Ironman Arizona Week 21: Playing With Fire

Ironman Arizona is in three weeks. THREE WEEKS. I have one more week of training before the taper: a rest period to recover before race time. The taper is a difficult time for many triathletes because we are so used to ridiculous training volumes that tapering gives us time to think and let fear creep in. With two weeks to go, you won’t gain much fitness but you won’t lose any either. What’s done is done. The secret to surviving the taper is to have a mantra and mine has always been … “trust your training.” Trust that you did the work, and you will get the results.

I have a little problem. This year I cannot trust my training because it has been erratic at best. I have one more week to get volume in, and then it will be too late. Then it will be time to practice what I’ve preached. This journey has been more about life than about a race. About fitting triathlon with what is important instead of fitting what is important around triathlon.

I feel like a broken record. I write the same thing week after week, perhaps trying to convince myself. I am faking it until I make it.

This past week was no exception. Life seemed unmanageable. I was tired, rushing around trying to fit in everything I needed to do. I was a hamster on a treadmill. I felt I was catering to opposite forces both of which were important to me: my life and my training.

Trying to mix family time with training by sticking to the trainer and watching a movie with the boys

Trying to mix family time with training by sticking to the trainer and watching a movie with the boys

I understand it’s not always like this. It’s heavy Ironman training time and I don’t always have to fit in a 20 mile run and 80 mile bike ride into a weekend.  But it is right now. It is at this point of my Ironman path, and you know what? I don’t want it.

I don’t like to live like this.

In the past week, between emptying boxes, buying furniture, watching kids, working, and being mom I was not me. One day melted into the other and I did not sit down. Days went by where I literally barely sat and looked at my kids, or cuddled, or spoke to my husband. The list of things to do, training included, was just too big and if I wanted to do it all that was the price I had to pay.

If that is success I don’t want that either.

Ironman Florida was incredible. I trained obsessively and I performed came race time. It was my first foray, my family was behind me 100%, and we all sacrificed “mami” time to make it happen. The second time around seems like … “so what?” “What for?” We are in a different place, and I feel my family needs me more.

I love to sit and watch my kids come up with hair brained ideas like this one.

Dreamer, when dad is in charge

Inside me is a strong current that gets louder and louder telling me … don’t listen to the hype. Don’t get caught up in it. Arizona is going to be awesome. It will be a long day of doing what I love. It will be a supported swim, bike, run. My family will be there, hundreds of people cheering will pull me. Seriously. Who cares if I finish in 13:42 or 16:59 but me?

And if I don’t particularly care why does it matter to me what anyone else thinks? If someone were to judge my finish time, is that the person I want around or much less to have an influence in my life?

It is true; there are no limits. I can do Ironman, I can be there for my family, I can grow my business. I just can’t do it all at the same time, nor all alone. I’m making this last real Ironman Arizona training week the best one I can, and then trust that I did enough to get me to the finish line … content, in peace, and grateful.

That, above all else, is what I really want.

And if I finish like that … chances are, I’ll have found my formula to continue doing crazy endurance stuff without losing my mind.


The week in training:

Sunday: Century ride as an Achilles Volunteer

Monday: SWIM – 1 hour, pretty crappy

Tuesday: RUN – Short 3 miles, pulled my back out from moving boxes

Wednesday: RUN – After chiropractor, six miles

Thursday: Rest – life got in the way

Friday: BIKE – 4 hours on trainer (my Saturday long ride)

Saturday: Rest – busy at an all day training (more soon!)

Sunday: BIKE – 1.5 hours on trainer, intended to swim but got busy.

How was your week?

8 thoughts on “Ironman Arizona Week 21: Playing With Fire

  1. Mixed emotions reading your post. I say mixed, because I loved reading the triathlete’s perspective as I’m always looking at it from the triwife/partner’s view, but sad because you reminded me what my husband is probably thinking before a race and not always verbalizing! His favorite saying several weeks before a race is The Hay is in the Barn! We’ll be in Arizona too. I’ll look for your number and be one of those cheering you on!! Have fun and an awesome day…

  2. You already said it, “Arizona will be amazing.” Life happens, we all have commitments and surprises pop up as well. I’ve been following your blog for several months and I believe you are amazing and will do an amazing job in Arizona.

    I’ll be here cheering for you.

  3. You are getting it done! A lot of things happening at once, but you are doing it! Soon you can relax a bit, have a nice long holiday season. And remember, you have a neighbor right down the street! To hang with. To talk to… What ever!

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