Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ever Mindful

Waffling Wavering Irresolute Uncertain Dithering...

of two minds

That is what I am. Of two minds.

My days recently have been split when it comes to thoughts of September. And, frankly, that's all I think about. I think about it in the shower and before I fall asleep and when I just wake up and while I'm going to the potty and when...well, you get the point.

All. The. Freaking. Time.

Normal, I suppose.

But my thoughts -- and emotions -- are all over the place. Sometimes, when the sun is out and I'm having a strong ride and my legs feel like they can go forever -- I feel like a million bucks. Like Ironman is absolutely attainable. That it's well within my grasp and can't we get there now, like right now, like immediately??? I'll go pack and you get the car started. Let's GO!

Those times are good. Frenetic good. I come home and regale Mighty M with all my fresh plans for what to bring and how I'm going to manage my nutrition and he smiles, nods at all the right places and patiently waits until I wander out of the room, injected with this new sense of power and urgency.

Good times.

Then others, I wake in a state of fear and panic. I think about average speeds and run pacing. I think about cut-offs and DNFing. When I drive in my car, I calculate in my head how hard that hill we just went over would be at mile 20 in good weather and mile 100 in the rain. I'm constantly calculating my limitations and comparing them to a race I've never started in a region I've never visited.

Those times I'm convinced I'll miss the bike cutoff. Or that I'll make the bike cutoff, but not leave myself enough time for running/walking the marathon. I have images of having my chip pulled from my leg, a lonely transport back to the starting line and crying into the corner of M's neck.

Not. Good. Times.

I am of two minds.

In the background of all of this, I'm coming to the conclusion that my state of schizoid indecision is a process more than anything. And it all has to do with what I talked about with a co-worker the other day (hi, Margie!).



There...I said it outloud. I have to be alright with the possibility that I won't finish this race before I cross the Wisconsin state line. I have to be 110% clear about my own reasons for starting this, so I don't get lost in my head out there. And, those reasons have to allow for pulling myself or being pulled from the course.

One thing I'm sure of is that 140 miles is more than enough time to get lost in your head. And 140 miles is more than enough time to struggle with hills and IT bands and nutrition and hydration.

So much can happen out there. So much I cannot control now.

And I think all this waffling and wavering is part of the process. A roundabout, completely inefficient and likely impractical way of getting to that answer...but I never claimed to good at this, peeps. I'm a newbie with a date for the dance in Wisconsin. I dream big.

So, I will continue my training as planned and take full advantage of the high points and my moments of mojo, and try to come up with an answer to the question:

Am I willing to risk falling short so that I can go at all?

Because I've become convinced that being willing to not finish is my key to being able to finish at all.


Amy said...

I smiled and cringed as you ran through your thoughts. I have been in this spot so many times. Been totally consumed by an event and been supercharged and utterly defeated and sometimes all in the same thought.

So, hey - you are normal and you care! Passion can carry you a long way! Ride the way of energy to the last drop and use logic to work through the things that bug you. But in the end, it is what it is. So much to think about, so little to worry about!

Donald said...

I think your concerns and fears are normal. You think about them all the time because they're important to you. Nothing wrong with that.

DNFing is always a possibility, for any of us who start. But it's WAY better than a DNS.

Tom said...

You've done a nice capturing what many of us also think. Your brain is working overtime having racing thoughts--literally. Bask in the reality of your hard training, preparation, and desire. DNF is a possibility but not a likelihood. Keep up your great posting and training. Amy and I enjoy your posts.


LBTEPA said...

That's huge. You're brilliant.

Cliff Tam said...

These are deep thoughts IM Able.

What I thought leading up to the race was 'if i will fail, will i still give 100%?' For some reason, this really inspire me. Maybe this is some sort of mental disorder.

Thanks for your comment..keep training and have fun. Dig deep only on race day :)

Tony said...

Yoe hit it right on the head. I have been thinking of the same things. I guess instead of distressing over finishing I should really consentrate on the reasons why I am racing to begin with. Thanks for the great post, it gives me a lot to thinkabout.

Keep up the great work.

momo said...

as race day comes closer, you will notice you think about it even more - if that's even possible.

your training has prepared your for those what if's during race day. trust it. trust the swimming, the long rides, the runs, the nutrition plan. and be prepared to adapt slightly if need be. if ironman throws you a curve ball, trust that deep down, you know you can do this awesome thing, adapt and continue on and you will be fine. :-)

Dying Water Buffalo said...

Dear IM Able,

I despise you for writing this post and making me more nuerotic about my own IM race in four weeks than I already was. You have reminded me to obsess about everything I was forgetting.

Despicably yours,

;) haha... kidding, KINDA!!! agghh

Meggan Ann said...

"I HAVE TO BE OKAY WITH NOT FINISHING BEFORE I START." ---I just wanted to tell you that this is my biggest demon. The idea of a DNF strikes fear into my heart. In fact this weekend I'm tackling a course that DNF'd me about 2 months ago. But reading your blog really reinforces this fundamental truth of triathlon for me. You DO have to be okay with not finishing. You have to know, deep down inside your heart, that you've done all you can do. That way if crap does happen, you can deal with it and move on.

Thanks. I really needed to read that!

JohnnyTri said...

hey never really thought about this but it is a factor that we all must come to terms with before race day..

but trusting your training is essential as MoMo says.

either way, I am behind you and know you can do it!


Laurie said...

I love that you let yourself be so open and vulnerable with your writing.

I think you express so many other people's fears in a way that touches many. Keep it up. It will serve you well in Wisconsin.

TriTurtL said...

Gosh... Your writing has validated my own thought processes again and again. Thanks for being you.

JenC said...

It is good to prepare yourself mentally. However, my only advice for the actual day (now that I've done it) is to stay in the moment. As you are riding the bike, just get through each mile (or aid station if you have no odometer like I did). Once you get off the bike, you will have plenty of time to walk the marathon if you had to. I walked most of it. Just keep those legs moving and stay in the moment.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing how it goes!

Jane said...

I am so happy for you that you've come to this realization: "Because I've become convinced that being willing to not finish is my key to being able to finish at all." That is MONUMENTAL. I am so proud of you that you are doing this (weird since I've never met you, but you know what I mean.) My favorite quote: Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for? -Robert Browning

Siren said...

I think being ok with not finishing is a lesson every single one of us could learn, no matter what race we're looking at.

And I have no idea if it helps to know that the people who love and support you are ok with you not finishing. Your devoted followers are just happy that you're willing to share this experience with us, and proud to know someone brave enough to take on such a challenge, and to do it publicly. And lots of us will be there to hug you at the end of your race, whether it ends in the finishers shoot or somewhere unplanned.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

huge process, and I am so glad you took the time to write it down.

Can you also do positive visualization, in which you mentally prepare for finishing before you start?

uncadan8 said...

I struggle with these EXACT same issues in regards to LOTOJA in September. I don't feel anywhere near ready enough, but I know that no amount of training will make me FEEL ready. I just have to focus on here and now, and keep riding. Great post.