BY DAVID WARDEN
Day 22 Splits
From James' 505050 Facebook Page:
"Two Guinness World records down... for 2015 I will attempt 50 Ironman Courses, in 50 consecutive days through all 50 States."
From his primary website:
"50 Full Ironman Distances in 50 Days in 50 States."
I think some discussion on James' goals for the 505050 is due. To begin, let me clarify that I am James' coach. I'm not his manager. He does not have a manager. However, I have a bit more time on my hands than he or his crew does, and so some of the PR work has fallen to me. If the reader finds themselves frustrated with delayed, missing, or incomplete information, I hope they will understand. My expertise is just to get him physically to Day 50.
James does officially hold two Guinness World Records for the most 70.3 events in a year, and the most full Ironmen in a year. Because he leads with this statement on his Facebook About section, the natural assumption from many followers is this this is another world record attempt. It is not. His stated goal is to "attempt 50 Ironman Courses, in 50 consecutive days through all 50 States." If he misses a daily attempt in a given state (which could arguably made about Day 19 due to Ellipticalgate), then he attempts again the next day. Therefore, the 505050 is not over, and should he even miss two or three days in a row with no activity, James would continue his stated goal of attempting the next day. The 505050 is about doing something that has never been done before. It is a journey, not a destination. If you have a very strict interpretation of what counts as an Ironman in a given day, then 45 Ironmen in 50 Days in 50 States is still pretty damn cool.
Should this goal have been clarified earlier? I think James felt that the goal was clear, it was no WR attempt, his rules, and he'll make the attempt every day despite the result of the day before. Based on recent feedback, the goal and "rules" should have been more clear. Had he made a statement before the event about what he would or would not allow under his own rules and what the goal was (and was not), the last two paragraphs of this blog would not be necessary.
I think that people tend to be doers and planners. The most successful people are probably both. James' strength is as a doer. I'm not saying he does not plan. An enormous amount of planning went into this event, and despite the challenges, the team would not have made it past Day 5 without the planning that went into it. The planning could always be better, but James is a man of action. He could have put off the 505050 for another year, got a bigger team, hired a manager (yea!), hired a logistics and forward operations rep, etc. Instead, he set a date, trained like mad, and jumped right in. Doer.
I should also mention that James' late starts and finishes are largely in part due to the crowds that follow him. Pictures, talking to kids, and media are not a distraction that any of us would deal with when doing an Ironman. He could save himself a lot of time and energy if he just ignored everyone altogether, but again, this is a journey.
No commentary on the day's splits, mainly due to time constraints. Details below.