Monday, September 22, 2014

     I am less than a week out for my big race! I am officially in what "they" call taper mode. Its kinda crazy. Taper means, I now have time to cook, clean and do laundry. I also have an enormous amount of time to practice my finish line smile, or pose! Come on, you know you do that too.. I mean I always have an idea and then all of my pictures end up with my mouth half opened, my hair stuck to my head in awkward positions, and my shirt either pulled up so my muffin top is showing, or my shoulders slouched so I look a hunchback! haha I wish I could have enough energy at the end to jump, or have like this awesome accomplished look on my face, but the truth is instead of looking cool, or tough, I look like I am sitting on the toilet trying to ,well you know!
    Anyway, as I look back at these last 9 months, I realized how much I have learned, how much I am ready for race day, and how many people it took to actually get me here. I thought this race would be all about me, and I have found even though it started out that way, it has become something so much bigger than that. I  am amazed at the things you learn while training for any race, and how with each one, there is so much more life lessons to learn, about people, and yourself.  I could not have done this on my own, and if it would have continued to be only about me, well I would have given up long ago. You don't realize it, when you begin ,but you are reminded of it at the end.
     I could not have  trained for this race without the love and support from the Captain and my kids! The time they have put into this has been insurmountable. From getting up with me to do long rides, to changing plans so that I can train, to going without a homemade meal, clean laundry or house, they have been my rock. I have witnessed first hand unconditional love, and feel grateful for the family that I was blessed with. I have a husband who continually surprises me on the depth of his love for me, and my children's selflessness has been overwhelming at times.
     My friends and family that also have encouraged me, believed in me, and listened to hours of details on aches, pains, nutrition, and courses even when they want me to shut up, but wait patiently for me to finish. Even strangers that have somehow found out about it, the lady at the park in general conversation, the moms I run with, my swim group, my Augusta FB 70.3 page have all played a role.
   Through this whole process, I have been reminded that we are all the same, only different. The interest, the encouragement, and the advice that was so freely given. I have seen people that look at me with hope, inspiration, and pride. Not because of me, but because of what I am doing simply reminds them, that anything is possible. Maybe it isn't a race for them maybe its going back to school, its a painting class,  its a tennis club, staying single, getting married, or maybe just permission to be something other than what life decides for us to be. Whatever it is, I am happy that I have been able to allow other people, women especially, to see that the potential for us, the limits we put on ourselves for whatever reason, can be overcome. I am just an Extra Ordinary woman, living an extraordinary life, I am no different than anyone.
At the beginning of the race, I thought it was only about me and my personal reasons, but now it has become all about you, all about us. Everyone of us, that was told we can't, to settle, to accept, to  endure, to submit. For all of us, that thought we couldn't , or we shouldn't. Those of us who believed the lies that  we will never be good enough, fast enough, determined enough, or strong enough.
We are all in the bigger race together, this race we call life. We have one common goal, to get to an imaginary finish line, a job well done, a feeling of self accomplishment, an accolade, a renewal, survival. We need each other, we can not get through life alone, just like this race, life was meant to be shared with people. We are "in this" together.  So thank you to all of you. Although,I will be the one doing the race, you are all there in my heart, and as I cross the finish line, I know that each one of you carried me along the way.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Final Countdown

    There are only two weeks left until my big race! I admit I am totally scared, more like terrified! I go from being super excited to completely anxious . I can feel totally ready in one training session, and then find myself questioning my sanity during another. The endless amount of energy of turning this race over and over in my mind is completely exhausting. I am already losing sleep.When I am not training, I am thinking of ways to train more efficiently, or about race day nutrition.  I am scouring the web to find any and all information on things from what glides to use, to what bars to eat, lens colors on goggles, and hydration systems. When I am finished gathering all of that information, I am busy devouring blog posts on other people who have done a 1/2 iron man, from the elites to the novices'! I am officially on information overload. I need the race to be here, and I need this race to be another month away!
     Now that I am at the end of my training, (this will be my last intense week), and then I will start tapering.. Oh yeah, I guess I will be researching on what that even means this week! I am realizing its not enough to have your  body physically ready for this, but I need to start training my mind. I have been told, on many occasions, that I am my own worst enemy. I now need to start believing I can do this race.  All this training will have been for nothing, if I don't believe it.
       What am I afraid of? I have been asking myself this question a lot lately. I mean I have done every one of the distances I need to do for this race(1.2 mile swim.56 mile bike.13.1mile run) maybe not all at the same time yet, but enough combinations to know that I can do them. I know in my heart I have used my training time the best that I could. I have fallen many times on my bike, and have had road rash, skinned knees, and swollen wrists. I have had shin splints, and double plantar fasciitis in my feet. I have had aches, pains, bruises, and blisters in places that I don't need to mention. So I am not afraid of pain, that is part of this whole process! So is this fear even justifiable? I don't know.
      Yes, I have been asking myself this question a lot lately, you do that on four hour bike rides, and two hour runs!. So, here it is, I am afraid of, putting in all this hard work, and not being able to finish the race. Disappointing all my friends and family that have supported me and believed in me. Not making the cutoffs. Dead bodies(for some reason I worry they will be in the river)! Even how I will measure up to the other athletes.
     But, here's the thing, at this point in the game I have two choices 1.Give up or  2.Go to the race. that's it. I mean realistically, most people wouldn't care, some would be happy that I just shut up about it, and the only person that I would be giving up on would be myself.
     However, I realize despite all of my fears for race day, I have an even bigger fear. Not knowing. Not knowing if  I could have done it. Not knowing if I would have been strong enough, determined enough, or brave enough. and that is why #1 isn't an option for me. You see, I would rather go and know , then quit and wonder. At least if I go and am not able to finish, I will learn and  grow, as an athlete and as a person. I will know what worked, what didn't, and how I can improve for the next one. I understand that even the most experienced athletes have to be a little afraid, because on race day there are too many unknown variables, it is unlike training.
      However, what makes us different isn't that we aren't afraid, its that we continue to race in spite of our fear. Its the "what ifs" that drive us, that motivates us and why we keep signing up again. We channel our fear into energy on race day. We understand that crossing a  finish line is not the only way to win our race. Having the courage to keep showing up, and giving it all we've got, regardless of failed training plans, injuries, the nah-sayers, and even our own self, that is the real prize.
    Too many people would rather live in the wonder years.. I wonder if I could, I wonder if I can, I wonder how they do that, I wonder if.... I want to live in the know. I want to know what I'm made of, I want to know what I'm capable of, I want to know that I own my life, and that I live it unabashedly without regret, I want to know that I am stronger than even my own fear.
      So yeah, maybe in spite all of my hard work, I won't be able to finish this race but,I won't have failed, because failure would be not trying in the first place. I am in the final countdown and as far as I'm concerned I already have my prize, now I just need to go get that medal!