Longest race of my life: six weeks to Ironman; consistency and discipline

Swimming in water

Airman 1st Class Clayton A. Wear swimming the 100-yard freestyle at the 2014 Eastern Kansas league champion at Blue Valley Northwest, Overland Park, Kansas. The Eastern Kansas league is one of 40 leagues part of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. (Courtesy Photo)


If you have been following this series, then you would know that in six weeks from this Sunday I will be competing in the Ironman 70.3 Superfrog. In the last five articles in this series I have written about why I decided to take on this race, my weaknesses, and the things I am doing to correct those weaknesses. For this article I have decided to write about lessons I have learned from the water.

I developed an early comfort in the water from my parents raising me near the neighborhood pool and our summer vacations at the beach. After all of the time I spent in the water, I forced it to become an ally of mine in high school.

My freshman year of high school in 2011, I joined the Blue Valley Northwest swim team. After my coaches corrected my technique I was able to make Junior Varsity by the end of the season. I became obsessed with the progression of my times so, thanks to my moms’ support, I joined the Kansas City Blazers swim team. 

Having the opportunity to swim on a team as competitive as the Blazers introduced me to collegiate level swimmers and their work ethic. By putting in eight months of swimming and imitating what all of the Division I ranked swimmers did to prepare for their swim seasons I was able to go to the state championships for the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly that next season.

I didn’t place very high at state my sophomore year of high school but by swimming an entire year I learned that consistency and discipline breed results.

I am now using those same tools to train for my Ironman.

The Ironman 70.3 has a 1.2 mile swim to start the race. The biggest lesson I have learned in long distance training is that it takes a consistent workout schedule to make improvements and discipline to make the most of those workouts.


Next week I will be out of the office, so I won’t be writing a “Five weeks to Ironman”.


Editor’s note: This is an on-going 10 week series. You can visit www.vandenberg.af.mil and the 30th Space Wing Facebook page every Friday for a new feature.