As I sit here on the eve of my first Ironman race I reflect on how far I have come. I was severely overweight, not very athletic, and had no idea how to swim. I can’t really pinpoint the exact motivation for the change, there was probably many. Throughout the past few years I have slowly gotten myself into shape. The fear I once had for the water is almost totally gone. I do still tremble at the thought of such a long open water swim, but I know I will be alright. I am not going to die like I once thought was a certainty. That was a major hurdle that I had to overcome, and I did. I have discovered a lot about myself in the process. I can do things that I never thought possible. If you would have told me I could swim 3.8k, bike 180k, and then run a marathon I would have pissed myself laughing. Yet here I am, about to attempt just that.
My incremental victories and setbacks are well documented in my blog. Thank you to everyone that has read the blog, made comments, and provided inspiration along way. This is not a journey that is possible to do alone, and I haven’t done it alone. Family, friends, acquaintances, Swampers, co-workers, training partners, all have had a small part in helping me dip my toes in the water tomorrow morning. This past year Coach Z and the entire IronStride team has given me the final push. I complain constantly about the workouts Coach Z provides, but I wouldn’t be as prepared without his knowledge and friendship. I also wouldn’t be prepared without the help of my PT, Scott Vowles at Progress Physio. He has put me back together a few times recently.
So how do I define success for my race tomorrow? I have thought about this plenty over the last few weeks. I could set an overall time goal. I could set individual time goals for each of the three disciplines. I have read a lot that “process” goals are the way to go. As an example, instead of saying I want to finish the swim in an hour and twenty minutes, the process goal could be to concentrate on smooth, long strokes, breathing every three. The benefit of a process goal is that if you do the right process related things, the time will take care of itself. However long it takes is incidental. You can’t be disappointed with the result of a process goal. Back to the definition of success, from my perspective I have already been successful. I have completed the training, done the hard work of getting up early for long workouts, ate properly, and tomorrow I will be on the start line. Tomorrow’s race is just the celebration of what I have already accomplished. Success was getting here and will not be defined by what happens in the morning.
What will happen to my blog? After all it was created for the sole purpose of tracking my training and setbacks. I will have to give this some thought as I stare at my finisher’s medal late tomorrow night.
See you at the finish line, tomorrow…..