I'm laying here in Tempe on a beautiful, somewhat chilly Saturday morning, contemplating what I am about to undertake tomorrow morning. The excitement of the expo, the friendliness of the athletes, saying hi to people I know, it's just been a whirlwind experience.
And that's just the past two and a half days.
Imagine how much of a whirlwind experience the entire journey has been.
We first talked about doing this race in 2011, around the time we did our first 70.3 distance. While I believed it would happen, it was kind of hard envisioning it. I mean, I only had a few tris under my belt and had only recently entered the sport. How was I going to undertake this massive task? I had read things about how difficult the Ironman was; saw the heartbreak of people who had come up short. And yet, I wanted to be a part of this.
Fast forward to January of this year. The base began to be built. The foundation, if you will. We grew stronger, faster. Then we hit the actual training program. Suddenly short runs were a thing of the past. Two-a-day workouts became the norm. Bike rides took planning and food had to be thought out. In short, it became real. Fast.
And yet, most of my training has gone very well. For the horror stories I've heard/read about, my training had very few hiccups in it. Even while focusing on upgrade to captain, I never lost focus of my Ironman goal. Take a look at some of the highlights:
- an 85 mile bike ride that took us all the way to the city of Golden
- long swims in St. Louis while I was in airline training
- a sub-9 off the bike when I did my century ride
- pushing through a wrist injury sustained in a crash sometime in August
- PRing at Boulder 70.3 this year
- learning Oreos taste REALLY good on the bike
- so does pizza
- making new friends and learning new things
- a feeling of overall confidence in myself that I have not had in years
- knowing that I can push myself farther and harder
- regular rides to downtown Denver, getting to enjoy great scenery on the way
- swimming miles at a time without even thinking about it
- a PR at the Rock and Roll Denver 1/2 marathon
- admiration from people that I admire
These listed above are just some of the things I discovered on this incredible journey.
Curious as to what I'm thinking this morning. Am I nervous? Anxious? Worried? None of the above. No, right now, I am in a place of zen. If there's such a thing as nirvana, I've achieved it. I will hit that race course tomorrow, give it everything I have, and if what I have is good enough to cross that finish line, then so be it. If it isn't, that's okay too. Considering the battle I have fought to hit that starting line, I'd say the victory is simply toeing it.
Which reminds me. You might be wondering how I got this weekend off of work. I had bid for vacation for it way back last year. The problem is, when I upgraded, I lost my vacation. Well when the November schedules came out, I saw I had the days off beforehand, and the days off after, but the three days over the weekend I did not. I simply emailed the chief pilot, explained what I was about to undertake, and that was that. Got the days off, and a couple good lucks from my bosses. That, right there, is achieving peace.
I'm ready. That's the bottom line. I'm ready for this. I'm ready to test my limits. Ready to push myself to some scary places. And most of all, ready to achieve Infinity.