Well ladies and gentlemen, the big race of the year is almost upon us. Toeing the line of my first ironman in 3 days’ time…to say the last few days have been an emotional roller coaster is an understatement. Unlike most of my training days, my appetite has vanished into thin air and I have trouble falling/staying asleep at night. My days are spent obsessing over every little thing that could derail my race – keeping sick coworkers way away from me, taking unhealthy amounts of vitamin C, paying super close attention to curbs (I don’t want to break an ankle now), checking and rechecking the weather forecasts/packing lists/Q&A list from coach/athlete guide/reservations in Tempe.
On Saturday I dropped Rue off at Sports Basement. She will make the journey to Arizona before me, in the company of other fancy bikes courtesy of Tri Bike Transport. All I had to do was take her pedals off and say good bye. No fuss, no hassle. Just what I needed.
I had major separation anxiety after that, and freaked out when I didn’t receive a confirmation email from TBT within the next hour saying they had my bike.
Then after my fitness upkeep swim on Sunday, my goggles finally broke.
Nobody panic, I do have another pair (a newer, less fog-prone pair actually). But this was a bit of a poignant moment for me (in my ironman brain mush haze). I got this pair of reflective, tinted goggles when I started training for my first sprint triathlon almost 3 years ago. It’s seen everything I’ve seen as a total noob; it’s seen me stop and gasp for air every 25 yards when I first started “swimming” again, it’s seen the random stranger who told me I looked like I was running underwater, it’s seen my first sprint, first olympic and first half ironman. It’s seen the endless laps I’ve put in at masters swim. It’s seen the horrors at Aquatic Park, and at times caught my tears when everything went wrong. And then 7 days before my first ironman, it broke on me. As if to say, “You don’t need me anymore. You are no longer that awkward, slow-drowning girl. Go get your bling!”
I’ve had a lot of people support and inspire me during this journey. One of them is Courtney, another athlete of Coach P’s, who completed her first ironman at Canada earlier this year despite severe knee issues very late in the game. She is my hero and beacon of hope, and she was kind enough to let me pick her brain over dinner Monday night (more like, put up with my craziness while I held back the urge to beg her to do the race for me). She left me with some words of wisdom, and this parting gift.
It really does take a village to raise an ironman, and I’ve been thinking a lot about all the people who’ve helped me get to where I am today. Lots of fragments of conversations and moments that culminated in sufficient critical mass to get me on this track, then keep me going. There are too many names to list, but I am so thankful for every one of you. My heart is full of gratitude as I pack my bags and hunker down till the cannon on Sunday.
That’s all we packed for the both of us. 95% my crap. Norm is bringing a few t-shirts, that’s it. And a garbage bag for me to puke in.
Thanks for joining me on this crazy ride. I’ll be re-reading my own blog on the way to Arizona to remind myself how far I’ve come, and let that be my strength on race day.
See you on the other side!