With 16 days to go until Ironman UK I probably should be starting to panic / flap / stress but I guess the reality of the challenge ahead hasn’t hit me yet, either that or I’m very chilled about what’s to come on July 20th.
Personally I think I’m chilled, it will be my 6th Ironman, I’m still a novice at the distance but I’m an experienced novice. I’ve been reading comments on Facebook and twitter from those about to embark on their first race of 140.6 miles and I recognise the fear and trepidation that is starting to sink in as the race edges from the periphery of life into their full frontal field of vision. That’s natural, I hope they embrace that nervous energy and use it to their advantage, I know it helped me on my Ironman debut. It mostly centres around “Can I do it?”, “Can I beat the swim cut-off?”, “Will I make it around the bike course in time?”, the answer to these questions for 99% of the competitors is YES. The training is done, the hard work is behind you, now all that remains is to get the head right. BELIEVE.Once the head is right you are one very important step closer to crossing the finish line. I know from past experience that I can complete an Ironman, I’ve done it 5 times, so I don’t have that level of fear. But I do still wonder what level of suffering I’ll go to on the day.
I won’t actively go looking for it as this time around Ironman is a different animal for me but I do wonder, where will I be when pain finds me? And it will find me.
Maybe the pressure is off because I was lucky enough to be given a place by the organisers? I don’t have a financial burden around my neck but trust me I’ve spent enough on the time and commitment away from my family in the build up to this one that I owe them much more than the entry fee.
Maybe the pressure is off because after genuinely believing I’d never do an Ironman again I have no desire other than to finish. I hand on heart really don’t care if I come last and beat the 17hr deadline by 1 second. I really hope that doesn’t happen but if it does so be it.
Maybe the pressure is off because I’ve approached the whole thing as a ‘bit of fun’ and that’s how I intend to race. Enjoy the atmosphere, be aware of my fellow competitors, chat a bit on the run and even when pain finds me still try and smile. This is my hobby and one that I’ve genuinely fallen in love with again after a dark year away.
Maybe the pressure is off because although no where near in the shape of my life ( too fat for that at the moment ) I’m actually going well in training. Everything is ticking over nicely, had a couple of good races in the last month or so at the Liverpool Half marathon and a local 5k race in Tampa where I placed 7th overall. My cycling is steady and my swimming has improved this year. So I have the tools in place to get the job done.
Could I have done more? Of course I could, but I’m not chasing Kona – I’m chasing survival.
We’ll find out on Sunday July 20th if I caught it.