What was the best and worst part of the race?
Noah: Other than finishing, the best part was the bike portion. The first part goes up and down the Moselle River, which is absolutely beautiful because you’re going through all these vineyards. We were together at that point so that was pretty cool.
The support was nice too. Everyone Is cheering you on. Everybody has their first name on the bib, and these little kids would scream "Go Noah," and it was just wholesome.
The worst part was the run; it was pretty painful. The moment you get off the bike after going up and down these hills and you realize you still have to run a half marathon, that’s a little demoralizing.
Keenan: The 54 mile bike ride was the hardest bike ride in our entire lives. It’s not like we had to go for a little run; we had to run 13 miles. My worst part was stepping off my bike and trying to fathom, "Wow, I have to run." My knee has still been bothering me since June, so when I got off the bike I couldn’t run. It was more of a fast walk/jog.
There were definitely times where I doubted being able to finish, but I think somewhere halfway through the run I was like, "I think I’m going to finish this Ironman." There were three people from America and we had our flag on the bib, so we definitely got a little extra attention.
What would you say was your biggest takeaway from this experience?
Noah: Being a problem solver throughout the process. There’s always a solution. It started with "How do we get a bike? All of this is on a budget." Then "How do we get the bike from the United States to Europe?" "Swimming is cancelled. How do we swim?" "Oh, a stress fracture in my foot, how am I going to get that better before the race?" Every time a problem came up, we were able to find a solution, which was kind of cool.
Keenan: You can do anything you set your mind to, as cliché as that sounds. We didn’t just sign up for some fun race, and it was our first time doing something like this. It was kind of a big deal. I don’t know if we ever did realize what we got ourselves into, but we did it and it goes to show: don't be scared of anything.
The equipment that you need is a lot more than we originally thought we needed. We were getting all of our stuff secondhand, and then had to travel with it.
What did you end up doing for the swim since it was cancelled?
Noah: I thought we could just go find another, but there are only three man-made lakes in Luxembourg. The one where the race was supposed to take place had blue algae in it. And it was illegal to swim in the Moselle River.
Our host dad was pretty invested in us completing this race. On a Thursday, he drove us an hour and a half to the other lake. We thought we could get up at 3am, swim, hop in the car, and then do the race and complete it all. A week later the Luxembourg government put out an announcement saying that swimming is also banned in that lake due to blue algae.
We went to the gym and did it after the race within 24 hours, so technically it still counts. We were over-prepared for the swimming, and when it got cancelled we were pretty down. We were so sore though. It was a good feeling that even though it got cancelled, we still did the full thing.
Keenan: The night before the race, we went to go see this last lake. We were going to have to wake up ridiculously early to go swim. We got to this lake and it was a pond. It was probably 10 feet deep, but the algae went up seven feet. We both jumped in and felt the algae creep up your body.
What advice would you give to an incoming MUDEC student who also wanted to do this?
Noah: I would say start training five months in advance. We trained in three months, which is the bare minimum to be able to finish. Know what you're getting into, and prepare a little more.
Keenan: Know what they’re getting themselves into. I really recommend it, but just know what you’re getting into. It's extremely rewarding, it's an awesome event, but it's all around a big commitment.
You have to put together a good schedule as well. I think that was something that was very important to us. You have to be very determined. You can’t slack off.