It is with some trepidation that I am now at the end of the day on this, the 10th full day before my first ever Ironman. Looking back on the last 290 days, I can honestly say I have never worked so long and hard for any one thing in my entire life.
That’s a kind of bittersweet statement — to think that “just a race” has warranted so serious and full a commitment compared to all of the other things in life that are so much more important. But, it is the truth… and if I take a step back and focus on the bigger picture, the “race” is probably more representative of my desire to test myself, and see just how much I can push myself to do, without cracking.
So… what have I accomplished in the last 290 days to prepare myself for this test? Well, to put it bluntly I have done more swimming, riding and running than I care to even think about. I’ve let many friendships lapse… declining invitation after invitation to parties, cottages and evenings out. I have been (somewhat happily) without my kids for the last 5 weeks or so — they’ve been off until earlier this week on the east coast visiting their grandparents with their mum. I say somewhat happily because while I have missed them, their absence has also afforded me the opportunity to focus on my training without the guilt of trying to trade time with them for time on my own. I have also spent countless hours living and breathing this goal. And even more hours writing about it — somewhat obsessively. To the point that for many who now know me, this *is* my identify. The “guy who is doing an ironman”.
So in the next 10 days do I have lots to do? Well… yes and no. Clearly I am now into my taper. I continue to work out daily, but the workouts are starting to shorten with the idea that my body will benefit more from the rest it is getting than necessarily from the work associated with any new workouts. I need to stay fresh — hence complete rest is not a good idea. But my body needs the time and ability to recharge the batteries and repair any latent damage done with all the volume of training.
I also have some “last minute” things to do in prep for the race itself. I got my haircut today (desperately overdue), picked up some new tubes and CO2 cartridges from the bike shop (this seems to have been the “summer of flats” for me!), and have started to organize odds and sods of gear that I will need with me when I head off. I have started to think about my schedule – when will I leave, from where… what do I need to pack, what will I get when I am there. In fact, that “final planning” had kicked into high gear today as I finally received notification that the athlete’s guide is available download!
And, even while I am still obsessed with the race itself, I am starting to think about the days and weeks after the race. What will I do? How will I feel? With all the “free time” I will have – with a reduced training load — how will I keep busy? And fit? And happy?
I’m sure those questions will answer themselves. And I’m sure the relationships I have let lapse will renew… or at least most of them will. And I’m sure I will have more time and attention for those that mean so much to me. And have supported me through all of this – actively or passively…
As a reminder… I would appreciate any support you all could give towards achieving my fundraising goals in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society. To give, simply follow the links: