Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's Taper Time

It's finally here....the beloved taper.  I've had this day marked on my calendar for a while now.  It was the date that kept moving me forward when my Achilles was sore.  I just told myself I needed to make it to taper.  If I could push through and get in my training, the taper would be when I could let off the gas pedal and focus on getting healthy.  Well folks, it's finally here.  I'm proud to say that I've made it through the bulk of my Ironman training and it's now time to mend some wounds, get some rest, and mentally prepare for the juggernaut of August 28th, 2011.  In two weeks I'll be toeing the banks of the Ohio River ready to test my body, heart, and mind.  In two weeks I'll make my Ironman debut.

As you can see, the last 2 weeks have been pretty hectic for me.  I've had almost zero opportunities to sit down at home and write a blog post.  It wasn't the smoothest two weeks for me either.  Training began to catch up with me and I was physically and emotionally drained.  It was humbling to admit to myself that I was tired and overwhelmed.  I generally stay pretty calm and even-keeled.  I rarely get upset and I'm pretty good at masking my fatigue.  It finally caught up with me though.  I was moody. I was emotional.  I was exhausted.  I can't really explain what the tipping point was, but once I stepped back and examined the situation I knew it was a combination of training, work, and life.  My sleep pattern was off, my schedule was off, and my body was off.  Thankfully I was able to right the ship and fix my problems.  I missed a workout or two along the way due to work and bike issues which was probably a blessing in disguise.  I don't willingly skip workouts very often.  Well-timed, uncontrollable missed training sessions tend to be the ones that help the most.  A quick trip to Austin also helped take my mind off training for a couple of days as I kicked back at the lake and sat poolside without goggles in hand.  Overall, I felt like the last 2 weeks were a big picture look at what I'll feel on race day.  Cram all those emotions, stress, fatigue, and unpredictability into one day and you get the Ironman.  It was a good primer and another chapter to add to the journey.

Another important thing to note, during my absence I also received my bib number (#1001) and my athlete guide.  Both brought about emotions that ranged from queasiness to relief.  It's amazing how this process teases you every day.  Some days you feel ready and some days you feel grossly unprepared.  Some days you feel so excited you can't contain yourself and some days you feel scared to death.  The whole maiden Ironman voyage is one I'm not really sure I'll be able to replicate anytime soon.  It's not until I decide to continue to up the ante to something even more extreme that I'll be able to match this whirlwind.  It's no secret that endurance athletes are adrenaline junkies.  We feed off the race day atmosphere and the nerves.  It's what drives us to continue our pursuit of new challenges.  The nerves make you feel alive.  The nerves make you feel like you are being tested.  Conquering the nerves and fears is what make us grow.  It's the growth we experience physically, mentally, and emotionally that keeps us coming back for more.  I know I'll be back for more.  This endurance sports world has me hooked.

Finally, I want to say thank you to those who have stuck around this summer.  I haven't posted as much.  I've been hampered by injuries.  I've complained a little about the heat.  One thing that has always been constant is the support from those around me.  I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  The people in my life who make up my team are the ones who keep me going.  My family, friends, colleagues and the blogger world are all sources of motivation when I'm tired or second guess myself.  You all have never doubted me.  I'll do my best to make you all proud on race day.  Two more weeks and I'll lay it on the line for you.  Dream big.  Work hard.  Make it happen.  

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