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!