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Northwest to the Southeast- Race week!

May 16, 2012

I’m Florida bound. (Ok, now at this posting, I am in FL) Race day is four days away.

Leaving Portland. View of Mt Hood (Mt St Helens and Mt Adams in there too!)

I’m in a mental game now. For the past 16 weeks I have committed hours upon hours to a training plan my brother created to get me prepared for race day. At this point, there isn’t much I can do to physically train to get ready, besides controlling my nutrition and hydration. It’s all about how my mind is going to prepare me.

I am strong. I am pumped. I am focused. I am ready.

I have been amazed at the transformation I have taken over the last few months both physically and mentally. I have had fantastic energizing training sessions and felt my body move farther it has ever gone before and I have had horrible ones where I stop 20 minutes in and been on the verge of tears. Since the beginning of my training I have gone through major changes in my life: been broke, moved to a new city, been unemployed then started a new job, and experienced heartbreak. Training was one major constant- there to test my mental and physical strength, provided a release and meditation, helped me explore new locations I have been in, and given me something to own and be proud of. So here I am, turning 31 and completing my first 70.3 in the same week.

I can’t help but recognize that I am here because of my brother. No way would I have ever attempted this without him. Never would I even considered getting into triathlons. Those are for crazy people, right? I was so inspired by watching my brother as he did IM Rhode Island last year, and while my respect for what he did was high then, it’s ever higher now having now experienced what sort of preparation goes into training. If you have ever been to a triathlon event, even as a spectator, it is hard not to feel moved by the emotion and the triumph that these athletes go through to cross that finish line. People of all ages, all abilities, all sorts of stories and journeys brought together in one race.  There aren’t many events out there that can be shared with a sibling, an 80-year old, a disable athlete, and Lance Armstrong.

I am going through both mild and intense opposite emotions during this week. Nervousness. Excitement. Pride. Doubt. Elation. Fear. I have been woken up many times over the last couple of weeks from nightmares about the race- not being able to make it to the starting line to anticipated pain of competition. At this point I am doing all I can to take moments of the doubt and the fear and reverse them into mantras of positive thoughts. I have also taken moments during the day when I feel nervousness build up and turn them into moments of positive visualization of the race day. I imagine myself swimming efficiently and focused. I imagine a relaxed posture and smooth bike stroke. I imagine a steady and light running pace that all brings a smile to my face. I imagine my family on the sidelines and at the finish line as I cross with hands in the air and give them a hug. I imagine not giving up, finishing strong, and happy.

I think before any race there is this consideration that more could have been done to prepare for a race- “I shouldn’t have taken a day off,” “I should have done more speed workouts,” “did I work as hard as I could have?” etc. But I am where I am.

Thank you Dan for all you have done to get me here. I am so excited to do this race with you. I will never forget this experience. See you at the finish line…or the medical tent.

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