Of course this morning I woke up with a head cold. After the first full 2 weeks of the school year, I almost expected it despite my attempt at avoiding the inevitable congestion/sore throat/cough. I thought my ride this morning would help clear me up a bit-but it did not, so the rest of the day I spent on the couch resting and drinking as much Vitamin C that I could possibly take in. It's ok though-I could sit here worried sick that this will destroy my race, or I could chalk it up to the nature of the beast-that is, the Ironman spirit anyway.
The Ironman triathlon is a 2.4 mile open water swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile marathon run. It is not meant to be easy. It is not meant to come without adversity. It is as much a mental as it is a physical test of endurance. I love everything that the Ironman stands for. I love that people of all shapes and sizes approach the start line with a common goal-to complete 140.6 miles in under 17 hours. From the pointy-end athletes shooting for a Kona slot, to the 15, 16, 17 hour rockstars that work that course all day, and everyone inbetween-everyone's primary goal is to complete the course with the anticipation that Mike Reilly will call them an Ironman. This is one of the main reasons I sign up year after year-the finish line experience is truly magical.
The Ironman weekend is like Christmas in September to me. I plan to arrive in Mad Town on Thursday evening after work, in time for my team (Endurance Nation) dinner. Afterward, I will check in to my hotel and relax for the evening-of course, continue to obsess over the weather forecast for Sunday. Friday morning will bring a team swim, with both members of Endurance Nation and the 2013 Ironman Wisconsin Group page on facebook coming together to test the waters of Lake Monona. I am anticipating the water to be quite warm given the late summer heat wave in the Midwest. After the swim will come time for the Endurance Nation 4 Keys Talk, which is a free discussion by the coaches where they break down the course and correct ways to execute an Ironman race. After the discussion I plan to spin on my bike to make sure everything is all dialed in.
Later that day I will complete athlete check in, try not to spend too much money at the expo, and prepare for the athlete dinner at Monona Terrace. After dinner I will head back to my room to prepare my race bags (Swim to bike, bike to run, special needs bike, special needs run) for drop off on Saturday morning. Friday night is also the most important night for sleep-since nobody sleeps Saturday night!
Saturday morning (after what I hope will be a late sleep in) I will finish my bags and drop off my bike/bags. Perhaps a short jog (only if I'm going nuts) and time for feet up the majority of the day. Large breakfast, good lunch, and average dinner will be on the menu-with the goal of being in the room with my feet up by 6:30pm. I'm assuming there will not be much sleeping that evening, because the 4:15am wake up always comes far too early!
I love being around the race hype/excitement that comes to Ironman locations. It's the one time of year I can walk around in spandex for 4 days and not be stared at like I'm from another planet :) But it's so much more than that. This has become my lifestyle, and the people that participate in these events understand what that lifestyle is and why I choose to live it. There is a reason I countdown the days to this event-Of course there are some nerves, but it's not over whether or not I will PR (to be honest, it'd have to be best case scenario on all accounts because my training started so late this year), its more the anticipation to be around all that the Ironman stands for-and below are a few of my favorite quotes I've gathered through the years to keep me inspired:
*Until you face your fears, you don't move to the other side, where you find the power
*Success in this sport is, above all else, about enduring suffering
*Pain is temporary, pride is forever
*You can keep going and your legs may hurt for a week, or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime
*Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Hard is what makes is great.
It's race week...I can't wait to get up to Madison!!!