Friday, September 01, 2006

self-doubt creeping in

Swim - 3000yd, 57 min - main set: 5 x 400 with first 200 moderate, second 200 at sprint race pace, 30 seconds recovery between
Bike - 14.5 miles, 60 min - easy recovery ride
Yoga - 60 minutes, Hatha

My Zipp 606 race wheels came today and I took them out on a test ride. They are fast! I feel like I can go about 1 mph faster on them using the same effort as before. Over 112 miles, that is a large time savings. They also look cool. I also put new cleats on my bike shoes, which was a while overdue.

As the race gets closer, now only 9 days away, the more I question if I am ready for it. I haven't trained long in 2 weeks now... what if I am losing my fitness? I know that this is normal pre-race nerves. I know that many first-time Ironman athletes worry a lot during the taper. With more time for rest, I am getting out of the triathlon-obsessed mode of living that I am used to. Will I be able to do the most intense race of my life when at this point I wonder whether my head is there? I have visualized the race so many times during training that maybe I can go on autopilot. I know the course inside and out. I know my comfortable training paces, but will I be able to stick with them and not go out too hard so that I can still have a good run? Will my nutrition work? Will my stomach get upset? Will I get enough calories on the bike so that I don't crash on the run? If I do crash on the run, will gels and energy drinks be able to get me through or will I crash even more from all the sugar? Will I get a flat tire? If I do get a flat tire, will I be able to change it quickly and will my CO2 cartridge work? And then I think, why I am doing this anyway? Why does it matter to me if I do well? Couldn't I just be happy with finishing at all? This is not the mental state I want to take to the race. I have worked too hard for this to give up now.

What will I do after Ironman is over? I am feeling depressed about the end of the training season and am wondering what I will do to keep myself from sinking into despair during my recovery period. All this training fills a lot of space in my life that I will have to immediately fill with other things. My eating and sleeping patterns will also change. These are things I have come to rely on. There are many difficult mental aspects of Ironman. For me, the peak of training was about having the strength to push myself to keep going when I was exhausted. Now, the taper is filled with self-doubt and constantly changing emotions. I must continue to have the strength to turn doubt into positivity until Ironman is over, and then deal with the aftermath when it arrives.

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