Life is hectic. The school year finished with the hundreds of activities, projects and parties that entails; the Camillus House Children’s Run Team has launched and I’ve gotten to work on some great campaigns for McFarland, USA, Youfit Gyms, and Moen. It’s been non stop.
And somehow my training for Ironman Lake Placid is getting done. On any given Sunday I look at the training week ahead and panic: “how am I going to do that?” Yet every week, with a little creativity, I get 90% of it done. It’s not good enough to crush the Lake Placid course, but good enough to get me to the finish line. In my heart of hearts, I really don’t expect any time goal. I am being super conservative in my expectations and I may surprise myself, but unless I don’t finish I will not be disappointed as I was in Ironman Arizona.
This journey has been a delight so far. I feel grown up, mature and confident. My training has been doable in the way my life is constructed. The heavy stuff starts now with three challenging weeks ahead, one of which I really don’t know how I will make happen. But it will. At least as much of it as can be.
I vowed to take better care of my hair and skin in this journey, and I found a great partner with SheaMoisture. No, I am not paid to say that, but my hair is in better shape than ever given the limitations of training and living in hellish humid Miami. I’ve been protecting my skin, and have learned a few tricks, but still haven’t found THE solution to my increasing wrinkles. Maybe it just doesn’t exist, I don’t know.
Back to training though. Ironman is unpredictable: from weather, to gear, to nutrition so many things can and do go wrong. I am not worried about those, I just figure I will deal with them as they come. Yet sometimes I fall prey to the voice in my head that says “stop fooling yourself, you are not doing enough.”
I am used to worrying about stuff and things working out. I am afraid that if I don’t worry, things will fall apart. I know it’s silly but Ironman is silly if you think about it. Who pays a lot of money to swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 and THEN run a marathon?
I am rarely leaving my comfort zone during training, and when I do, it’s because I am in the mood to be pushed. I call those shots. I’m enjoying this training more than anything I have done before, because it is not overpowering me, or scaring me into an obsession. Yet all of Lake Placid is outside my comfort zone due to the mountains. Should I be out of my comfort zone more often? Is that what it will take to get ready?
Then again, I’ve pushed myself so many other times that I know what it feels like and mentally I should be ready to tackle discomfort, fatigue and the negative thoughts that will undoubtedly enter my head.
Ironman is about psychology as it is about fitness.
And so is climbing on a bike. I know my legs can get my bike up an incline. I do it every week at the Ultrabikex Studio on a computrainer – the one thing I definitely get out of my comfort zone for. But climbing outdoors is different. I feel insecure about both my bike handling skills, and my psychology on a long steep climb. I remember racing in Portugal and crying. I was told not to look up but inevitably I did and the mountain seemed to overpower me. That’s my fear. Will I make it up? I can go slow, spin like crazy, struggle and walk if that were the case. Right? That’s my only concern: the swim should be fine, the run will be slow, the bike is my question mark.
I won’t have the opportunity to train on the course before the Ironman, and chances are I won’t be heading to the only mountains near me (a 4 hour drive) before then either. I just have to deal with it, and not psych myself out.
If I don’t pay attention to the little voice, I am on track. Even if delusional, life is a lot better when I am not obsessive and freaking out. So all I need to do is trust my training and know that it will be a tough day, but a tough day that I can handle.