It’s been three years since I’ve done a triathlon…

And that was Ironman Lake Placid, in 2010.  Needless to say, I’m a little nervous about racing Boulder 70.3 this weekend.

Although…last week, I got to hear about (and see pictures of) my awesome coach John Dahlz WIN the Vineman Full, an Ironman-distance triathlon in Napa Valley.  With his 9:06 time, it was the third time that he’s won Vineman Full, and I couldn’t have been prouder of him!  ????  It also gave me an extra boost of motivation while I was training last weekend, scouting the Boulder 70.3 bike and run course with my friend Sarah, as we did 1 loop of each over the weekend.  I think there’s something about knowing that your coach has toed the line and worked his butt off for 9+ hours, that really gives the extra motivation and encouragement to do well.

So, with this past weekend having a really high point–having your coach win, it’s also had a few low points.  All in all, it’s been a really difficult couple weeks.  My training has been decent, but I’ve had a constant feeling/lingering feeling of being pretty tired (which is normal, right–for Ironman training…?  Being tired all of the time?).  I’ve had a couple stand-out workouts, but the rest have been a little mediocre.  When we rode the bike course, I just felt tired.  My legs felt tired, I didn’t have that “pop” in my step–something has just been feeling a little off.  I’m trying to cling onto the moments that feel good, to keep me motivated for this sunday (like track, this past week), but I’m definitely struggling.  To top that off, I’ve had a couple issues with my teeth lately, and my Monday workout was canceled because the night before I had a temporary crown fall out–which exposed the tooth and nerve–no way could I swim when I couldn’t breath air in, without feeling the nerve being agitated.  I got it fixed on Tuesday, but then on Wednesday, it fell out again(!) right before Greg and I were going to go on a bike ride.  Ugh!  We rode anyways, but it quickly turned into a sobfest.  It started with a few sniffles, then launched into full-on bawling.  When we were riding, all I could think about was that I just wanted to throw my bike in a ditch and be done, completely of the whole thing (kind of like during tennis, when all you want to do is just break your racquet).  Greg pulled up to me, with a “are you crying? Let’s pull over. Uhhh, how can I make this better?” and he got to deal with my complete meltdown and tears.  But, amidst the weepies, he got me to figure out what I was so upset about.  It had been welling up inside of me, and with my tooth hurting when I was exhausted, but still had to ride according to my training plan, it was the last straw.

The gist of it?  I’m scared.  I’m scared about Boulder 70.3.  I’m scared that I’m going to let myself down.  I’m scared that I’m going to let Coach JD down.  I’m scared that it’s not going to be good enough.  I’m scared that I’m not going to measure up to the rest of the Ironman Foundation Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team–and I’m scared that I am going to let them down.  It seems like practically everyone on the team podiums and qualifies for Kona–I feel very much a “slowpoke” when I look at everyone else’s results and I wish I could get myself on that podium, but sadly–winning races and/or placing, in my age group–it’s just not something I’ve ever really done, since I was 19 (back when the 18-24 age group was particularly sparse…and it was the early 2000’s, when no one did triathlon…).

It’s been three years since I’ve done a triathlon–three years since I’ve put that wetsuit on, and walked to a starting line.  I’m worried that I’m going to crumble on race day, that I won’t feel good going up the hills on the bike.  I’m worried that just like Lake Placid, I am going to get passed by every single person while on the bike.  True story–I did not pass a single person on the bike at Ironman Lake Placid, for 112 miles.  How’s that for demoralizing?  I cried on the bike during that ride, too.

To me, there’s a lot that I have riding on this race…more than anything, I need this race to help me–to help me validate my training–to make up for all of the times I’ve had to get up at 5 or 6 a.m.  To verify to me that yes–you have been working hard.  I know that I’ve built up this race in my head too much–I think about it all of the time, I look at previous times of mine, and it gets so, so, so overwhelming, that I stress myself out.  I know that at the end of the day, the person that is going to be hardest on me, is 100% me.  I have always been someone to put myself down, to not always believe in myself, or to just be really hard on myself.  Maybe it’s in my blood:

I really appreciate my meltdown with Greg on the side of the road this past Wednesday.  After I cried my eyes out, he helped me to realize that I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself.  It’s unnecessary.  That I shouldn’t look at my past Wildflower Long Course times and try to beat them all–this race on Sunday will be a different beast–the course is completely different, and, I’m at a really different place in my life right now.  I’m not training specifically for half-Ironmans right now, I’m training for an Ironman.  If I’m not “fast” by my standards, that’s okay–because, I’m not even training for speed right now, I’m training to finish a 140.6 mile race in September.  And that’s okay.

Since Wednesday night, I took Thursday off, played some doubles tennis with Greg, Robin, and BD, and this morning, I swam master’s with Robin.  It was a much needed break, and I love having Robin and BD in Fort Collins because I really miss (all of my) Berkeley friends.  ????

Although I can’t change overnight and certainly still have a lot of the fears about Boulder 70.3, I am going to try and approach the race with less expectations.

I’m going to take time throughout the day to be present–to be thankful for having the legs and the strength to get me through the day.

I am going to extend any KOKUA or support to any athletes that I might come across that might need my help.

I am going to tell myself that I can do it, when it’s getting difficult.  Negative talk will not be allowed on Sunday.

I am going to be strong, because I have danced beneath the lights.

I am going to go BIG…or go HOME!

 

Wildflower Long Course 2008 ????