As I was teaching a core blast class, a combination of high-intensity cardio intervals and core work, this week – I apologized for not doing much of it with the members as I’m tapering for Ironman. After class, a woman observed “Ironman Boulder? You seem so calm.”
I’m not sure what she expected. A bundle of shivering nerves? A refusal to live my everyday life in advance of this race? A constant humming chitter-chatter about what the race entails throughout class?
Oh, I’ve seen the not-so-calmness. Just peruse the Ironman Boulder 2014 facebook page and you’d think the world was coming to an end on August 3rd. Questions from water temperature, air temperature, sock choices, tube choices, food choices abound.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten caught up in the drama a few times. Even considered momentarily investing $150 in a speed suit – an alternative to a wetsuit if the water temperature is too warm to be wetsuit legal – but then, I pull myself back. I did order a light-colored tri top yesterday for fear that the black and blue one I had planned on wearing might soak up the sun and overheat me — but that’s not panic, it’s practicality.
All I can really do is trust in my training, and so far, it’s been on track.
With the plan I’m following, I shaved about 30 minutes off my 70.3 from last year. Good sign. I’ve easily completed a 2.65-mile open-water swim (sighting was a little off, hence the longer distance) – I’m not fast, but I certainly survive. I’ve ridden the back half of the course in scorching conditions with little water. I rode 185 miles in a weekend across Colorado feeling better than I’ve ever felt getting off a bike. I’ve run the Epic relay faster than last year with a quick recovery. I’ve done the work – what’s there to panic about?
I also attribute the calm to yoga. I blame yoga (and my husband, an avid triathlete) for getting me in this race to start with. Yoga challenged me to face my fears and self-imposed barriers. Yoga also gives me the tools to recognize that stressing about what can’t be changed is silly. There’s nothing I can do to improve my fitness now, this close to the race. The plan I’ve used so far has worked, so why would I alter it or not trust it now? The weather is going to be what the weather is going to be. I can’t change it. Of course, I’m still checking the 10-day forecast to be prepared – yoga hasn’t made me stupid. (And, by the way – the Saturday before Ironman is 82 with just a 20 percent chance of rain at this point…looking good, but this is Colorado with a mercurial Mother Nature and hopes should not be risen too high). I’ll admit to doing some metta meditation toward anything that seems to be rattling my nerves (other athletes, the weather, any creeping aches and pains) and frankly, it works. Simply sit and focus on sending good karma to that which irks you.
Thus far, I’ve enjoyed the journey and completed events this summer of which I never dreamed. The race is one day, but all the training leading up to it – completing events I never thought I would or could – is also part of the Ironman experience.
So, in these last 10 days, I plan to ride the wave of my training right to the race. I’m not sure I’ll do an Ironman again – chances are, knowing my ability to get addicted to endurance events, I will. I’ll enjoy this one though and (try) not get caught up in the tizzy that could make race day unpleasant. After all, I just want to finish feeling as accomplished as I have after all the events leading up to the race. I feel like I’ve already won.