Three weeks from today, Dave and I will fly to Madison so that I can race Ironman Wisconsin on September 11. I printed the Athlete Guide today. It’s super exciting stuff. It seems like not that long ago that I was in Wisconsin acting as a sherpa for Jeanie and supporting other friends, and now it’s suddenly my turn. Will I be ready?
My training has been going super well. I’ve put the miles and hours in and have stayed healthy this season, which is awesome after the various hip and calf issues I had last year. I’m pleased with my bike training, and just in the last few weeks, I’ve added back in swim training. (I worry least about the swim because that’s where I’m strongest.) I know my body can do this if I continue to take care of it. That’s my challenge.
I’m busier at work than I’ve been in a very long time. I’m barely making time to get my training done, keep up with my work, and get good rest. Most everything else has fallen by the wayside this season. (Even my mother called yesterday to check to make sure I’m alive.) And with no end in sight to the work load, I’m feeling the weight of trying to get it all done. I keep plugging through though because I really want this race. Normally, with this sort of busy-ness, I might have entertained the thought of bowing out of Ironman. But not this year.
I gave up last year because of physical issues and regretted it later. I won’t let that happen again. I will get to the starting line this year.
The course may be the toughest I’ve taken on so far. And I’m told they made a tough course tougher by adding one hill that is 15-20% grade at its steepest. Can get up that hill? I have no idea, but I’m determined to try.
Ironman posts a bunch on Facebook under the hashtag #WHYWETRI. I’ve never submitted to Ironman about why I tri, but I’ve given it a lot of thought. Years ago, I wrote:
In June of 2008, after training and blogging and racing my heart out, I finished Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 16 hours and 33 minutes, just 27 minutes shy of the cutoff. I remember taking those final steps towards the finish, seeing my sister Marline joyfully tearful on the bleachers near the finish, and trying to hold back the tears myself. In the moment that I crossed the finish line, anything seemed possible. I believed that, if I could finish that race – if I could accomplish something that seemed absurd for pudgy, slow me to even try – then I could do anything.
Since Ironman, I have tried to keep that feeling of belief close. I have moments of doubt. Sometimes those moments turn into months. But I eventually come back to the belief that anything is possible.
For me, Ironman Coeur d’Alene was always much more than a race. It was about my life. It was about the vision I want to have of myself and the hope I want to carry forward into whatever I choose to do. I want big dreams. I want to tackle what seems impossible. I want to shock myself again and again by overcoming the bits of doubt in my own mind and accomplishing my goals.
It’s good practice for me to overcome the bits of doubt in my own mind. If I can get it done, this will be my sixth Ironman. I take nothing for granted. I know I don’t control the weather. I know I don’t control the people swimming, biking or running around me. I know I don’t control whether I get a flat or have other mechanical issues on the bike. All I control is how prepared I am and how hard I’m willing to work on the day of the race.
I know I’m ready this year. And I know I’m willing to do whatever it takes to cross that finish line. That combination makes me proud of myself going into this race and hopeful for all that might come in my life after the race. That’s why I tri. And that’s why I’ll be in Madison in three weeks. I can’t wait.