I have not posted a lot about my upcoming Ironman this year. For one, I was not even sure I would be making it to the start. The joy and exuberance that I normally feel about training this year was zapped out of me, but now I am so happy that I decided to put on my BIG GIRL panties and race Ironman Canada. A lot of effort went into me getting out of my own way, and out of my head. Training for this long of an endurance race can make or break you. Brings to mind that saying, "Only the Strong Survive." Your mind plays a lot of evil tricks on you. You doubt yourself, your ability, your strength, your fortitude, and often wonder (I do on occasion) WHAT am I even doing??
I had many days of feeling over-whelmed and tired when I shouldn’t have been, and know…it was all mind games. A lot of emotion goes into these races. And not always positive emotions. Truly some days I wonder how I will hold it all together.
As I enter August, with only a few weeks left before Canada, I find myself, daily, going over check-lists, for gear, for nutrition, and honestly, emotional attitude checks. This will be my furthest destination Tri, and I need to be sure NOTHING is left behind when we leave to head up to Canada. Especially….my positive attitude!!
I had the privilege of going up two weeks ago to check out some of the course. Not a necessity to me, but it made me feel pretty good, riding parts of the course that were a concern. I have done plenty of races without ever setting eyes on the course. We girls went up to climb. And climb, we did! The two major mountain passes of the course, Richter and Yellow Lake, seemed like monsters in my eyes. Hard, Yes! Undoable, No! It has been nice to pull advice from people I know that have raced up there before. “Don’t go out too hard and fast” The 1st part of the course is flat-ish with some rollers, and you can easily pick up speed and go out too hard, before getting to the big climbs. I will be writing that on my arm for race day. It’s easy to get caught up in the “adrenaline ride” of other athletes, and go out too quick. Although, I do plan on making up some good time there. Also, “stay steady and consistent on the passes” That was rolling around in my head the day we rode. Keep it steady! After being up there, seeing and riding 80 miles of the course, I am not sure if I feel better or worse about it. They are LONG, steady, steep climbs, but not as bad as I first thought. Although you hit one of them at 80-miles, so I will be feeling different climbing them on race day than I did 2 weeks ago.
Right now, I am right on for training. I am feeling very good, and really strong. My nutrition is on tap, and I feel great about that! Now it’s all about staying healthy. Mentally and physically.
I draw a lot off of my friends and family. Man….are they ever supportive. You really know how loved you are when you commit to something this big. I have had so much encouragement. Daily phone calls and texts, rooting me on, pumping me up, or just the simple…”you are going to do great!” I have friends that aren’t training for anything in particular that meet me for bike rides, swims, and runs, even if for part of it. It keeps me going, keeps me motivated. It makes me feel good about making the decision to keep racing. I hope that they know and feel how much I appreciate them, and that maybe…just maybe, I am being an influence for them on their journey. I am excited that a lot of them will be up in Canada on race day, and knowing they are there, will mean the World to me! As well as the ones cheering me on from here at home and across the US, I hope YOU know I cherish YOU!
I could’ve easily given up. I just know I am not a very good “giver-upper.” I’m simply not. When I commit to something, I’m “in”, and in the back of my mind, there is always that voice telling me that. Giving up on myself, my family and my friends is not an option. My desires to reach my goals are huge! I also think of those who cannot do what I am doing. That encourages me. My friends, that have over-come adversities of all sorts, they encourage me. If in the face of such obstacles, they persevere, what’s my problem?
And maybe it’s the first-born in me. We are determined.. little firstborn children!
And as I prepare for the next 24 days of this roller coaster, I will keep these thoughts in my pocket, close to me: resolution, resolve, willpower, strength of character, single-mindedness, purposefulness, intentness; staunchness, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, staying power; strong-mindedness, backbone; stubbornness, doggedness, obstinacy; spirit, courage, pluck, grit, stout-heartedness. Those words are me. They show who I am as a person, and my character. They show how I live my life as a wife, mother, daughter, and friend.
In the days ahead, when I feel like I am failing, when I feel under-trained, when I feel tired, crabby, like crying, like giving up…those words will pierce to my heart. My family and friends’ cheers will sing in my mind.
I know that no matter how this day will play out for me on August 26th, I will be happy to be in the moment. Happy I started. Happy I stuck to my goal, and didn’t give up or just let it go. Life can throw all sorts of curves, it's how you handle them that make you the person you are.
~“It is not wanting to win that makes you a winner; it is refusing to fail.”~Unknown~
~“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising, which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
And a favorite from a friend recently....