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Coaches Blog

When You Don't Succeed--An athlete's reflection

As I read a recent Team MPI newsletter, it occurred to me that we do not often read about our unsuccessful attempts at accomplishing the goals we set. For background, in January 2020, with a move north to the Boston area from New Jersey, I decided it was time to change my endurance training to work on fulfilling a dream that I had since doing my first marathon in 1994.

I had watched the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona. I was fascinated with the endurance it would take to do this. Making it a reality started by finding a coach. I met Gregg Edelstein in January 2020, and I began my journey.

Of course, we didn't know that 2020 would be a wash for competitions, but I completed my first IRONMAN 70.3 in June 2021 and my second in August 2021, followed a week later by placing second in my age group in the Olympic Length Boston Triathlon.

I ran the 50th NYC Marathon in November. Then I turned my focus to my 2022 training year that would culminate with my first IRONMAN – IRONMAN Arizona, November 20, 2022, at age 69.

What I learned in training and in attempting my first IRONMAN is invaluable. When I ran marathons when someone asked the time I expected to run in, I would say I had three times: There was the realistic time, the OK time, and the dream time.

The dream time was my goal in training for my first IRONMAN – finishing! I got used to waking up at 3:00 am to get in 6 hours on the bike - 3 hours before work and 3 hours during the day. I learned that when you really want to accomplish a goal, there are no obstacles and no compromises.

In June, I had an excellent 70.3 in Maryland, preparing for Arizona and improving my time from the previous year. I had the confidence, and Gregg assured me I had the endurance to

meet the challenge of Ironman Arizona.

So, when Gregg and my wife, Mindy, met me at mile 16 of the run at IRONMAN Arizona, Gregg said: "I have good news, and I have bad news." I asked for the bad

news first: "You have a DNF." I was surprised, but Gregg explained that I had 10 hours

and 10 minutes from my swim start to finishing the bike. I finished at 10:15. I was certainly disappointed but then thought this was my:

F – First




What I learned:

1. I could complete an Ironman.

2. I need to swim in warmer water (my transition time between swim and bike was 36

minutes and I started the bike ride with an empty stomach)

3. I need to consume more calories more often.

4. I need to increase my leg strength with more consistent weight training during the winter to ride faster.

We all dissect each of our races and, even if we're successful, think of small ways to improve. I had the great experience of learning about doing an IRONMAN firsthand. As my high school senior English teacher told me – not all knowledge can be found in books. So, never look at your attempts as failures, but look at them as first attempts in learning.

Noel Meltzer

Bound for Ironman Wisconsin 2023


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