Trying to take in every moment of this IM journey I have been on, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It is really coming down to the wire, as we only have 29 days from today. Funny, that back when we started training, the days seemed endless, and it felt like Ironman would never get here. Now I sit, 29 days out, and the time is flying by.
The Good: Training has been wonderful on my body, mind and spirit. I have met some of the most amazing people that are truly coming out of the hibernation of a Coeur d’ Alene winter and into Spring training. You know who they are. You see them biking and running the course…talk to them, and hear their stories of their IM journey, be it their first or many. I love hearing the stories. Hearing their passion. Seeing their excitement, feeling their joy, and seeing their tears…some happy, and others not. Their stories uplift me, give me hope, and I am in awe of every one I hear. Every single one is different. Same race, told 100 different ways. You hear training strategies, fueling options, injury prevention, you name it, someone always has some great advice. Because it truly is an individual sport. Your own ride… Natalie and I met a guy yesterday on our 5-1/2 indoor (yes, I said indoor) training ride, who is battling bladder cancer. Peddling away on the bike, in super shape, great attitude, smiling and laughing with us, with his own story to tell. Another man…. that is 67 years old, doing his second Ironman. I told Ken, I couldn’t wait to see him at the finish, either him cheering me in, or me cheering him in. Sixty-Seven!!! I pray that God allows me to be in that sort of shape when I am pushing 70! What an inspiration. We met quite a few people yesterday on this “ride” we were doing in the gym. People stopped by asking about Ironman. Some giving us funny looks, being that we had to hit 2 one-hour Spinning classes, plus 3 ½ hours on the bikes around the Kroc Center. We were teased by the staff, who thought we had either gone crazy, or were thinking about taking up residency in their facility. None-the- less, the rain got the better of the day; we drew the short straw and had to hit the bikes indoors. Better that, than risk an injury this close. Our butts ached, we were stinky, but still happy to be on this journey, and both happy to have a great friend to train with and laugh through it all day!
The Bad: Well, for one, that 5-½ hour ride yesterday. Weather difficulties, are always a “suck” But you do what you can do, and keep going. Improvise, catch a break when you can, and keep moving. You can always swim, and run in the rain…biking is a whole other thing.
Time…always hard on everyone. Natalie says her husband is ready to “stop being the wife and Mommy at home” Agree. My family, as great as they have been, are ready for some sort of normalcy, back into our lives. Although, when asked yesterday, if this is our last Ironman, both of us simultaneously answered, “NO!” Not even close, I would say!
The Ugly: Bad nutrition days, stomach aches, gas, bloating, feeling “pukey”...and actually puking. Strained muscles, tight IT bands, calf knots, dehydration, sore shoulders, and neck….the list goes on in this category. All so worth it in the end. It all works out. You find what works nutritionally. Unfortunately it is by trail and error, so some days things work great, others, not! Also, there are the tired feet, ice baths (which I actually love, while others hate) cold lake temps, flat tires, bike wrecks, and just the tiredness, of training so hard 6 days a week. But again, worth it. I finally found a remedy for my insomnia…training for an Ironman. Cleared it right up. Sleeping like a baby!
All in all, this amazing chapter in my life has been spectacular. One I will never forget. It is up there with getting married, and the birth of our three kids. It’s huge! I feel “ready.” We have one more week of peak training, ramping up. Next Friday and Saturday will be our last long bike, and run days, and then we taper for our race. So many emotions flood me when I think about that day. Think about each aspect of the course. Mentally preparing myself for the unknown. I remind myself, to take each piece at a time. Two swim loops, two bike loops, two run loops. Each separate. Each it’s own “race” in the big picture. I imagine running down Sherman Ave to the finish. My family and friends locally, and from MN & WA waiting. Gives me chills, and butterflies, and tears.
ALL of it, worth the good, bad and the ugly. Also knowing as much support as we have all had from friends and family, which is HUGE, and I am forever grateful for…WE are doing this. On our own. WE did this…..and this is OUR journey, our story, alone, unlike anyone else’s. We have each put in the training hours, the time, the sacrifice for this. It really comes down to that. Each individual. Each aspect of their race…they own it. We own it. I own it! And we should be proud of ourselves. I cannot wait to have my “story” of this race to share, when my time comes.