Destination: IRONMAN

Oh man, it’s time. The twelve month wait is over and Tahoe is knock, knock, knockin’ (I feel that I may be dying on Heaven’s doorstep at the end of thatjourney). I know that I did my homework: 75 training hours in August. That’s a lot! Still unsecured in my preparation, I also feel unprepared from a mental standpoint. It’s always an unpleasant reminder of how much brutality is exacted upon one’s body and emotional capacity during an event that long, and to drag yourself away encumbered by wobbly limbs and a strangely mirth-some spirit does nothing to help. I have assembled my favorite race snacks, drinks, and socks, and have bled, sweat, and hauled ass all over Nevada and Northern California many, many times. The starting line waits for no man; nor I for it. Just let it pass in a blaze of excitement, fun, and minimal pain.

In 2013 I broke through IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene in thrilling fashion (a.k.a. I finished in one piece without dying, drowning, or breaking my legs). This year, I have a better pulse on what is in store, plus I invested far more into training time – which I never thought would be possible. This training season (February-August) I averaged 49 hours of swimming, biking, running, lifting, and yoga-ing monthly. Last year was a measly 38…pff! Big, big difference and I’m hoping that makes up for it. I’ve got goals and dreams and aspirations, like any athlete would, but having the race in my backyard will *hopefully* get me the advantage I’m looking for. If nothing else, I will know what to expect more than most…Oh Brockway Summit, the bloodied battlefield on which many will be slain not once, but twice. Lactic acid meltdown awaits for your quads and hammies!! >;[

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Training for these races (if one could even call them that) is a very strange phenomenon. My dog understands the impact because, well, she suffers the most from it. All those hours in a kennel while I’m out gallivanting on my bike or trekking through the woods, running shoes in tow. The time commitments really require sacrifice and take their toll very quickly and very abruptly. Last year was so busy and frantic – an MBA program plus IRONMAN stacked within six weeks of each other. It didn’t seem possible, and it certainly wasn’t the sane thing to do. I’ve written about the passing of time in many, many articles, but this go round feels a little different. It’s freaking September people! GAH! This August had been much cooler than any in recent memory, and it is so refreshing and yet I am a bit disgruntled that I didn’t have much of my summer to relax and do summery things. Instead of trekking across the Sierra Nevadas, I spent most of my three months busting my butt (literally) on my bike, which I have a very close and real emotional bond with now, running over pavement and through forested areas, getting my yardage in the pool, and trying to construct an overall life balance that is more a desperate pursuit of a sanity check and less true balance. You know you’re desperate for recovery when you have discussions with inanimate objects that you spend hours with such as your bike and/or water bottles.

I am super stressed – like, ouch. My coping mechanisms rarely fail me but getting sub-par quality sleep, crushing an incongruous training regime, working, and still being happy and social just takes it out of me. Ironically, I cannot wait until September 22nd. I will be done with all of the madness and yet college football season will have just begun!  A year’s worth of accomplishments will finally be laid to rest, and I can resume being a normal human being again. Ahhh, the soothing sigh of relief.

The dullness is beginning to seep into my bones, and I feel tired, worn, and just ready to get it over with. Doesn’t mean I don’t love swimming, biking, and running, and it certainly doesn’t mean I regret how I spent my six months of prep, but it is just go time. I’ve had a busy year and a very busy race season, and the time has come to get back to a somewhat calm reality. I have board games to play, wines to try, adventures to go on, and friends to chill with. Sleep needs catching up on, I would like to try some new food recipes, and my running shoes need a break (or I from them).

I nearly had a heart attack when I woke up today and there were only 18 days left. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I better find a new way to regain my razor’s edge. Listening to AC/DC will be a great start but I need to find the mental and physical freshness to tackle my upcoming mountain. Hopefully, I’m starting with proper sleep to lay a good foundation and figuring out the rest as I go. I expect nothing less than a blur from here through 6 pm on the 21st, but I am making a very conscious effort to enjoy it… all of it! Plus, I have a mother and a very dear friend from middle school coming from out of town to join the local cohort in supporting the racers. Can’t disappoint them!

How do you maintain a cutting edge prior to a big event, such as a trip overseas or a big project at work? What are your keys to success?

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