I’m freaking out. I’ve got about 5 weeks to go until the first large scale test of my athletic abilities (Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa!). Too many thoughts are going through my mind. Do I remember how to transition? Should I go back to gels? I haven’t climbed enough. I need to climb more. How good is my run, really? My hydration system sucks.
If you’re a close friend or family member, then I apologize for having blown up your phone at some point over the past couple days with my freak out texts. Strangely enough, I remember a similar period of freaking out ahead of Tahoe, but by then I was so burned out on training that I just wanted it to be over. This time, I don’t want it to be over. I want a time machine.
Coach Gerry has a great story that he tells frequently (which is his favorite way to tell stories). It’s an intriguing parable for moments of doubt and uncertainty––he tells you to imagine two wolves, one on each shoulder. One is the good wolf, the one that tells you that you’re strong, that you can finish this set or run up this hill or make it to the end of the climb. The good wolf knows what you can do, and even things that you don’t know that you can do. The other is the bad wolf, the one that tells you that you’re weak or hungry or tired. That you didn’t sleep enough, that you didn’t train enough. Or that you trained too much and just can’t do it. The two wolves fight with you in the middle. So which one wins?
As Coach Gerry always reminds us, the winner is the wolf that you feed.
So back to me. 5 weeks really is a long time, and as a friend pointed out to me, this race only represents the beginning of the season. I have a full Ironman (Ironman Arizona!) planned for the fall, and quite possibly another half in September, so my priorities for the year should concern building up slowly so that I can handle the necessary volume.
There will be time, needs to be my mantra. There will be time for climbs. There will be time multi-hour, double-digit runs. Time for perfecting nutrition and power output. Another text from Coach Jim warned me against the downward spiral of trying to compare my numbers to those of others (which is especially difficult for a numbers junkie like me) so I’m trying to be peaceful about it. For now I’ll take deep breaths and feed the good wolf.