Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Gregg Kobelski, Clinical Research Assistant
This past year I took on the challenge of training for and running the longest race of my life. After graduating from college, I was bored coming home from work every day, having nothing to train for. As a former college football player, I was always super busy during the week with practice and class. With all this extra time, I wanted to challenge myself so I signed up for a race that involved 2.4 miles of swimming, 114 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running to make things difficult. Though training for this race was a fantastic experience itself, I am going to share with you the 5 best moments of my 15-hour workout.
1. THE SWIM WAS RELAXING. After a weekend of drinking tons of water (with electrolytes), carb loading, and sleeping as much as possible, I was excited and ready to take on the race at 4am on Sunday. However, I didn’t actually start until about 6:30am. These two and a half hours were extremely nerve-racking…
Why the heck did I sign up for this thing?
Will I be able to finish?
Did I eat/sleep/train enough?
I couldn’t stop asking myself if I was really ready. All that finally went away when I got in the water. At that time all I could hear was a little splashing so I got into a rhythm and began to relax. After a little over an hour, I was out of the water and feeling confident.
2. THE VOLUNTEERS WERE AMAZING! If I didn’t believe in myself after leaving the water, I sure did after leaving for the bike! There were hundreds of volunteers cheering and helping direct me. One even told me to lie down so they could help me take off my wetsuit! Things got even better after the bike. I was a little tired at that point, but I knew I had a lot of support when two gloved volunteers slathered me with a pound of sunscreen. I may not have looked amazing, but I definitely felt that the people around me wanted me to make it to that finish line in the best shape possible.
3. EVERYONE RACING IS YOUR FRIEND. As I took off to run the marathon after biking for seven and a half hours, I had some doubts but those quickly went away after talking to some seasoned racers. Due to cramping, I needed to walk for portions of the marathon. Every time I did, I was able to talk to the competition (except when you’re running an Ironman, the only real competition is yourself). They couldn’t have been more supportive. I was even able to join a couple different people and we would motivate each other to run longer before taking a walk break! 4. THE FINISH LINE IS INDESCRIBABLE! After about 15 hours of continually moving, I was almost there. Though my whole body was sore at this point, I had never felt so inspired. I had never worked this hard for so long in my entire life. Football games were never more than five hours, I could always take a study break in college, but this was something else. I was pushing myself hard for longer than I ever had before. Knowing that and seeing my family cheer for me brought tears to my eyes! As I jogged the last stretch covered in red carpet, I spread my arms like an airplane and ran to both sides of the road, giving people high-fives. And then it happened, then announcer enthusiastically yelled: “Gregg Kobelski, you are an Ironman!”
5. I'VE NEVER SLEPT BETTER. Though I was filled with excitement just 20 minutes earlier, all the soreness came back, and I realized I was exhausted. I hobbled back to the hotel room with my arms around my dad and my sister, quickly rinsed off in the shower, and crawled into bed. I fell asleep within seconds, and though I didn’t dream, it was one of the best nights of sleep I had ever had.
Although it wasn’t easy, I woke up the next morning and thought about immediately signing up for next year. It’s hard to explain why, but July 28th, 2019, was one of the best days of my life.