Exercise Tip: Train For The Conditions Or They’ll Take You Down But Sometimes Success Is Disguised As Failure

FitOldDog's sunburn at the Los Cabos Ironman

In spite of lavish sunscreen, applied before and during the ride, my fair skin was still sunburned.

An important exercise tip, when training for endurance races, is prepare yourself for the expected conditions, but this is not always easy as conditions are not necessarily predictable. That said, if you run (or bike) into trouble, don’t beat yourself up about it, if you gave it your best effort.

Four of five months ago my youngest son, and great Ironman triathlete, Nigel, called and said, “Dad, I’ve signed up for the Los Cabos Ironman in March (2013), and I wondered if you would come along as support?” I said, “Sure! In fact, if the race is still open for registration I may sign up. What are the conditions like?” My son said, “The race site predicts temperatures between 68 and 70°F.” “Sounds great, what about the terrain?” “They say rollers.” Rollers are slight hills that you can ‘power over’ on the bike in a big ring, without losing momentum.

Photo of La Playita great Mexican restaurant in San Jose Los Cabos

La Playita restaurant at the La Marina Inn, San Jose Los Cabos has great food, especially the tortilla soup, and friendly service.

Sounded perfect, as my swim and run were pretty strong, whilst I expected to be undertrained on the bike due to wintery conditions in North Carolina and restraints on my time, and I don’t handle hot conditions too well. Cool with rollers – no problema! I signed up, but for me the race turned out to hinge on the bike and the conditions.

The bike ride was brutal, with winds of 20 – 30 mph, constant hills, and a combined climb of 6000 feet, and the heat was blistering for my fair skin. So, my second DNF (did not finish), being pulled off of the bike course as they closed it behind me at about 105 miles into the 112 miles course. I, however, was not disappointed or surprised, and I was delighted to get my butt off of that saddle, feeling that I had given it my best. Furthermore, my legs were fried, making a marathon a bad idea. Then things turned out for the better.

Photo of FitOldDog's son, Nigel, after the Los Cabos Ironman

FitOldDog is proud of his Ironman, dentist, great Dad son, Nigel, after the race.

Instead of running a marathon late into the evening, I was able to arrange a taxi to transport Nigel back from his successful race, and by 8:00 pm we were sitting in a lovely Mexican restaurant enjoying the best soup in the world and a Margarita. What could be better? Furthermore, I successfully completed the original job proposed to me by Nigel, support crew.

We then went on to enjoy the rest of our visit with the friendly people of San Jose Los Cabos, completing the adventure with a quick trip out to see a large pod of whales who were taking the annual trip, whilst training their young, north through the Sea of Cortez. This is what Ironman racing is about for me, going places I otherwise wouldn’t, and fit enough to do so, and spending time with one of my sons. Next trip is with ‘number two son,’ Duncan, at The Mountains of Misery 200k Double Header in May! Great to be alive!

Now, was that DNF a failure? I think not! Time to get my biking back on track in time for the 2013 Lake Placid Ironman in July, and try to kick some butt – though that is really not what the Ironman is about.

For me, Ironman training is a lifestyle of safe exercise for better health that I love.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Amazing whale video, Kevin! So glad you posted that! I know we say it all the time, but you are the youngest 69 that ever lived.

  2. Yes, I love the little video.

  3. And I’m the youngest 64 year old.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.