Last night I attended an informational meeting about Ironman race strategies held by my coach. I was concerned that I would leave feeling more overwhelmed and under prepared, but I actually feel a little better.
The first point she made was about taper and how some people feel really hyper and perky and get super productive like some damn fool I know (*cough* Formulaic) and some people get really exhausted and moody (no cracks about "how can you tell RBR is taper madness moody vs. her regular moody-ass self?") I was really concerned that I was doing something wrong or that this was a sign that I was under trained. I felt MUCH better about that. She even recommended NAPS! I knew I loved her for a reason. I take back all the evil thoughts I had about her during intervals and tempo runs.... well, most of them anyway. ;o)
The Ironman "Ah ha!" Moment
She told us not to let our race day goal get in the way of our race. Meaning, keep the goal in mind and let it push you forward, but do not let it overwhelm you and cause you to panic. Race in the moment.
I think this is particularly important for those of us racing the time cut offs. There is really no fall back goal from "just fucking finish" maybe "don't die", but that is about it.
She went on to say that she thought that was a tough concept for new Ironman competitors to grasp and put into practice, but it made perfect sense to me.
When I got clean, the goal is to stay clean for the rest of your life. What I learned, is that you cannot stay clean for the rest of your life. You can stay clean right now, in this moment, and eventually, if you string together enough "right now's", when you reach your death bed, you will have been clean for the rest of your life. Cool accomplishment, but the real victory has been in all those moments of a life lived being able to fully feel and revel in the gift of life, both the really wonderful AND the really hard parts.
If I started that journey over 18 years ago by telling myself that I could never take another drug or drink FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, I would have never made it 18 years clean. When it got hard I would not have been able to foresee enduring that pain until I die. But I learned in recovery that I can draw strength from others like me that are going through or have gone through that pain and I CAN endure for 5 minutes, and then 5 minutes more, and then 5 minutes more, and so on.
Having 18 years clean is cool. Living the life I have had for the last 18 years is way cooler.
That is how I feel about Ironman.
I can not race for 17 hours thinking that none of it will have been worth it if I don't make the cut off.
Every training swim, ride, and run has been a victory
When I show up to the starting line it will be a victory
When I go through the IM washing machine at the swim start it will be a victory
When I reach the next buoy it will be a victory
When I make a time cut off it will be a victory
When I start the next event it will be a victory
Every time I move forward when I don't want to, it will be a victory
And ultimately, when I cross that finish line, in the dead of night, it will be a
Like I said, there is going to be a lot of this "rah, rah!", "Go me!" shit for the next 12 days. My apologies if it makes you slightly nauseous.
4 hours ago