Decisions

>> Saturday, September 01, 2007

Deciding to CONTINUE training for Ironman was one of the hardest decisions of my life.

I had many reasons to quit training. The biggest ones were:

• The new home that had COUNTLESS projects to be starting, and the old home that needed to be fixed up to sell.

• The aching knee that would hamper my spirits day after day.

• The quick moving summer leading up to a fall filled with 4 classes to teach.

• My bad knee.

• My sore knee.

• My knee that 6 months ago would only let me run 2 miles before being in horrible pain. No joke.

I only had one reason to not quit training. Among all of the other little reasons to quit, there was really only one to keep me going. It’s everyones reason. It’s a tormenting question:

• If I put in the time...if I did all training...could I finish Ironman? Me? Could I do this? Would my body hold up?

I keep running through different numbers in my head. Some tell me “you’re set,” while others are nagging me:
“You should have trained more.”
“Your knee held you back too much.”
“You still have too much body hair to be a legitimate triathlete.”

Here are the numbers from the last 6 months:
• 80,558 meters swam (50 miles), 4,100 meters was the longest
• 1,228 miles biked, 107 miles was the longest
• 260 miles ran, 13.1 miles was the longest (damn knee)
• 56 weight training sessions

Since I’m laying it all out there, here’s one last number: 13. I hope to break 13 hours during Ironman. That’s my goal - that would be a great day.

The problem is that I don’t want to be defined by these numbers. Or on my finish or DNF at Ironman. This is PART of me. Lately, I’ve been feeling like all of this is DEFINING me, and it’s getting to be a lot of pressure. The past year of my life, I’ve been an “Ironman-in-training.” Now it’s time to prove it. It’s time to drive out to WI, kick my ass for 13-17 hours, and drop those last 2 words from that phrase.

At the end of my day on Sept 9, my actions will not be based on my decisions. If I’m able to make it near the finish line, I know I won’t be in control. I have no idea how I will react. Will I be all smiles, holding back laughter? Will I be tired and pissy, just ready to get it over with? Will I be tearing up, ready to break down as soon as I break the tape?

My next big decision is to simply climb into Lake Monona. That’s it. “Steve, it’s time. Get in the water.” I think I’ll get a little emotional. At that moment, I’ll know that my training has brought me safely and strongly to the starting line of Ironman. Three months ago, I didn’t know if I would be making it to that point. I’m getting a little teary right now thinking about it and how I nearly gave up on this. I’ll be at the starting line, but will I be able to see the finish?

The only thing left after that is to wait for the cannon. When I’m in the water with those 2,500 other people and that BOOM rings out, I’ll have to make my next decision...

...to...

...GO.

24 comments:

Pharmie 3:38 PM, September 01, 2007  

This is one of my favorite posts of yours. I'm so proud of you honey!

Tracy 4:30 PM, September 01, 2007  

You are cool people my friend. And if you're at the finish line with, oh, some sandwiches and blankets and happy beverages ready, of course after having awoken from a nice little nap while waiting for the rest of us to come across... you'll be even cooler.

An awesome post - you're going rock IM.

TriShannon 4:32 PM, September 01, 2007  

I get so nervous every time I think about race day. I am still a little in denial that it is next week.

Funny how being an "Ironman-In-Training" doesn't put on the pressure like even the thought of the actual day of becoming an Ironman... for me at least.

TriShannon 4:32 PM, September 01, 2007  
This comment has been removed by the author.
TriShannon 4:34 PM, September 01, 2007  

Sorry, the deleted comment was me... posted it twice for some reason. Oops!

Marcy 8:53 PM, September 01, 2007  

You will rock it, homie! Fo sho! My magic 8 ball said ;-) Great post!

xt4 9:51 PM, September 01, 2007  

You're ready dude. This post affirms it.

Can't wait to cheer you on. Go Steve.

RunBubbaRun 10:16 PM, September 01, 2007  

Your the hairless wonder now, to do that, You know you are ready..

As soon as the cannon goes off, everything will fall into place..

Just save me beer, while waiting for the rest of us..

Fe-lady 10:21 AM, September 02, 2007  

You sound as if you have put in the proper training mileage...the rest is in your head. If you want to do this...you will! Best of luck~!

Trisaratops 11:18 AM, September 02, 2007  

SO excited for you!

Kick some ass out there. You're definitely ready. Me and my big ol' belly will be cheering you and Pharmie on all day!

Collin Kromke 11:33 AM, September 02, 2007  

Good luck Steve! I'll be there on Sunday rooting you on. Post your bib # if you'd like me and my friends to watch for you.

Tri-Thomps 11:52 AM, September 02, 2007  

Best of luck to you Steve. There's nothing like the first one. You're ready! Just keep moving forward.

Relax and enjoy the experience. It is something you'll never forget. See you at the finish.

E-Speed 1:55 PM, September 02, 2007  

You're going to do great! Have a blast out there!

Herself, the GeekGirl 4:07 PM, September 02, 2007  

and then to keep going. and going. and going. Good luck!

Cliff 12:20 AM, September 03, 2007  

the few minutes before the open swim with 2,500 ppl..priceless.

RunBubbaRun 6:03 AM, September 03, 2007  

Time to rock the course!!!

Enjoy every part of on raceday..

see ya soon.

teacherwoman 3:19 PM, September 03, 2007  

I think you are ready... for sure! And I will be waiting to hear all about it!

qcmier 9:53 PM, September 03, 2007  

Don't sweat it, you're ready to drop the "in-training" moniker.

I wish I could make it the race because I would hand you a couple of brats and a pitcher of beer right after you cross the finish line.

ShesAlwaysWrite 12:23 PM, September 04, 2007  

Speaking of numbers... did I miss your bib number somewhere along the line? I want to know how to find my friends when I'm working T2!

Anonymous,  12:44 PM, September 04, 2007  

hey steve im totally jealous. youre gonna kick ass. i will be at the Verona Bike Aid Station handing stuff out. i will keep an eye out for you to cheer you on.

jeremy

TriShannon 6:14 PM, September 04, 2007  

I think pizza is defintely the way to go! Nice comfort food to calm the nerves!

FTL 10:10 AM, September 05, 2007  

Steve, good luck out there. Keep us posted post race. When you pass that johnny-come-lately Normann Stadler on the bike, tell him to layoff the drafting.

Iron Girl Nyhus 10:56 AM, September 05, 2007  

Nice post. The day simply just "goes" by. Enjoy it... enjoy the spectators, the volunteers... they truly make the day. Remember... have fun, relax, and its a race so pass somebody :)

Laura

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