Southview High School principal Dave McMurray recently participated in a race that required him to cover 140.6 miles by swimming, biking and running.
As a challenger in Ironman Wisconsin, Mr. McMurray shared what he learned from training and participating, with students at the high school.
“I was there more for the experience,” he said, when asked about his expectations for meeting a goal time. “As I told the kids here at school, it's really not about the race, but the entire journey.”
During the early part of the year, he focused on running and swimming once a week, but once warmer temperatures started, Mr. McMurray increased his training routine.
“Once spring started and school let out, I basically did a whole lot of training over the three months of summer,” he said. He began biking more often and he started swimming up to four times per week.
When the first week of September hit, he packed his bags and headed up to Madison. The Ironman race required him to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles. He said his training prepared him, but he also thought he had another advantage.
“I was a swimmer in high school,” he said. Since Mr. McMurray knew that Madison has more hilly lands than he's accustomed to, he also trained on that type of terrain. When he and his family vacationed in Canada earlier in the year, he used the opportunity to bike through the mountains to get ready.
On race day, all of his preparations, both physically and mentally, were tested. He said he tried to remain positive through all portions of the competition.
“I had a very realistic goal of 15 hours. I really shared that I just wanted to finish.” Mr. McMurray said the race began at 7 a.m., with participants being given a maximum of 15 hours to finish. If they weren't done by midnight, they would be pulled off the course.
He said he wasn't worried about getting picked up on the course, but added that he did use some strategies to make sure he conserved his energy.
“I just made sure that I had some energy left in my legs for the run,” Mr. McMurray said. “I got out of the bike and I had 8.5 hours to do the marathon. The pressure was off.”
Sylvania Superintendent Brad Rieger noted that competing in an Ironman competition pushes a person physically and mentally. "Dave can draw upon his experience in Madison as he encourages students to set lofty goals, put in the necessary work to achieve those goals, and overcome the obstacles that inevitably land in your way," Mr. Rieger said.
Mr. McMurray's race time totaled 14 hours, 9 minutes and 52 seconds, which was past his secret goal time, but well within his originally established goal of just finishing the race. This was another nugget of advice he shared with his students.
“What I really hope to impress with the kids is the commitment — the dedication it takes to set a goal; to go through the training. Being able to share that with the kids, that's the journey part. It's not the race itself.”
Surprisingly, Mr. McMurray said he wasn't in too much pain the day after the race.
“When I got done with the race, I walked around for an hour and a half. I really didn't rest until I went to sleep. The worst part was having to drive home. I went to work the next day, and I was almost back to normal.”
Contact Kelly McLendon at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-206-0356 or on Twitter at @MyTownSylvania.