A harbor in the tempest

I am in taper, and getting set to race.

Am I nervous? Yup. Why? Because I have trained, and want so much to race to the best of my ability – to get everything perfect, and to have a fabulous race. I want the swim I had at Mary Alice with my friend Michael this past Monday. I want the bikes I had on all my centuries – where at 90 miles I still had plenty left to bring it home, and ran strong after. I want the feeling on the run I had at IMCdA in 2013. Yup – I want it all: I want a strong race. I know I have a strong race in me. But, I also know that just because things went well in training, and just because charts say I can do the race in X time, doesn’t mean I have earned the right to a strong race, or even to cross the finish line. I never go in to any race of any distance assuming a finish, or that a certain race will happen. It can happen. 140.6 miles is a long way to race. A lot can happen in that time. A lot good, and a lot bad. And you do your best to prevent what you can, and learn to roll with the bad, recover, and not let it shake you from your objective.

And that is…..scary. Anyone racing an ironman has likely put in countless hours, hundreds of miles, and made this a primary goal. And so of course you want to race as best as you can.

My point is not to freak people out, and hopefully I haven’t, but rather to say how I deal with my very pragmatic, but not very helpful thinking. I am as prepared as I can be for this race. I have practiced and know my nutrition. I have a hydration plan set. I have many training moments I have banked to help me through the rough spots. I know that on race day when something does happen I am as prepared as I can be to fix it, and get going again ASAP and I cannot let it shake me or my course. And I won’t let it shake me.

And so now am resting. Making last minute plans for what I am doing while in Madison, and getting ready to race so everything is “good to go”.

And I am also taking the time to reflect. And all I come to is a feeling of gratitude. Not just for my body which has gotten me here, but for the people I have met on this journey so far. For example on my Tuesday ride I got a flat. I had everything but the CO2 discharger. A local resident who lived very close stopped and asked if I needed help. He said he had a pump, went home and brought it back. While waiting a cyclist, Brett, stopped. At this point I had wrestled my flat tube out. It was a good thing Brett stopped because although I am no “damsel in distress” and know how (and am able) to change a flat, it took Brett and the local resident to get my tire back on the rim. That tire was tight!

And I know there are more amazing people I will meet as I continue on this path.

So gratitude: For the strangers who have stopped and helped me. For the friends who have gone out and swam, biked, or run with me. For the friends who met me at strange times for a cup of coffee to chat. For my coach who has pushed, coerced, and wrangled rides and runs out of me that I didn’t know existed, and for the countless comments on my training logs. For Maria who I hear telling me to “swim big” in the water every time I swim…whether she is there or not. And Mary who I hear telling me “quick feet” every time I run. And Deb who reminds me about running tall…and quietly. And to all the friends who are offering me encouragement whether after a ride or as we catch up.

And for my family, where my two older siblings, their significant others, and my parents, as well as an aunt, will be there. They have chosen to go spend a day in Madison, WI with Carlos and me, when they could be doing most ANYTHING else. Especially since it is my brother’s girlfriend’s birthday! And my sister’s birthday is a few days later.

And I just keep feeling gratitude. And it keeps me calm. And centered. And enjoying what I get to do.

So, I am ready for race day. I am prepared. I know that my friends are behind me because they want to see me achieve my goals…..not because of what I do. And that is where I feel the most grateful. And that is what keeps me calm.


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