An old running partner shared this with me and it really nailed endurance events. I know there is going to be pain. I don’t know when it is going to come. It could start after the swim; somewhere on the bike. I know it will be on the run; maybe not. I do know when it will end; somewhere between 6 and a half and 7 hours. It will cease to matter somewhere around the last turn, just before the finish. The finish line that has been waiting as it had been all these months. Just waiting for me to cross it. Just waiting to be the evidence I need to show I can move on to the next level. I will share the finish line with everyone, but at that moment, when I cross, it will be all mine.
"You wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the year, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement........Runners just do it - they run for the finish line even if someone else has...reached it first."
It just amazes me that just 7 months ago I was doing my first sprint triathlon. A 250 yard swim and I swam the back stroke after 100 yards. And used that stroke for 50 of the total 250 yards! Now I'm swimming in a half Ironman. The body is totally willing to do what the mind won’t allow.
It is Sunday! Wow, next Sunday this time I should be transitioning from the bike to the hardest part of the day…the run. I am experiencing unique feelings. Nervousness and calmness, doubt and fearlessness seem to coexist and I feel them simultaneously. It is different than the feelings I’ve experienced leading up to my first 5k or first half marathon 3 years ago. Not that they weren’t significant in my life, but this Half Ironman means so much more. Completing this really solidifies whether or not a full Ironman is doable in 7 more months. I have seen some athletes begin training for Ironman as late as 9 months out. It is my hope that 7 months of training with a half ironman under my belt should really give me an edge.
I will be honest, tapering isn’t going to well. I have been extremely tired and, for the first year ever, battling allergies! This is the worst pollen count I have seen since living in Charlotte. After a couple days of popping Zyrtec-D like supplements, I can breathe enough to go for a run. I have a 30 mile bike ride after work today. I will be hitting the flat roads since I think this is my last significant distance I will be riding before NO. Since this is a short ride, I think I’m just going to focus more on the higher cadence pedaling. I wonder if I will notice a difference.
The moment I hit taper, I knew the physical training has been completed. Now the mental training has begun. I started revisiting all of my favorite Ironman Videos and looked at my favorite videos from Motivational Movie Mondays (Tri To Endure blog). I even pulled out my white chip and just held it. The White Chip, to me, is the most important chip you ever get. That is the first chip you get when you admit you have a problem with alcohol and something needs to change. Yeah it’s coming with me to NO. I began recalling the reasons why this is so important and what this event is really about.
I find myself almost floating off this “fear” and excitement of the unknown. Triathlon is still all very new to me. I just hope I can just successfully finish the tapering over the next week. Work’s been pretty slow so I have been able to finalize my pre-race nutrition program. I also finish packing my clothing. It was pretty easy considering I am wearing uniform for the next few days. I’m now in the process of making an itinerary for the actual pre-race; i.e. arrive at race site, register blah blah blah. I’m waiting till Wednesday before I pack up my actual race gear. Im sure that is going to be an all day event. Check and rechecking my gear bag, followed by recheck, recheck, recheck, recheck.
I think the next few days I will making shorter blog entries to really document what I feeling and doing for prep.