Less than a month to go!
Ironman returns to Wisconsin on September 8th. But we all know that – we’ve been thinking about that date since the moment we signed up, almost a year ago.
We’ve covered a lot of ground since then. There were days back in the spring when we wondered whether we were doing enough – but planning and patience have paid off. This weekend we’ll do out longest single session, then the mega-rides will give way to periods of rest, peak, and finally taper.
Friends who were once unsure whether they’d be able to do it are now feeling confident. The training is working. It’s also taking its toll – we’re tired. Little things make us nervous. We’re ready for the race to be here. We’ve put in the hard work, and we’re ready for this party.
But we still have a month to go. And the last thing a Wisconsinite wants to do is wish the summer away. Recall those icy winter days when we yearned for summer, or those chilly and rainy spring days we anticipated its arrival. Now it’s right in front of us: long days, shorts, warm open water, grills and bands and picnics.
The same sensation will likely occur during the race. By the time you’re on the second half of the marathon (OK, probably also before that), you’ll be looking forward to the finish line. Part of you will want the thing to just be over with – while another part remembers that it’s what you’ve dreamed of for so long, and you don’t want it to slip away. Race like you train: these mixed emotions we feel during the season prepare us for what we’ll feel during the race.
Look at your training schedule for the next month, and look at your life. What do you still need to do – to prepare for the race, and to be confident that when fall comes, you won’t feel like you’ve missed the summer? When the training schedule calls for a one-hour swim, how about packing a picnic to refuel after, while the sun sets? How about inviting a new friend, or an old friend, to join you for a run?
Create moments of stillness: to consider how far you’ve come, to visualize yourself succeeding at your goals, and to simply feel yourself immersed in summertime. Resist the urge to overbook and rush. Through each day, look for the “summer” in everything you do. Open windows. Fresh smells. Farmer’s markets. Warm sunshine. Hilltop vistas of green. These are not mutually exclusive with training.
It’ll all be good practice for race-day. There will be so much to take in, it’ll be useful to have practiced looking around. You’ll be engulfed in positive forces to help get you through the tough patches: the international field, the unconditional fans, your diligent training.
And then suddenly, you’ll turn left onto MLK and be in the finish chute, and this whole training year will come down to one glorious minute. You’ll slow to slap high fives but simultaneously want to sprint to that banner you’ve been craving.
With a single step, you’ll be on the other side of the finish line, and this will all be behind you. Inside you. Conquered forever, confirmed by an epic voice pronouncing your new title to all the world. And in that moment and all the ones after, you’ll be glad you didn’t rush a second of it.
What will you do this month to celebrate your training while enjoying your summer?