This will be my third Ironman and each one of them has been different. I don't have kids but this seems kind of similar to giving birth. At Ironman you get a medal and a hat to take home instead of a baby. Quieter but less rewarding. The parallels are uncanny. I've spent 5 months putting my body through huge physical stress and transformation. I had hormonal and emotional changes as a result of this. I had to eat well, get extra sleep, and was tired a lot (pregnancy). The race itself is some serious physical labor and one of the most painful experiences you can go through (giving birth). I have worked on mental strategies to reduce my discomfort during the labor (Lamaz anyone?). I have plans on what I will do after the race to reduce post-race depression (post-natal). After the race I won't want to do another but after a while I will forget about the pain and then sign up again. No but seriously, I don't know if I would want more than three kids.
Checking in on my mental work...
I've been thinking hard and long about why I am doing this. I need to know the answer to that question and the answer needs to be good enough so that I don't give up. My one thing is that I want to master execution of a long race. I want to prove to myself that I can have a solid run after a solid bike. Two years ago at IM WI, I didn't have enough calories during the bike and I gave up during the run. I wasn't mentally prepared for setbacks and had no reason to push through. My training season was filled with injuries and overwhelming stress and it came with me on race day.
This season has been completely different and I want to use this opportunity to prove to myself that I am a strong competitor at this distance. I have a solid race plan written up with realistic pacing for each section of the course. I am extremely organized with my gear. I have made lists of all the potential problems I am worried could happen and can now come up with a solution for each one. If I have a clear plan ahead of time, then there is nothing to worry about because it is just a matter of executing a slight detour in the plan. I have more experience troubleshooting physical and mechanical issues on the spot this time. There is nothing and no one that is going to stand between me and success. I am not accepting less than 100% effort from myself. I have put in the work and I have the mental strength to do this thing.