I am in the middle of a big build and have noticed a few things over the past few weeks that I’m regretting not warning people about. There are some days I feel lucky showing up for things basically in one piece. In training for future races, I may send out the following all-points bulletin warning people of my shortcomings and idiot moves. Putting aside all embarrassment, these have all happened or been really close to happening before a big race.
· I will be on the verge of crying, biting your head off, or kissing you on the lips depending on my mood and what you do to me or for me.
· I will get a $124 ticket for running a yellow (red) light ON MY BIKE while trying to finish a workout as quickly as possible.
· My fridge will rarely have enough good food, my apartment will always be messy, and the laundry will never be fully clean or put away.
· I will forget a swimsuit, a wetsuit, make-up, and pants all in the same week. Luckily, I will make due or have some sort of nasty back-up.
· My legs will never feel “fresh” and I will almost always feel tired.
· My mom will call me and leave messages like, “just making sure I still have a daughter in Seattle.”
· I will likely go through a break-up. (Ironman WI – 2009, Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2011, and now Ironman WI – 2012, the first two resulted in great races…) I should clarify; this doesn’t happen for everyone who trains for Ironman and hopefully isn’t a trend, because I plan on racing for years.
· I will have at least a couple dreams about race day: one where I leave the swim for after the bike and run, another where I forget my bike, or another where I talk to Andy Potts about next year’s schedules (in my dream we are both doing Oceanside next year – who knew?). These are just a random sampling, there are many more bizarre-o ones.
· I will fall on my bike more times (2) in five miles than I will have fallen in the past three years. This is because I became a dork at the end of a 100 mile ride and forgot how to clip out. So embarrassing. Luckily, I will ride away unscathed.
· My friends might get engaged, plan weddings, buy houses, do home improvement projects, landscape their yards, and have kids while I am swimming, biking, or running. (I will admit, I think I have the better deal.)
· People will be concerned with how often I eat.
· I will know the best stops for bathrooms, ice, and water during long workouts. And I will go into any gas station, store, or Starbucks regardless of my grossness.
· The few clothes that still fit will be in desperate need of dry cleaning.
· But I will feel a new sense of accomplishment with every workout I complete.
· I will feel more and more prepared for race day.
· Every night I will go to bed thankful for the people who help make my dreams possible, like how my bosses don’t mind when I roll into work late after a 21 mile run, or how my friends offer to make dinner after long bricks, or how supportive and thoughtful the triathlon and running communities can be.
· I will smile during my workouts, laugh with my teammates and training partners, and not get too caught up in any pressure I put on myself.
· And I will remember the journey that got me to the start line. And I will live a fuller life because of the people I meet and the lessons I learn.
I can’t say I’ve ever nailed a perfect balance in this sport and the rest of my life. But I can say that I look back at every season with fondness and pride knowing I gave everything I had at that time and each year helps define me as a person. I’m sure a lot of you are building for races between now and Kona. There are a lot of days that aren’t easy, but they are part of what make you who you are. Don’t get too wrapped up in all the little things because it’s all part of the bigger journey.