I’m now into the final month of preparation for my first Ironman race. My teammates and I are in the middle of the last, biggest build segment before 2 weeks of taper. The heaviest workouts are so close I can taste them: 3 mile open water swim, 50 mile mid-week ride, 80 and 100+ mile weekend rides with brick runs, solo runs of 17 and 21 miles. Not a day goes by without 1 or 2 drives into Santa Barbara from Goleta for workouts. I’m best friends with the foam roller. I’ve given up alcohol until after the race. I time my eating to fuel my workouts. Daily (hourly?) my mind focuses on the week before the race, race day, post race.
And yet strangely I’m not worried. Sure, I’m blissfully ignorant of what an Ironman race day is like but at the same time my confidence is building. My performance is improving. I made peace with not reaching my body fat goal for the race but I’m visibly leaning out. I’m slowly getting closer to the Ironman-finishers I train with. I spent the better part of a day during the Mammoth Lakes training camp riding with cramps, dehydration and bad emotions and thoughts, but I overcame it. In the last week I paced a faster runner at track the other night, dropped 50s off of my PR for a 15min climb on the bike, swam the furthest I’ve ever swum, saw a weight on the bathroom scale I hadn’t seen in 25 years, and got kudos from several different people.
Are the next couple of weeks going to hurt? Oh yeah. Is the race going to be a crazy hard challenge that I might not overcome? Yup. Outside of my work I have trouble with self-doubt, but this process has brought me much more trust in myself and my abilities. From overcoming weight issues, breathing issues, digestive issues, lack of cardiovascular fitness to being in a place where I know I can perform an endurance activity is a nice place to be. This is the comeback I wanted.