Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ups and Downs

It's amazing the range of emotions that you go through when training for an endurance sports event.  It seems like the last 2 or 3 weeks I've run the gamut of emotions several times.  Every workout leaves me with something different.  Some days I feel strong and dream of a very successful day on the Ironman Louisville course.  Other days I limp away from a workout wondering how I'm ever going to make it work.  My injury has forced me to really search inside myself to find that guy who never gives up, never quits, and mentally punishes anything standing in front of me.   I've always thought my heart and mind were my two biggest strengths in endurance sports.  Physically I'm not extremely gifted.  I rely on my love of the sport and my mental toughness to power me through the low spots.  The mind is a powerful instrument.  Once you learn how to harness it and apply it positively, you can truly accomplish whatever you desire.  The last few weeks have reminded me of that inner strength that will carry me on August 28th.  I may not be at the starting line healthy, but my mind and heart will be in it for the long haul. 

The magnitude of the Ironman event really is something that humbles me when I think about it.  Last week I had my highest mileage week I've ever had during my 3 years of training, 117 miles.  The sad part was that my week's worth of training didn't even add up to the 140.6 miles I'll be doing on race day.  It really put it all into perspective for me again.  Each week I'm hitting new personal mileage records on the bike and the swim.  Prior to this year, the longest bike ride I had ever completed was a 100K tour last August.  My longest swim had been 1500m last May.  Coming into this process, many people told me I'd get burnt out toward the end of my training.  I honestly expected it to happen too.  In a way, my injury has prevented that inevitable burnout.  I think it has kept me focused and hasn't allowed me to hit that point where I'm tired of training.  I know I need to focus and treat every workout with the respect it deserves.  Any slight lapse of concentration or slip-up could result in further injury and I can't afford to lose the next few weeks of training.  Due to this, I think I've successfully navigated the burnout phase.  That's not to say that sometimes I wish I didn't have to train.  Take tomorrow as an example.  I'm not going to lie and say I'm looking forward to 2.5 hours on the elliptical.  Am I dreading it?  No.   It's like I told my coach.  I don't mind hammering it on the elliptical for 5 more weeks.  To me, it's all part of the journey at this point.  It's all part of my Ironman Louisville story that's being written.   It's crazy that the prologue is nearly 9 months long.  

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