Alright, I admit it. This last week or so before my first Ironman has me a hot mess. I cannot focus. I’m alternately excited and terrified. Panicked about not being trained enough. Panicked about what I’m forgetting. Sleep has become a long lost friend. Worry has become a new found partner, who I don’t actually enjoy spending time with.
All of that said, I have to say this.
My dear wife is the one that truly deserves the kudos, medals and awards for this race. The time, stress, and laundry, oh the laundry, that she has worked with me over the last 10 months. She is the really amazing one here.
I don’t know how much I’ll get posted between now and Monday, but there will be some more details next week!
If nothing worth doing is easy, and change is hard, then doesn’t it stand to reason that change is worth doing?
I don’t know that I’ve ever had pre race jitters 2 full weeks before a race before, but I certainly do this time. Tapering started the jitters. The second guessing of ‘did I train enough’, ‘am I ready’, and ‘can I finish this’ are all eating away behind at the brain right now, and have been for a couple of days. Sleep is also starting to come at a premium, since there is this crazy mix of emotions that boil down to an almost even mixture of excitement and terror.
As I talk to other first time athletes also tapering for this race, I find that not only am I not alone, but pretty much all of us are in the same boat. There is a lot of panic going on over all sorts of things. Unfortunately, at this point, there really is not a thing we can do to address our worries. So I put down a few things that I am reminding myself:
I can’t control the conditions, I can only pack appropriately.
I am as prepared as I can be. It is what it is.
Race Day won’t come any faster by worrying about it.
Race Day won’t come and slower by wishing it to do so.
I will either finish, or I won’t.
Something WILL go wrong, I need to be prepared and to deal with it.
I will want to quit at some point, I’ve trained enough to know that.
Hopefully, I’ve trained enough to get past that moment.
The people around me that have supported me through training, they deserve medals too.
No, I cannot go for a long ride/run/swim just because I feel good. Stick to the plan.
Whatever happens, it has been worth it to get this far.
Last weekend, a few of us took Sunday morning to cruise up the Chattanooga to give the Choo bike course one last roll before race day in three weeks. Since we were there, and there just happened to be a GoPro Hero4 that was begging to be tested out on OGRE Dru’s trusty ride, we decided it would be a good opportunity to record the ride route for the folks that might want to see the course before race day but simply would not be able to. The HD version is 18gb, so needless to say, it is not available online at the moment. However, we have put a version of the video on our new Youtube Channel so that it is ready for viewing for anyone.
Fair warning, the video is a little jumpy. We learned a few things on this process. First, a tall mount on aero bars is really sensitive to every little bounce and jiggle, so we are working out a design for a better mount set up for future ride courses. In editing, we also discovered that this is a huge amount of footage, with over 4 hours of raw footage. In another decision, this video carries a low volume audio from the bike itself, but there is no music to distract.
Watch the bottom of the screen, we have tried to note major hazards and landmarks along the ride.
Finally, we originally considered selling this work, but at the end of the day, we just don’t feel the stability and image quality of this video warrants a purchase. Instead, what we are going with is a Tip Jar. If you find the video useful, hit the PayPal link and leave a donation. What will these donations be used for? primarily equipment and race fees, but there might be a small usage that applies towards a group meal after IM Chattanooga.
With last weekends completion of the ‘build’ process of the Ironman Training, we are now into what is known as The Taper. During the last few months, there has been a frequent complaint about not wanting to take rest days. If rest days are tough, what is it going to be like for the next two and a half weeks of backing off and tapering into race day? Difficult is probably an understatement. But here is the thing, we know that most Ironman training plans incorporate 3 week long tapers much the same as a typical marathon plan. After doing some research though, that doesn’t look ideal. A better model, might well be to tackle the taper more like ultra-marathon, and endurance cyclists, with little to no taper.
As hard as I find rest days, I concluded that the best thing for me is to maintain a fairly high level of activity, but nothing that is overreaching in terms of distance, speed or heart rate. Not tapering to short times and everything in the ‘recovery zone’ until the final week of the race.
Despite being a complete newbie to the Ironman distance, working with a coach that has been pushing a shorter taper has been interesting, as I have used the 3 week taper for marathons, but never hit race day feeling ‘optimal’.
So what does a tapering training week look like for me?
Monday: 5 mile run & 2k swim
Tuesday: 8 mile run & 20 mile bike
Wednesday: 2k swim m& 20 mile bike
Thursday: 5 mile run & 20 mile bike
Saturday: 4k swim & 12 mile run
Sunday: 65 mile bike & 6 mile brick
Yeah, that is ‘tapering’ the hard way. In other words, not really at all, and I think I like it that way!
This is the sickness that is Triathlon. Once it gets into your blood, you start racing for the sole purpose of justifying the training.