Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Process

I feel remarkably calm considering my 'A' race for the year is in less than 48 hours. I think that years and years of doing this sport has allowed me to evolve into a more calm and rational athlete. That, or being married to Scott, who is the calmest person on earth, has changed me. :)

Ot it *could* be the Maui coffee. The Maui stuff seems more on the mellow side to me than the Kona coffee. Just an observation.

Anyway, I got up early this morning because I felt like there were a ton of things I wanted to accomplish today before we leave and I did not want to feel rushed. I sent out next weeks schedules to my athletes and then got on with my little pre-race workout... which of course led me to some deep thoughts... mostly about the process of training for a specific race and how our feelings change as we go through each step.

Like how in the beginning of the season the workouts seem hard... but only because you're out of shape and you know that they're not nearly as hard now as they're going to get later. You worry about even being able to complete them because you're not really fit yet. You do complete them but then you find yourself sprawled out on the couch a lot of the time because you're whooped from the effort.

Then you start to adapt to that workload and all of a sudden you don't have the same fear of the workouts anymore. You know you can do them and you can actually go out and socialize on Saturday afternoons again. This feels good and you start gaining confidence.

Then you do a little tune up race and get a gauge on your fitness. It goes pretty well and you feel satisfied that you are on the right track. Let's move to the next step.

Workouts start to get much more race specific and hard again. The fear of each key training session comes back because once again, you're not sure you're going to be able to nail the specific paces. But most of the time you do, and even if your Saturday afternoons are spent back on the couch in your compression socks after your ice bath, you feel good about your progress.

Then you start to taper. Ugh. And that's when all the emotions start flying and you start questioning yourself because the workout you just did didn't leave you sprawled out on the couch and you wonder if you've done enough (you have) and if it's all going to come together on race day (it will)... These are the weeks when I find myself going back through my log books and re-reading the comments on the big workouts I did where I wrote, "Nailed it." That makes me feel better. It also helps during this time period to IGNORE what everyone else is doing. This is not the time to start comparing your workouts to your training partner's workouts.

Then all of a sudden you're packing up all your stuff to take to the race and no matter what, it's too late now so the only thing you can do is just go do what you've been training yourself to do and hope that your performance on race day reflects the training you've put in. You plan out your race, you try to be smart about sleep and nutrition, and when the gun goes off you GO. And hope for the best.

So I must say, that's the process I went through during the last 5 months or so. It's been a great journey. I seriously have enjoyed every step of it and there's a big part of me that is looking forward to life after Honu, where I'm going to spend a few weeks without structured training. Ahhh. That sounds nice. But before that, I'm going to go Rip Myself Apart on the Honu course. I'm not going to be wearing a watch. I think I race best that way. I think it's silly to speak of time goals in long races like this where the conditions dictate how long it takes you to complete each leg. I'm more concerned about listening to my body and pushing it to its limits rather than worrying about what the clock says. I'll find out in the end how fast I completed each segment and who knows... maybe I'm faster than I think? We'll all find out on Saturday. :)

Follow along on Ironman.com if you want. We start at 7:00AM HST, which is 1:00PM for those of you on the East Coast.

19 comments:

Running and living said...

Michelle, you are going to have such a great race! You trained hard and smart, look amazingly strong and mentally fired up! Can't wait to follow you on Saturday! And, looks like I'll know your times before you will:)

cat. said...

i KNOW you are going to have a great race!!

Beth said...

GOOOOOOOOOOOOO Michelle!! You are sooo ready and I can't wait to see how awesome you are going to be! Enjoy the weekend!! I'm cheering for you!

Stacey said...

You are an amazing athlete! I admire you so much! Good luck this weekend!
BTW I love the new pic on your header!

Jennifer Harrison said...

AWESOME MICHELLE! Kick some ass at Honu!! Last year was a HUGE day for you indeed, so let's make this year even better!!!!! GOO GOO GOO!

cherelli said...

Go Michelle - have an awesome race, put it all out there!!

X-Country2 said...

You're faster than you think!!

(And yes, I will be "following" you on race day. That sounds way nicer than "stalking and living vicariously through you". :o)

Catching up with Jessica said...

That post got me so excited! You have been nailing it and you DEFINITELY have it! I can't wait! So proud of you for not wearing a watch. I don't know if I could do that!

GoBigGreen said...

Oh good! I don't wear a watch either so I love that you don't either! Good luck- I hope u have a stellar race!

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Go Luck. You are ready. Have a great day!

Rebecca DeWire said...

I think it is really awesome that you aren't going to wear a watch. How fun! Enjoy your day. You are going to do great!

Lizzie said...

Woo-hoo!! Time to seriously kick some butt!!! Have a fabulous race and thanks for the link.

Nitsirk said...

You are going to kick some butt. Best of luck and I can't wait to read all about it :)

Shevaun said...

Good luck tomorrow! With all your hard work you will have a super race.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Enjoy your reward for all your hard work

Angela and David Kidd said...

Good luck Michelle! You are going to kill it!

N.D. said...

Good luck this weekend! I love the picture at the top.

Regina said...

I think you described my last 6 months with you perfectly. It is interesting that you, the seasoned triathlete, went through the same range of experiences and feelings. It has been the ride of a lifetime and I cannot wait to continue...of course after the 70.3 are out of the way. Good luck!

Charisa said...

Love your new pic on your blog :) Moana is getting so big!