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Goals, Ironman

The Two-Week Countdown

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been absent from the Internet for awhile now. I took a bit of a mental hiatus from all this triathlon stuff — stepped away from my blog (and Twitter, and your blogs), made lists of the million and one non-tri things I want to do after Sept. 11, began the process of overhauling my horribly outdated “real person” closet, etc. — and it’s been GREAT.

As you know, I was a disaster when I returned from my course preview trip. And while on a week-long vacation at the beach, I discovered that one of the healthiest things I can do to keep from stressing about this little race I have coming up is to step back and just let some of it go. I’ve done all the right workouts, I’ve written my race plan and gotten coach’s approval, I’ve put myself through a lot of physical and mental hurdles I expect to face on race day, I’ve lived and breathed Ironman for nearly eight months. But two weeks out, there’s nothing more I can do other than rest up and get excited about crossing that line and hearing Mike Reilly say, “Emily, you are an Ironman!”

So instead of spending every second picturing every possible thing that could go right or wrong or worrying about whether I could have spent an extra 10 minutes on the bike here or tacked an extra 500m onto my swim there, I’ve set the whole thing aside, and I’m far more relaxed because of it. Sure, I still have big goals and a little bit of pre-race anxiety, but that freakout I had a few weeks ago is gone, replaced by excitement and this realistic perspective: that whatever happens, Ironman Wisconsin is gonna be AWESOME.

As I tracked friends doing IM Louisville today, I realized that in just two short weeks I’ll be swimming/biking/running the streets of Madison. There’s nothing more motivating than watching people you know — or even those you don’t — accomplish something so great. TWO WEEKS, PEOPLE, TWO WEEKS!

Another thing that started to make this feel real was this little email I received late last week:

Athlete’s guide! Schedules! Details! Bib numbers! Wait, I actually signed up for this? I wasn’t just playing around for 20 weeks? I’m gonna be an Ironman?

Apparently so:

So, onto what’s left to do before I actually cross that line. I’ve been tapering for a week already, but this weekend was my last long-ish brick, my last long run, my last hurrah before race day. I did a 3-hour ride plus a 30-minute brick on Saturday before Irene arrived and knocked down trees and flooded parts of the city, while Sunday morning was a 12-mile run with some short pick-ups followed by an easy 1-hour spin on the trainer. All that’s in my TrainingPeaks account now are a few long and steady swims, an open-water session or two, some short bricks and a few easy rides and runs.

Otherwise, I have to get all my gear in order and start thinking about packing, as I have to drop my bike and gear bag at Bonzai by next Monday Sunday. I’m going to clean the Felt really well and take it in for a pre-race tuneup after my ride this Saturday, so time is ticking. To stay organized, I’ve started making lists. Color-coded lists. I know, I’m my mother’s daughter. I have a master packing list, a list for each transition and special needs bag, a list for “real-person” items I’ll need when I’m not racing, a list of what’s going in my TriBike Transport gear bag and what’s going on the plane with me. It’s a lot of lists.

And in between all of this, I’m reading and rereading this and visualizing all the things I’m going to experience in Madison:

Sept. 11 will arrive faster than I can imagine. TWO WEEKS.



11 thoughts on “The Two-Week Countdown

  1. I think you have a great attitude going into this! I will be tracking you on race day 🙂

    Posted by Sarah | August 29, 2011, 8:38 AM
  2. HOORAY!!!! So glad to see that you have excited for this. I cannot wait to track you- in fact, I think I may invite Katie over so we can have a “stalk Emily” party while drinking wine and clicking refresh every 30 seconds.

    Posted by Lauren | August 29, 2011, 8:43 AM
  3. Don’t forget to smile at the finish line like the athlete guide says. And leave your fins at home. Because I’m sure you were planning on using them for the swim.

    Glad you are getting in a little rest. I have to say that the fact that your taper weekend included a 3 hr-30 min brick and a 12 mile run makes me chuckle. I guess it is relative to, like, a double century.

    Posted by Victoria (District Chocoholic) | August 29, 2011, 9:06 AM
  4. This is so great. You should re-read this post again if you start to get nervous/closer to race day. You’re definitely in the right mindset and I can’t wait to follow along on race day!

    Posted by Amy | August 29, 2011, 9:28 AM
  5. I’m SO glad to hear that your mind is clear and calm. I think stepping away is exactly what you needed. And don’t forget the really most important thing…at this point, less is more. Sleep and eat and heal so you can drop a big one on that race in (less than) 2 weeks. Your body will be raring to go.

    And I love lists. They will distract you from any last-minute freak-outs.

    Posted by katie | August 29, 2011, 10:33 AM
  6. Yay!! Good luck! It sounds like you are ready to go and the break from blogging/blog reading/Twitter was just what you needed to get your mind in the right place.

    I am a huge list maker and most races I do don’t require nearly as much stuff. 🙂 They aren’t always color-coded but they make me feel much calmer in the days leading up to the race.

    Posted by Allison | August 29, 2011, 10:39 AM
  7. Swimming in the streets of Madison! Fun! I’m so SO excited for you!

    Posted by Beth | August 29, 2011, 10:40 AM
  8. fyi. Check TriBike Transport website for when bike drop off deadline is. Some have been changed. My bike drop off deadline moved to Saturday (from Monday).

    Posted by Reader | August 30, 2011, 6:43 AM
  9. I’ll be tracking you on race day….. in person. 🙂 I’ll try not to be too creepy about it though and keep the draft legal 4 bike lengths between us. haha


    Posted by Kevin | August 30, 2011, 2:12 PM


  1. Pingback: 12 Day to Go and I’m Burning with Excitement and Energy! « "Tri"ing for Pro - August 29, 2011

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