One of our friends, who is doing Ironman Arizona with us, mentioned that we are now 32 weeks away from the race. Somehow, that makes it seem closer than if you say “eight months”. But Craig and I have been training really well lately. And this weekend alone, we both did a 4,000-yard swim, 62-mile bike ride, and some running (Craig ran a total of 12 miles & I ran 8). I feel really good about where we are at.
Our focus right now is the first weekend in May. We have a 56-mile bike ride that Saturday, followed by a 3-mile swim on Sunday. I am mostly concerned about the swim. The water will be cold, and the distance will be further than I’ve ever gone on a swim. So, I see it as the first big test of my Ironman journey. But I’m trying to see everything as an experience, something to be absorbed and something I can learn from. That takes some of the pressure off and let’s me focus on what I can gain from the event – no mater what the outcome.
When I had just completed the first of the two half-Ironman races I have done, I couldn’t imagine doing it again, let alone trying a full Ironman. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had learned a lot and could take those lessons into the next race.
This is one way in which the anxiety before a big race is not at all like what you feel going into a kidney donation! With my kidney donation, I had anxiety, but I knew my “performance” was not on the line. It was really all up to the surgeons. If there were lessons to be learned, they weren’t mine. I guess I did learn from the experience of having major surgery and recovering from that, though. I feel so lucky in so many ways — from having good health to having good doctors and nurses, to having amazing support from family, friends, and work.
I remember running near my Mom’s house the day before my surgery. I wanted to get one more run in, since I knew I wouldn’t be able to run again for a while. And in the back of my mind I thought of the slightest possibility that I might not get to run again at all if something went freakishly wrong. It made me savor that run like no other.
I visited my mom and stepdad recently, and I ran in the same place. It was interesting to reflect back on that day and remember how I was feeling then. Nervous, a little unsure, but ultimately certain about the surgery and what I was about to do. I know I will be like that the day before IMAZ also. I’ve gotten nervous before other races – to the point of being sick to my stomach. But it hasn’t prevented me from going through with the race. I hope our training and all the experiences we have this spring and summer will prepare us for that day before the race, and then the race itself, thirty-two weeks from now.