Flashback to November:
Q1: This’ll be your first Ironman. Are you worried, excited, in shock, all of the above?
Answer: “…The biggest part of training for something like this is making the commitment, waking up and showing up every day – and that’s what I’m going to do. I want to show up on November 17th knowing that I put everything I could into this thing – no regrets. So no, I’m not scared that I won’t finish, because if I don’t finish it won’t be due to something I could have changed.”
Flash forward to today:
The theme of my past eight months of training has been to put in the work, prepare for the unexpected and take all steps necessary to show up on Nov. 17 feeling ready, with butterflies in my stomach, excitement, pride, some natural anxiety, but with zero doubt.
The race is six weeks from today, and I feel great. Endurance-wise, I know I can get through this thing. Hell, if I needed to, I could get through it tomorrow. I’ve followed my training, built up the mileage, honed my confidence and already see myself as an Ironman. Like I said back in November:
“Becoming an Ironman (or an ultra runner, or a brain surgeon, or a freakin’ fairy princess) isn’t something that happens overnight. When I start the 2.4 mile swim, the transformation and achievement will already be done. Crossing that finish line will just be like walking across stage on graduation day. Work’s done – now you just have to prove it and get your medal.”
Now is the time to continue building those last few miles, nurture that confidence, and try to find and address any of those last hurdles that might come your way. While working through a long brick workout yesterday, I found the last hurdle I need to focus on for these last six weeks in order to show up to Ironman Village next month with not a doubt in my mind that I’m ready. Ironically, it goes back to one of the first blog posts I wrote.
I need to take care of my poor, neglected muscles, tendons and joints.
Coming up on the last 20 miles of an 85 mile ride yesterday, I started to think forward to and strategize for a 12 mile run. I was feeling great. The ride actually felt easy, and I was not dreading the long run. I had been excited to test myself with this workout all week, and I felt ready for it. Then, some stabbing knee pain brought me back down to earth, reminding me that I had been neglecting an important part of my training plan.
While I’ve been good about stretching before and after my longer workouts, a negative correlation has developed between increased mileage in my training routine and my hip/adductor strengthening exercises (which were previously prescribed to me for preventing the same patella femoral knee pain).
When my knee bothered me a bit during my Half Ironman, I wanted to nip it in the bud. So, I talked to the PTs I work with, and immediately began incorporating the exercises, foam rolling and stretching that would help prevent it from recurring into my training routine. The thing is, once the pain went away, I got overly confident and let those exercises fall by the wayside. I wasn’t feeling pain anymore during training, so those exercises were no long important, when in fact, the maintenance aspect is probably the most essential part of the prevention.
So, when that knee pain came back yesterday, those exercises were the first thing that came to mind. It went something like “Oh sh*t! Not now! Why didn’t I keep doing those leg raises?!” Of course, being this close to race day, other panicky thoughts crept into my mind. Thoughts of doubt, missed opportunity and fear. The exact thoughts that I do not want to show up to the starting line with.
While I was waiting on the side of the rode for my roommate to come pick me up, my strategizing turned from how I would get through a 12 mile run that day to how I was going to learn from this, and what I was going to do to take control of the situation. I got on the phone with my PT who put my worries to rest, assuring me that this was something we can quickly take care of.
Then, I spoke with my coach who immediately said “don’t worry, we still have plenty of time” and turned the conversation to focus on what my goals are for these next few weeks. The goals had not changed: I want to show up on Nov. 17 with full confidence and zero doubt in my mind that I’ll get through the race. It was the answer to his next question that had changed.
Q1: What do you need to do to accomplish that goal?
Answer: I need to dedicate myself to preventing this knee pain from happening again. If the race were to be tomorrow, I would not doubt my ability to get through it endurance or nutrition wise, I would fear my knee. Whether or not the pain came back, the sole fear would work against me for the entire day. I know exactly exactly what I need to do to solve the problem, so I need to find another 30 minutes each day to do my exercises.
Yeah, my days are pretty packed to the rim as it is, so an easy excuse would be that there are just not enough hours in the day to manage long training hours, necessary nutrition, sleep and then add in more exercises. But hey, maybe it’ll be the half hour I spend at the end of the day before bed, watching Teen Mom, or the lunch break at work I never take.
What are your goals?
What do you need to do to achieve them?
-Live Every Day-