Staring Into the Eyes of the Ironman

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He stands there, smirking, daring you to make a move, because he knows once you do, with a flick of his wrist you would be dust. You are not strong enough to face him … he will win no matter your tactic. He can beat you on any level and any surface; on the water … on the road … in the sand. You have lost before you have even begun.
The Ironman looms in my future … one weekend away. I am facing it with a year of Sprints under my belt, and one Olympic, none of which I was even remotely close to the top portion of my age group. And now I dare to take on a distance of 70.3 miles, which includes a 1.2 mile swim (that I know I can do), a bike of 56 miles (my longest has been 43 and my ass is still pissed off at me), and a 13.1 half marathon (which I have completed 3 of, including a full marathon, and none after riding and swimming).
I am told by everyone that “I got this”. My ever present and supportive training partner scoffs at the idea of any failure to complete it on my part. My fellow Team in Training teammates have no doubt that I can complete this. My coach, and other fellow bloggers, offer insight into my training, what I need to be doing, where I need to be. It’s all helpful, but in the end it is the little man inside my head that makes the final decision.
Will I be able to meet the challenge?
I have no doubt about that. I will suit up and hit the water at 7:05 AM with my assigned wave. I will swim in the pack and come out of the water. I will ride my bike for 56 miles, standing on the pedals when I need to, getting off and stretching if I have to, and then I will complete the 13.1 miles running/walking/crawling.
I will NOT fail at this task … I will finish this race and hear my name called out … JC Harris … you ARE an Ironman ….
At some point, however, finishing stops being the goal, because you KNOW you can finish. Finishing is not the point. Improving is the point. Being a first attempt helps because there is not a similar race to compare it against. I can race Crystal River this year and directly compare it to last year. So I use current pace averages and add some for the fact that it’s a longer race.
So using that method I can guesstimate that my swim will be around 50:00, T1 about 5:00, Bike around 3:45:00, T2 about 7:00, and Run around 3:15:00. That is a race time of 8:02:00. So I assume anything UNDER that is a success? Seems like an awful long time to be a GOAL. I may be under-estimating my ability a bit on the bike and run (using 15 mph and 15:00 pace). I am not sure I can cut much more off of that though. Hose that have done this distance and reading this, how badly does an 8 hour race suck? Be honest!
To top it all off I have to go to a podiatrist tomorrow morning to get a foot issue checked out, which hopefully is nothing more than a bruise of some sort that wrapping, ice, and a bit a rest will take care of, because I am racing no matter what. 

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