The Unpublished Post
I cannot fathom being in Mike’s shoes this week. Seriously. He’s handling this taper madness like a champ. That’s not to say we haven’t almost strangled each other this week…because we have. When monthly crazy lady hormones take over and meet the panic, stress and excitement of someone in Ironman taper…well…let’s just say the week had some rough patches.
I imagine he feels the way a first-time base jumper does before taking the initial leap off the side the cliff (or building or bridge or whatever). You collect your thoughts, hear your heart pounding inside your chest and you stare down into the belly of the beast and hope for the best. Then, without hesitation…you jump.
He’s done everything he can to prepare for this day. And there is absolutely nothing I can do from this point on except for cheer on the sidelines as best I can.
I can’t swim next to him in the Ohio River (or subsequently
It’s all on him.
And that’s a little hard to grasp when you’re an extension of one another.
Sure, he was the one in training for the big bad mamma jamma…but we both lived through it.
What it boils down to is…
I’m not scared about him not finishing…because he’s got a will and drive of Iron. He’ll finish, no doubt. He’s the type of guy that will claw his way to the finish line and would only be removed by forces above and beyond himself (remember Mother Nature in Kansas, anyone?).
But me being scared simply stems from the fact that I hate seeing him in pain. (And really, what this race boils down to is pain management…for him, not me. For me, it’s all about emotion management).
Just ask Shore Turtle. Last year during the NY Marathon we saw Mike at mile 25 and a half hobbling in pain. And I lost it. I was that crazy blubbering mess of a woman on the sidelines who wasn’t even doing the race! Seriously…could I be any more pathetic!?
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. You find a way to push past every last cell in your body that is screaming at you. You ignore it. You keep moving on. You persevere. And at the end of the day, you conquer 140.6 grueling miles.
I know I’ll shed many a tear on IronDay. Tears of pride…tears of hating seeing him in pain…tears for the last 10 months of sacrifices that he made…tears of inspiration. And probably tears for the sake of tears. I’m an emotional person. Would you expect anything less?
But I’m just scared of this big, great, unknown.
In the end, you just don’t know what this day will bring. You can’t predict the cards you’ll be dealt during the race. You can be the reigning champion of the race and your body may reject everything you put into it, forcing you to withdraw (remember Stadler at Kona last year). Or, you could be the most under-trained athlete out there having a remarkable day and ultimately come in 3 hours earlier than estimated.
You just don’t know.
Hopefully Mike is dealt all the right cards during the race. And hopefully, in the event he’s given a bad hand, he’ll figure out a way to play it to his advantage and overcome whatever obstacle he may face (as if 140.6 miles wasn’t challenging enough).
I know that as I stand there cheering on the sidelines, my eyes will be frantically scanning the oncoming athletes around each and every bend as I search for him. I worry. It’s what I do. And to be frank, I do it pretty damn well. From the moment he enters the water, I’ll be waiting--minute by minute…hour by hour--with baited breath until I see him again and watch him run across that finish line…
…and I’ll wait with baited breath for seventeen hours if I have to.
Ironman Tracking this Sunday
1. Follow Mike (#357) online at www.Ironman.com (look for the Ironman Live information on Sunday). They'll be posting split times along the way and you can access live video footage throughout the day (see the Athlete Tracker). Starting in the early afternoon they'll have a camera set up at the finish line and that'll run until midnight (click Audio/Video within the tracker). Check for updates throughout to predict his finish time and then watch him break the tape to become an Ironman! We anticipate him finishing as early as 10pm and as late as 11:59. ;)
2. I'll be updating the world via Twitter each time we see him on the course. We've got Mike all set up with a Twitter account now, so any updates I'll be sending can be seen here and here.
3. When I remember, I'll try and do a bit of photo blogging. Using Mike's phone...posting to Mike's blog.
4. If you can't wait (or are away from your computer) and need an immediate update...you've got my phone number. Just text me. Or call me. I can't guarantee I'll hear you over my cowbell; afterall, I am an equal opportunity cowbell kind of gal and will be valiantly cheering for everyone...and naturally, extra loud for Mike.
If you can't tell, not much will be posted on here during the race. You'll have to head over to here to get all the updates as they come.
We've got lots to do and so very little time to do it in. We're leaving bright and early tomorrow morning, and we still have a ridiculous amount of packing to do. So have a fabulous day...and I'll touch base when we're in Louisville!
Labels: Team IRONMike
The hardest part...
Here's a glimpse of the past year in our home...a look at how Mike has found his way here, to IronWeek.
Hopefully he won't kill me for posting this without him even seeing it first!! In fact, I'm pretty sure he has no idea I've done this. ;)
Labels: Team IRONMike
Labels: I heart Mike
Embracing the Crazy.
Let's just say, there's a whole heck of a lot going on.
And somehow, I was able to go run yesterday for the first time in...hmm...two weeks. Which is about two weeks too long. But life happens. And that's okay. We've got bigger fish to fry these days. Seven-ish miles were spit out at what seemed like a comfortable pace, but today I find myself a bit on the sore side. Mostly the left hammy. Hopefully it'll start to cooperate within the next day or so.
So last Tuesday Mike and I celebrated 7 years of not killing each other. And this Thursday, we celebrate 4 years of not killing each other while married. Go us!
Oh, and the quote of the night?
"Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with my lady shaver!" ...and it wasn't me who said that!
...hmm...sharing that with the blogosphere may just be enough to get me killed. :)
But the next two weeks until race day, it's all about embracing the crazy...finding a way to manage the crazy without it making us crazy. It's a tough task. But the sherpa is on the loose and ready to help count down the final days...I wonder what I could be up to?! (insert evil laugh here)
Afterall...this exact moment in 2 weeks, the out of shape guy will be finishing up his run....and be in need of a chair...a massage...a beer....a slice of cold pizza...and a change in blog name.
Labels: Busy Busy Barbara
Strange and Unusual Sights
First of all, Mike is a badass. He cranked out 100 miles on hills like it was nothing. All done 24 hours after pounding the pavement for 20 miles in great time. I'm seriously impressed.
So...to pass the time, I read the latest issue of Runners World cover to cover and brought my camera along and documented some of the strange and unusual things I saw out in the beautiful neighborhoods of Barrington, IL. I didn't know such a beautiful place could have so many oddities. Watch out...the last photo may not be friendly for children!
Seriously? A random toilet? On the side of the road? Funniest part was it said "FREE" on the back of it.Okay, not so much strange and/or unusual...but deer were in overabundance. I waited about 3 minutes for this duo to get out of the road.
What's the point of a sign if you can't read it again?
And last, but not least...mildly inappropriate road art (parents, cover your kids' eyes!)...that made me laugh and roll my eyes each and every time I drove by. A special thanks to the immature high schooler for the endless entertainment.
The remainder of Saturday was spent indulging in Portillos, massaging the knots out of Mike's legs and passing out at an early hour to the olympics.
On Sunday, I positioned myself just before mile 13 of the Chicago Distance Classic half marathon (which was actually measured a bit too long). My throat was sore by the end of it, and my fingers a teeeeny bit blistered from the damn cowbell, but I had a blast cheering everyone on. The day was beautiful and the weather was poised to give out PR's like candy on Halloween. Congrats to everyone for an awesome race!
Labels: Iron Sherpa
Thankfully I was in a wetsuit. Thankfully Mike was with me. And thankfully it passed within a few minutes.
I made it back to the beach safely and we packed up to head home.
The rest of the night I got to deal with that oh so fabulous sensation coming and going. It most noticeably painful while trying to laugh. We made the mistake of watching a comedy. In spite of the hilarity, I was feeling pretty miserable as a result.
Pneumothoraces are nothing new to me. I've had them on and off for arguably more than a decade. I finally learned just what it was in January 2004 when I found myself in the geriatric ward of the hospital for a week when my lung was 30%+ collapsed. Furthermore, I was pretty much out for the count for a good month while being hopped up on vicodin to numb the pain as well as the soreness from my side where they inserted the chest tube.
So needless to say, on the rare occasions I experience one of these suckers, it freaks me out. It's hard to tell at what degree they hit. It was the first time this has ever happened to me in the water...
...hopefully it'll be the last.
Weathering the Elements
After Saturday morning's easy recovery run, I think it's safe to say that my legs have finally come back to me. I ran 5.5 miles (through air as thick as soup and howling winds) and all in all, it felt really good. Although I'm certainly not complaining about the elements. Tough elements make you a better athlete and the really challenging conditions build character. So who really cares if it's humid as hell and windy...(certainly not you). It's up to me to give myself a lil' dose of HTFU and it was my job to go out and get the run done...and that's exactly what I did. Who was it that said there's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people?
Ever since the Chicago marathon last year I've adopted the "You do it because that's just what you do" philosophy. Just because it's hot or humid or hilly or rainy or whatever the conditions give you on race day...doesn't mean you're not going to go out there and "git ir done." Because you are. Because that's what triathletes and marathon runners and every other athlete in between does. It's wired in our DNA. Sure, in cases like the 07 Chi Marathon, we make adjustments to our race plan as needed and do the best we can with what we're given. But for the most part, we train like we race and race like we train (at least we're supposed to), so training in tough elements only makes us that much tougher and that much more prepared for race day.
Afterall, the more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war. Right?
Perhaps this is my way of telling myself to just suck it up since I hit my snooze button for an hour and a half this morning instead of getting up and schlepping myself to yoga in the middle of a window-shaking thunderstorm? I had an internal argument that rainy Monday mornings are meant for sleeping in before finally making the decision to shift my yoga session to later tonight. I was up cleaning pretty late last night, so it was probably the smart decision. Besides, me walking to yoga in the rain wouldn't necessarily make me tougher...just sopping wet. And could potentially induce a cold.
In addition to my recovery run this weekend I met up with Kara and Katie bright and early at the lake yesterday for a nice open water swim. It was the first time in a long time that I was able to focus on sighting. It felt good to be back in the water, although I did feel a bit sluggish and wondered how the heck I set a 1.2 mile swim PR just 2 short weeks ago.
Since Spirit of Racine I've been on the fence as to whether or not I'll actually do the Accenture Triathlon, but I'm still training as if I am. I imagine I'll have a decision made sometime over the next week or two. But right now the other plans we've got cooking would be SOOO much more fun. There may be a way to swing 'em both...but I can't guarentee my performance would be stellar. But I'm not really concerned since it's by no means an "A" race for me. Plus I already paid for the entry fee. It's a race I definitely want to do...and there are no guarantees that we'll still be living here next year...
...I suppose we shall see.
Not too much on tap for this week. Some yoga. Some more running. Possibly some swimming. And then a trip up to the IMoo course for some punishment by bike. While I have no intentions of riding the whole kit and caboodle, Mike does. And it's my job to make sure he doesn't get (too) lost. Plus the Olympics all kick off on Friday, and I'm a such a sucker for a few weeks of watching awesome and inspiring athletics.
All in all, it should be a good week, despite its rainy start. I've got my eyes set on Mid-October right now...when all the training and craziness will be over with for the season.
It can't seem to get here soon enough...
Because right now, I am pretty much about to drop kick a certain someone the next time they chime in thinking they know what the hell they're talking about.
There are only 4 conditions on which I'll accept unsolicited advice:
1. When it comes from my husband.
2. When it comes from my mother.
3. When it comes from my father.
4. When it comes from someone who is clearly qualified has the grounds to be offering said advice.