msnbc.com
updated 4/7/2005 5:01:09 PM ET 2005-04-07T21:01:09

Here is some of the feedback I've received from Couch Potato to Ironman readers. Thank you again for your kind words, your stern warnings and for taking the time to drop a line. I appreciate it. — Denise

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Today is my first day reading about your training.  I am 16 days away from my second marathon.  You are cracking me up, I thought I was the only runner out there who is so sarcastic about the torture we endure!  Thank you so much for sharing your progress and the things running through your head.  Remember, hills are alot easier to love than hate.  I learned that hard lesson on last weeks long run! — Alicia Judy, Norman, Okla.

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A word from a novice on clip-ins…

They’re great, but if you’re a bit of a klutz (as I still am – even after I got used to them!), be prepared to just fall over.  Like the tricycle rider on Laugh-In, if you don’t get your feet disengaged in exactly the right sequence, you’re locked in and go straight over.  (Stick to the back of the pack – less embarrassing that way.) Good Luck. – Susan Ferrell

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Way to go! I am also in training for my first triathlon. Although not an Ironman in length, it is an Olympic distance triathlon (Memphis in May). I love reading your columns and updates on your training and knowing that there are others out there that are going through all the ups and downs as well.  Like you, I'm also training with a group and would suggest anyone who's thinking about trying this do the same. The support and encouragment you get from a group is invaluable.

Luckily we have a great coach who has done numerous Ironmans herself and she passes on all the information she's learned over the years.  Well, good luck in your continued journey!! Looking forward to your next installment. — Scott, Nashville

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This is exactly what I wanted to read, I've caught up on all your journals as has my team.  We'll be doing our first IM in Canada this year to!  When you find out your bib # you have to let us know.  I understand EVERYTHING your feeling. GREAT JOB and get the clipless pedals! — Joe Zambrano, Pasadeno, Calif.

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The only expalnation for the term "brick" I have found is Bike-Run-ICK.  And you now know why.  Good luck with training. — Patrick Schmidt, Louisville, Ky.

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Just read your article and want to wish you the best of luck and to say that I can identify.  I am a wimpy sprint distance person in my second year but feel a fragment of what you are enduring.  At any given time I am battling shin splints, knee issues and most recently sore hip flexors.  Running part is always the worst part and causes the most

injuries.  My advice to you is not to put that much stock into the marathon.  I agree with you that you should do one in order to get it done but you will put 100 percent of your effort into that single event.  I am just as tired after doing a simple 5K as I am after a triathlon.  Don't think after the marathon, after you are incredibly tired, that you can't do an Ironman — you will adjust your mind set and physical capability to do all three events.  I look forward to reading about your progress — it is a real inspiration. — Eric Fichtel

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I stumbled across your series of articles by accident the other day. I have to admit, I'm hooked now. It's awesome! I'm currently training for my own first triathlon (just an Olympic) and I can relate to each and every sentence you write.  Well, almost... I am a Giants fan... but I just replace “Giants” with “A's” and we're all set!  It's reassuring and pumps me up for my training.

You've added even more motivation and inspiration as we go through the same thing.  My favorite article is the bike buying episode.  It was deja vu all over again.

Any ways, just wanted to let you know you have a new fan.  I'll be eagerly anticipating your next article.  Keep up the good work and good luck throughout your training. — Dave Lee

(Ed. -- I do not discriminate against Giants' fans and other unfortunates, but A's fans will always get a special priority with my responses.)

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I started doing an annual Ironman at age 42 ... and I hate running too!  I use the multisports.com program and I like it because it is clear about what constitutes a minimal level of training vs. training level for “high performance” or elite athletes. My goals for my first Ironman was to 1) finish 2) finish with no injuries, 3) finish with the thought that I might do another one down the road.

The hardest part of Ironman was getting through all the training without getting injured. That still continues to be the hardest part. Be prepared for lots of highs and lows. Learn how to take care of yourself on race day. Beg your family and best friends to come and look for you and scream your name as you go in and out of transition and get them to go out on the course where they can to cheer for you as you go by. They may only see you briefly here and there but it makes ALL the difference. 

And, when you get to the run ... don't think about anything other than doing whatever it takes to get to that last 100 meters. Then throw your arms up in the air and sail down that red carpet like you're Natasha Badman. Soak in the cheers, slap the outreaching hands and listen for the Voice of the Ironman over the loud speaker shouting "DENISE HAZLICK, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!" and smile for the camera as you break the tape.  I'll see you there...it will be my fourth finish.  And, if I see you on the course I will yell "You look awsome, Denise!" — Camille, Mission Viejo, Calif.

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As I train for my second Ironman (IM Florida '05) I can't help but be inspired by your efforts.  Forget the naysayers they aren't worth the effort. Respect the distance and just keep doing the work. Keep pushing your limits a little bit each day and you (and they) will be amazed at what you can achieve.

I've learned a lot about myself and the dedication of my training partners during those long training hours. On race day nobody can do it for you, you will be alone amongst a huge mass of people. Just keep moving forward. Those long training hours will feel like such a small price to pay for the feeling of that last hundred yards to the finish. When you hear them call out your name and "You are an Ironman" ... I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

Good luck and enjoy the journey! — Mark Holland, Maineville, Ohio

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