My Best Cheerleader.

After nearly two weeks of not being well, I think I’m almost myself again. After a shorter than desired bike ride yesterday and unexpectedly sleeping almost twelve hours last night, I did a workout on the track this morning. The goal was to do at least two mile repeats at tempo pace, which for me is 9:33. I did three repeats this morning on 9:09, 9:11, and 9:34. If I just look at the times, I’d be discouraged because back on March 16, I did four repeats on 9:08, 9:00, 8:54 and 9:01. But I’m proud of today’s effort, especially the third one – the 9:34.

I started the run planning to do at least three repeats. I could tell half a mile into the first one that three would be tough for me today. The first mile felt hard. The second mile felt super hard. And after the second one, I wanted to call it a day. After all, I was feeling like hell, and the workout called for a minimum of two repeats. But I decided to walk once around the track to give myself time to psych myself up for a third attempt. So I walked slowly and by the time I finished the lap, I’d convinced myself to do a third. It was a slow and hard third, but I got it done. That’s the part I’m proud of.

Three weeks from today, I’ll be racing my fifth Ironman. That kind of distance is more mental than physical. I have to be of the mind to get it done. Race day might be a day when everything feels good and I am way ahead of the clock. Or it might be a tough day where I wonder with every step if I’ll make it to the finish in time. Whatever happens that day, priority one is to get it done – to keep moving, to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and to reach that finish line.

Mom and Dave will both be there to support me. I’m hopeful I’ll have a couple of friends there as well. But I’m going to spend huge chunks of time out on that course cheering myself on. I’ll remember the things my coach and my friends have said to encourage me along the way, but that day, I’ll have to be my own best fan. The small victories – the days like today – will matter as I cheer myself on through each mile, each aid station, each hill, and each moment when my body wants to stop. My head will have to take over and pull me through.

Race day is super hard. But that’s what makes it super fun. I can’t wait.

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