If you are about to toe the start line of an Ironman event there is NO doubt you would have had some of these epiphanies during your prep. Sometimes these thoughts are strong. Sometimes they are just gentle little reminders of why we do this crazy but wonderful sport.
#1 Everyone racing has a story to tell, including you
Before the gun goes off at your next race, take a moment to look around at the people around you. There will be Mums, Dads, CEO’s, self employed people, people racing with disabilities, 18 year olds and 75 year olds and EVERYONE of them has a story, as do you. Hopefully while you were preparing for your race you got to strike up a relationship with yourself, sometimes you remember parts of your own story – parts that may have been forgotten. Through the sport you may have started a brand new story about yourself. Be sure to share your story, even if it’s just with your close friends.
#2 You’ve probably had many moments where you talked to yourself – nicely and horribly
Did you notice how powerful your thoughts are while you’re training? Sometimes they’re sweet, positive thoughts but other times you can be really nasty, not to others (hopefully), but to yourself. You’ve probably gee’ed yourself up, negotiated, argued, justified and outright complained and that was just during ONE of your training sessions. There were probably moments when you laid in bed thinking, “WOW, I just did that, go me” and you were truly proud of yourself. Hopefully all of your thoughts were more positive than negative.
#3 There is no single right way to prepare for an Ironman; your way was right for YOU this time
You may hear that so-and-so rode for four hours and you’ve only ridden three and a half; you’ll have people telling you this and then others telling you that. At the end of the day, whether you do a particular long ride, long run or double swim session is for you to judge and no one else. There is no one-fits-all approach or 100% right way to prepare and this goes hand in hand with #1, your story. Sure you could improve, change and adapt should you do another Ironman, however, by the time you are toeing the start line it is too late to worry about any of that. TRUST
#4 Training brings joy
Hopefully you’ve had plenty of those joyful moments during your preparation – times when you couldn’t wipe the smile off your face. Who would have thought that running for two hours could actually bring a sense of joy? Or that satisfying joy that comes after a long, hard bike ride.
#5 You’ve realized that the people around you DON’T really care about your race time – they just want to see you happy and succeed.
The best way to test this is to tell your partner about the swim times you were making during your 10x 100metre swim…… they will probably just be glancing at you smiling at your enthusiasm. That’s what people LOVE. They love your commitment and your enthusiasm; hopefully you’ve realized this!
#6 You’ve accepted your body shape and all you see is strength.
You may have discovered that you have gone through a REAL body acceptance process as part of your training. When it comes to your body, all you actually care about is how quickly you can recover so that you can be stronger for your next session. How your body looks and functions is purely based on “surviving” the next session or the race itself. It can be truly empowering – celebrate your body.
#7 You’ve just spent a shit load of money on preparing for this race
This is one of the epiphanies that you try to hide. Just embrace it. Why? Because you can’t fight it. Bikes, squad passes, running shoes, nutrition, kits, togs, coffees after rides, race kit, new socks….. do you want me to stop?!?
#8 Triathlon may be an individual sport, but the people around you make it much more “doable” and fun.
There would have been moments when your training buddies saw strength in you when you saw nothing – how delightful is that! We are truly blessed by the people we have around us (so be picky). Your crew can make it fun.
#9 Sleeping and eating are real priorities and can rapidly dictate your temperament
Remember how you lost your shit when the towels weren’t hung out? Yeah, that was probably just your stomach talking. Remember when you drove 20 minutes because you felt like an Acai berry smoothie and it HAD to be from your favourite shop, that was probably because you were tired. Don’t try to understand, just be aware and have people around you that may just gently remind you that you “may need a rest day”.
#10 You’ve chanted to yourself that this is the ONLY, FIRST or LAST Ironman you will ever do.
I was only ever doing one Ironman. Just saying! I bet you’ve said this to yourself a few times, everyone always does. It’s part of the “talking to yourself” process. The best thing about it, whether it is your only, first or last race, that in itself is worth celebrating. Nice work.
I hope you’ve experienced some of these things.
See you at the start line soon