With only four days to go until THE BIG ONE!!! (OMG ONLY FOUR DAYS!!!) it's time to do a little check up. A mental and physical inventory, if you will.
Mentally, I'm feeling surprisingly great. Last year I was scared out of my mind. I couldn't sleep. I struggled to eat. The enormity of it scared the crap out of me. I would envision the finish and I would lose it. This year, things are different. I've had GREAT training - not only physical - but great mental training. I'll admit it, last year I would do bike rides with my iPod stuck in one ear. I was bored by the training. I just couldn't get my head wrapped around it. This year my mind is sharp. For very long stretches of my bike rides my mind would completely wipe. This happens to me when I run and it has served me well. In addition, I'm approaching the race differently. Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. I felt like I had something to prove. And although I think I'm going to do great this year, I don't care if this race takes me all damn day. I'm finishing it no matter what. I'm approaching the race as three separate parts and thinking of each of them as practice. Even breaking up each sport separately, I'm even going deeper than that. For the swim, I'm thinking only four strokes at a time. This is how I breathe when I swim. I will only concentrate on my form and four strokes. For the bike, honest to goodness, I'm breaking the ride up into 5 minute and 15 minute segments. This is when I take my nutrition. The bike will be just a big eating-fest to get to the next segment. I'm not going to think about how long I've been on the bike course or what my average pace is. It's all about heart rate and eating. The run is about 50 steps. Yep, "Just 50 Steps." I even wrote that on my sticker that will go on my Garmin. I can truly count to 50 over and over again for an entire marathon. And if it comes to that, that's what I'll do. Mentally I'm feeling really strong and relaxed leading into the weekend.
Physically, things seem to be falling into place. The minimal workouts have caused me to be a bit jittery. Like, I have too much energy. I DO have too much energy - I haven't been able to nap at all. But, I have been sleeping soundly. Last night I got over 8 hours of sleep. No nightmares either. I've closely monitored my weight during training. After losing 10 pounds between November and March, I haven't gained a single pound of it back. This week, although I'm feeling pudgy and bloated (and can tell my clothes are fitting a bit tighter), still no weight gain. My workouts have been spot on. Swimming is controlled, biking is relaxed, and running feels very natural.
So, what do I expect this weekend? Well, I've decided to take the timing expectations out of it. Sure, I'm sure I can swimbikerun X:XX:XX, but who cares. I want to be proud of how I approached the race. I want to have fun and smile and ENJOY the experience. I want to walk away from this entire two year ironman process and say yes, I did this. It doesn't matter if I go 11 hours or 16:59:59. In the end, I will still be an ironman.
See you there...