Twenty one - That’s the number of days until Ironman Canada, or IMCan as it‘s come to be known in my head.
I’ve just finished my last, long weekend of training which culminated in a 20 mile run on the Burke Gilman Trail with my phenomenal training partner Cindy Lou. We spent the better part of the weekend together swimming 2.4 on Friday at RaiseTheBar and riding 80 miles of Tour de Peaks on Saturday.
And I’m pleased to report: I!am!ready!
Hard to believe just over three weeks ago I was saying my prayers to complete the Chelanman Half iron. With that event in the rearview mirror I felt strong, then uncertain, and now surer than ever that I cannot fail on race day.
I’ve learned so much in these last few months and even more in recent weeks. The lessons run the gamut from the science of nutrition, to fixing a flat, and gaining some insights into my own psyche. I’ve enjoyed learning about myself, and it’s true what they say about one’s body: it will do whatever your brain tells it to. Never was this truer than last weekend’s ride in Penticton: 112 miles, two mountain passes and 107 degrees couldn’t keep me from the finish line.
But man, did it seem insurmountable then! As was the case a little over a month ago with the advent of first-ever Half Ironman, Chelanman. A mere 300 miles east of Seattle, I took most of Friday to get there. I racked my bike upon arrival and nerves were already setting in. I hardly slept but found my way to the shotgun (yep, gun) start and swam, biked and ran my way through all 70.3 miles thanks in part to the zip line underwater, tons of synthetics foods consumed on my bike, a near miss with one volunteer I encountered inadvertently (which resulted in a skinned knee and wounded ego, but otherwise unscathed). Four hours later I found myself jogging along Lake Chelan and felt strong if a bit wilted due to the 100+ degree temperature. Making it more bearable was Coach Lesley checking in and offering guidance from her bike, and ice to put in that mesh hat I made so much fun of…she’s always right, darn it! By the time I hit mile seven, 10 seemed doable (one more Green Lake, one more Green Lake), and at 11 the finish line was (literally) in sight. CL rallied the troops and up a mole hill, around the corner and – victory! – final five at 8 hours and change. I celebrated my victory by wading into the Lake waist-deep, and at “home” for my first of many ice baths. I was so giddy I couldn’t sleep, so up again at 5am I wandered back t the start/finish line to witness the kids’ triathlong to remind myself how far I’d come – and to be humbled for what I had ahead.
Fast forward: “All me, all day.” My new mantra, courtesy of Trainer Scott.
With exactly three weeks ‘til IMC, I feel more ready than ever before; thanks in large part to the best cheerleading section a girl could want, stellar coaching and tremendous training in advance. By this time twenty one days from now I expect to be finishing the bike leg and gearing up for the marathon. When I started this effort, the blog, the main event was a mere 36 wks away; In the same amount of time I’ve been training I could have spent my time giving birth, traveling Europe or earning a second degree. But neither would afford me the same reward or Return on Investment I have on this day. In other words, my confidence is through the roof.
And it wasn’t that long ago that I kicked and splashed and still couldn’t make cut off for the swim, or that I all my gear into a backpack, including toilet paper because I was so worried about being prepared, about my Plan B. I can so clearly remember my first ride in February, when I was unsure about 35 miles, and now 4 centuries later an 8 hour ride and seems silly. Another lesson learned: it’s all relative. That, and it’s all in your head.
Other lessons learned this year: It all comes down to that last 20 percent. It’s about this moment…this moment…this moment…and finding a way to be brave/fierce/strong/aggressive when it counts.
It counted in Pentictin when my bike would not behave (Colin fixed that by buying me a new one. Thank you, Colin!) I was so overheated I had chills, indicating my body’s vain attempt at staying cool in 107 degrees. “I’ve come this far…” I told myself up. And remembered, “Pain is temporary. Quiting is forever.” (Lance Armstrong)
So, knowing then what I know now, would I do it again?
In a heart beat…
“We are very near greatness; one step and we are safe. Can we not take the leap?” – Emerson
Pain is weakness leaving the body – United States Marine Corp
A humble request: pls share three songs that inspire you, I plan to create a playlist for my ride up on August 26 and I’ll *need* SOME way to pass the 7 hours alone. (Thanks, Elyse: Eye of the Tiger IS a really cool song!)
Maybe you’ve seen this before, but per the legend the root of my (ahem) affliction can be traced to this article. As it was told to me, this writer was in HI covering a golf outing and heard about the 2nd Ironman that would overlap his visit. Convinced the editors to let him cover it and when this came out, Ironman started to grow and grow.
P.S. I can’t wait to see my mom at the finish line...