Racing long distance is as much about your mental prep as it is about your physical preparation. How to prepare for that long of day? Write it out! Every year I’ve done Ironman I’ve had a plan together of how I’d like the day to go, how I’d handle adversity, and how I’d dig deep if it does get tough. This year may have some differences but writing out the plan isn’t one of them.
My perfect plan includes sleeping w/Sarah, haha!! Get your mind out of the gutter people!! I don’t plan on sharing a room w/Heath and little man, I need my sleep and that’s not always the best way to get it. I will awaken a basket full of nerves, ready to get the day going yet wanting to postpone it for as long as possible. I will eat some breakfast, pb and bagel and banana. Walking to the race site, keeping my nerves in check and my energy right I will make sure the bike is ready to go finishing w/a good stretch for the mind as much as the body.
Ironman swim is long enough that I will feel my groove eventually, and I look forward to it! I look forward to the swarm of people, the one on thousands of full on body combat. The draft that makes the first loop feel so easy is priceless and well worth being in the middle of the mix. The second loop of the swim the masses won’t be as prevalent, and I’ll have to depend on myself. My goggles (www.skylinenw.com) will work flawlessly, my stroke will be smooth, and my new full sleeve wetsuit (www.trisports.com) will keep me somewhat protected from the jellyfish. I will exit the swim being thankful it’s over, but also realizing my warmup is done and it’s time to get to business.
I always approach Ironman as a long training day, it’s too long to race, it’s very strategic about where you save energy, and so much can happen. I’d love to feel strong yet reserved on the bike, my goal being to enjoy the day smile a lot, and relish that all of my time is for this one special day. I may daydream, I may even look around and enjoy the scenery, but focus won’t be lost for long b/c my timer will go off alerting me to eat or drink. The timer brings me back to reality eliminating the guess work of when I nutritioned last. I’m sure my low moments will come, self doubt sets in, headwind approaches, and I will nip it in the butt. I have a secret weapon, experience. It may have been a while since I’ve done Ironman (3 years), but some things are ingrained in you. What goes down must go up at some point, moods included. If I have a moment where I lose focus and get grumpy, I will eat something (I swear it fixes all!!) and turn that mood around as quickly as it came. I’ve trained for this, and I’ll be damned other people (drafters included) or me on my own will not ruin my day. Word to the wise, if you draft on me you will be snotted or peed on. I’ve done it before and will do it again, my hard work will not be someone else’s joy ride. I will travel that last couple miles taking it all in, I know the road and I know the emotions that will follow. I will be grateful to be off the bike, the feeling of being upright is priceless after being aero for so long. I will also realize the true task is at hand, and it’s time to really focus.
The run of Ironman is no joke. People fade, let the mental aspect get the best of them, the bodies crumble, and it comes down to you and how far you are willing to push. I will approach this part of the race confident, yet taking in the enormity of the chore to come. I like to break up the run at Florida. I set mini goals, and it’s broken up into 4 sections. My first goal is to make it to the park, then make it back to the turnaround, then back to the park, and then you’re home free….I can do anything for 6 miles:)! I will say those goals change, sometimes it’s just making it from aide station to aide station and that’s a huge victory in itself. Maybe it will be port a potty to port a potty, but whatever that goal may be I will succeed. Failure is not an option. If you see me out there an I’m not smiling, kick me in the butt:)! Remind me, that above all, Ironman is about pushing yourself but also enjoying the moment. If you’re out of breath, just remind me to smile:) I plan to cross that finish line appreciating that it’s taken an army of people to help get me to this race, and I will not take that for granted. Better than that, I’m not going to let the person down that this race is most important to and that’s myself. I’m ready to take my test, answer the questions that come up and smile while doing it in knowing that I’m prepared. My family and friends that are out there race day, you will be my saving grace. You instantly bring me back to reality, remind me to smile, and not take life so seriously. I will need you more than ever race day, and thank you for being there.
What’s after that? BEER!!! Maybe a shot or two depending on if I’m standing. That’s my plan!