Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kona day!

I have great news: nobody else died for me to write about.  Let's hope the trend continues. 

Just about any decent triathlete would be able to tell you that today is the day of the Ironman World Championship in Kona.  It is almost 4am there, which means my QT2 teammates are already up and eating breakfast.  I haven't even had mine yet and we're six hours ahead.  I'm really looking forward to watching the race unfold.  Wishing I was there and of course wishing I was racing.  But I certainly didn't earn it this year.  I am, however, coaching my first athlete through it.  MaryBeth Romagnoli earned her spot in Lake Placid.  She is one of many examples why some people make it and some people don't.  It's not some magical talent that appears after some swimming biking and running.  She barely ran a step before Placid due to some lingering issues so we had to push through with extra biking and water running.  Have you ever done a whole lot of water running?  It's excruciatingly boring.  But she never complained once.  I'd ask her every once in a while, sort of prodding to see if the water running was driving her insane yet, but she'd pretty much just tell me she was fine, just doing what she had to do.  We do work her schedule around her family time (wife with two sons) but she doesn't make excuses for anything, just gets it done.  And that is why she is there.  While I do think there is at least some pure athletic ability that is involved in getting certain athletes to Kona, I think you'd probably find that it is the most dedicated athletes and not necessarily the most genetically gifted that are racing there.

As for me, I start officially training on Monday.  I haven't had a schedule since May.  I haven't run a step since June fourth.  I haven't done a long bike ride since the weekend before Mooseman.  I've probably done about 97 less loads of laundry since then that I otherwise would've done had I had mountains of sweaty run and bike clothes every single day.  I am pretty sure that the last time I went that long without running was from birth to... whenever I started running.  I am told that I actually sort of ran before I walked, supporting myself with one of those stupid little plastic shopping carts and running circles between the living room, dining room and kitchen.  So you can imagine I'm a bit nervous as to how this is all going to go.

But, well, I really just have to do what I have to do, right?  I'll admit I think the past couple of years I've mostly just been scared.  Scared of what?  Scared that if I worked really hard and did everything I was supposed to do I still might fail.  I don't really know why, because every other time I gave it my all I wound up with results beyond what I hoped for.  The only exception was Ironman Arizona in 2007, and in that case it was a time goal I didn't hit but mostly it had to do with the fact that the wind was crazy that day.  I don't know why I spent so much time thinking about the time I didn't hit rather than the fact that I'd won my age group by an hour.

I keep hearing about all of these things like if you just think it will be true, then it will be.  You have to go into things with the attitude that the outcome you want is simply inevitable.  I have been resistant to this sort of thinking because to me it just seems arrogant and cocky.  I'm pretty sure that those are personality traits that I do not possess.  But I'm going to do my best to get into my head that planning for success does not make you arrogant.  At least I don't think it does. And it I'm pretty sure that I only have to believe these things for myself instead of walking around trying to get other people to believe them.

So my only choice is to go into this season first, with the mind set that I will do everything that I need to do in order to be the athlete I want to be.  This goes way beyond just the training itself.  I've proven over the past couple of years that you can do all of the training and still not get the results you want.  This will mean eating the things I'm supposed to eat, sleeping as much as I need to, making the most of every training session and pushing when it needs to happen, and taking all of the calcium and vitamin D to make sure that my bones all remain intact for the entire season and hopefully beyond.

When things aren't going well it gets difficult to see that doing the hard work does pay off.  It's a lot tougher to motivate yourself when you're struggling to run ten minute miles when you know that a while ago sub-eights were a breeze.  It sucks and it's frustrating.  But progress is still progress and you're never going to get over that wall if you don't keep trying to push through.  You should know I've been trying to tell myself this for a while now, and it is definitely easier said than done.  But I'm running out of time here and if I don't just get over it and start thinking about what I need to do then it's going to be necessary that I find something else to do with my time. 

So here we go, 2012 is the beginning of my... what are we at, sixth second chance now?  I've lost track.  I might as well just call it the last chance.  2011 was supposed to be the last chance but you can't entirely fault me for being injured all season.  I'm hoping this incredibly extensive break was just what I needed to freshen my body (hopefully not just let it get terribly out of shape) and get me ready to once again mentally tackle Ironman training.  I haven't done an Ironman in over a year and I hardly even remember what it's like to be in the middle of one.  So maybe forgetting the pain will also be helpful! 

I'll update here more often.  I was about to write try to update more often, but that just gives me an out.  Yoda said there is no try, right?  Is anyone smarter than Yoda?  I have also been working on putting my internal clock back where it needs to be.  I used to think waking up at six was sleeping in.  I've been getting up at 5:30 and heading to the gym to swim and use the dreaded elliptical to simulate some form of running and it's been torture.  I'll get there, it's just tougher than I remember.  I think watching the Kona coverage today will help, though.

This is race morning my first time in Kona, 2005.  My parents and two of my mom's sisters, my aunt Hannah in yellow and my aunt Tricia. I can't even express how much fun I had that day.  Seriously.  It was amazing and everything I hoped it would be and more.  All I wanted to do was finish.
This was my second time there, 2006.  Somehow in a year I'd gotten way faster and pedaled my way to a 5:15 bike split and seventh in my age group behind people like Tyler Stewart and Heather Wurtele.  I didn't enjoy the race as much, mostly because I spent the late miles and then post-race for a good nine hours pretty sure I might die that night, but I was definitely proud of what I'd done. I actually have some video footage of me running the marathon that year, and it was early when I was feeling good.  It amazes me that I was able to run that fast with that horrible run form.
And this is me in '07, the last time I got to run the marathon there.  It blows my mind that this was now four years ago.  I raced in '09 but I had a stress fracture and dropped out after the bike after briefly contemplating walking the marathon.  After walking a mere 2.7-mile run in a triathlon recently, I'm glad I didn't opt to do that for ten times the amount of miles.  I'm looking at these to remind myself that while I am nowhere near where I was then, it is in there somewhere.  It's under some extra pounds and short a few hundred training hours, but it's not like anything drastic has happened to me.  A few minor injuries, yes, but nothing permanent. 

So I am going to spend the next several months trying to remind myself of this whenever I am dreading a run workout and upset that I am incredibly slow.  It doesn't happen overnight.  It didn't happen overnight the first time.  Although I certainly hope it takes a little less time because I don't have three years anymore.  It also blows my mind when I start to really think how old I am! 

In about an hour the pros are off and I'll be anxiously watching my friends and teammates racing and trying to convince myself that next year I will be back there with them.  There is a lot of work ahead of me to get there, but what else do I have to do? 

1 comment:

  1. Happy Kona Day Molly! T minus 366 days until you're there (2012 is a leap year).