman for God's sake. Not a cushion-man. So there were definitely ups and downs and it was difficult, but that's also makes life more interesting and builds character, wouldn't you say?

8. Last one . . .

  • Time waits for no one. If you remember one thing, remember this.

This has nothing to do with how long it takes to complete the race. THIS IS ABOUT LIFE AND WHAT YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF IT.

I am currently 35 years old (yes . . . I know I look like someone just out of college) so people always tell me things like:

"You're still young," or

"It must be nice, being young,"

or my favorite:

"Jade, you have your whole life ahead of you."

Well, I tend to disagree with the whole "you're young, therefore you have many, many, more years to live and you won't die until you're old" belief.

Nothing is guaranteed in life, especially more time.

And time is something we can never get back. Yes, it's cliché but also very true.

It goes back to #6. Seriously. Just do the thing.

Live a good life without regrets. Pursue your dreams. Even if they don't come to fruition, at least you know that you did the best you could with what you had and knew at the time. You'll always be learning and growing.

And don't forget to support others. The ride is a lot better when you're not alone.

So with all of that being said, here we go onto Ironman California, October 22, 2023!!

Clinch your goals y'all!!

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