Thursday, November 7, 2013

On being READY

Someone sent me an awesome email with a story written about Penticton by a guy named Hurricane Bob.  I’ve modified it a little and posted it below.  I think this is something I’m going to be reading a lot in the next few days.  I thought you all might enjoy it!

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You've been following your schedule to the letter. You've been piling on the mileage and piling up the laundry, Long rides were followed by long runs, which both were preceded by long swims.

You went out when others stayed home.
You rode the trainer when others pulled the covers over their heads. 

You've now entered taper. Time that used to be filled with never-ending work will now be filling with silent muscles, taking their final, well-earned rest. While this taper is something your body desperately needs, your mind, cast off to the background for so very long, will start to speak to you.

It won't be pretty.

It will bring up thoughts of doubt, pain, hunger, thirst, failure, and loss. It will give you reasons why you aren't ready. It will try and make one last stand to stop you, because your brain doesn't know what the body already does. Your body knows the truth:

You are ready.

Your brain won't believe it. It will use the taper to convince you that this is foolish - that there is too much that can go wrong.

You are ready. 

Finishing 140.6 miles is never an accident. It's the result of dedication, focus, hard work, and belief that all the long runs, long rides, and long swims every damn weekend will be worth it. It comes from getting on the bike, day in, day out. It comes from long, solo runs. From that first long run where you wondered, "How will I ever be ready?" to the last long run where you smiled to yourself with one mile to go...knowing that you'd found the answer.

It is worth it. Now that you're at the taper, you know it will be worth it. The workload becomes less. The body winds up and prepares, and you just need to quiet your worried mind. Not easy, but you can do it.

You are ready. 

On race day, the swim will be long - it's long for everyone, but you'll make it.  You'll come up and head for the wetsuit strippers. Three people will get that sucker off before you know what's happening, then you'll head for the bike. At some point, you'll surely be tired. Doubts will fight for your focus. Everyone struggles here. You've been on that bike for hours, and stopping would be nice, but you won't - not here. Not today.

You'll roll into transition. 100 volunteers will fight for your bike. You'll give it up and not look back. You'll have your bag handed to you, and into the tent you'll go. You'll change. You'll load up your pockets, and open the door to the last long run of your training - the one that counts.

You'll take that first step of a thousand...and you'll smile. You'll know that the bike won't let you down now - the race is down to your own two feet. The same crowd that cheered for you in the shadows of the morning will cheer for you on that Sunday afternoon. High-five people on the way out. Smile. Enjoy it. This is what you've worked for all year long.

That first mile will feel great. So will the second.  By mile 3, you probably won't feel so good. That's okay. You knew it couldn't all be that easy. You'll settle down just like you did on the bike, and get down to your pace.

You'll keep moving. You'll keep drinking. You'll keep eating. Maybe you'll be right on plan - maybe you won't. If you're ahead of schedule, don't worry - believe. If you're behind, don't panic - roll with it. Everyone comes up with a brilliant race plan and then everyone has to deal with the reality that planning for 140.6 miles is like trying to land a man on the moon. By remote control. Blindfolded.

How you react to the changes in your plan will dictate your day. Don't waste energy worrying about things - just do what you have to when you have to, and keep moving. Keep eating. Keep drinking. Just don't sit down - don't EVER sit down. 

Run if you can.
Walk if you have to.
Just keep moving.

You'll soon only have a few miles to go. You'll start to believe that you're going to make it. You'll start to imagine how good it's going to feel when you get there. Let those feelings drive you on. When your legs just don't want to move anymore, think about what it's going to be like when someone catches you...puts a medal over your head...

...all you have to do is get there. 

You'll hit mile 25.  You'll run. You'll find your legs. You'll fly. You won't know how, but you will run. You'll make the turn in the dark, and head for home. The lights will grow brighter, brighter, and brighter. Soon you'll be able to hear the music again. This time, it'll be for keeps. 

They'll say your name.
Nothing will hurt.

The moment will be yours - for one moment, the entire crowd will be looking at you and only you.

Someone will catch you.
You'll lean into them.

It will suddenly hit you. YOU did it.
You are an Ironman.

You are ready.