It's hard to earn and sometimes even harder to keep. You can't see it or touch it, buy it or sell it, but it's extremely valuable, priceless in fact. We are constantly testing it as athletes and even more so about seven days out from our races.
I love all of the Indiana Jones movies (always have!). They really strike a cord with me. Not that they are extremely deep, but they are well done and hands down my favorite is "The Last Crusade" for multiple reason. Biblical history is intriguing to me (not that this movie is accurate, but I just like the idea of all of it). For those of you have seen it, Indiana is trying to save the Holy Grail from falling into the wrong hands by completing some tests of both physical strength, knowledge and in the end, faith. In his final test he's supposed to make a "leap of faith" to cross a large ravine. If he truly believes a walkway will appear beneath his feet.
Ok.. where is all this going? :) How many people have heard that these type of words "walk by faith" and pledged to live by them? Easier said than done isn't it? Especially when the world is crashing down around us, when everything seems to be lost, when life hands us more than lemons.
Just a small example of this for me has been this past week in my life as an athlete. Things have come up that have made it tough, an ache or pain here or there, my legs feeling so heavy that I wonder if they will ever come back to life, and then of course seeing 20 hours of training on my schedule this past week.
I looked at least twice. That had to be wrong? I was tapering? My legs still seem to have some deep fatigue in them from my overload weeks. What was my coach thinking? How can this make sense to do two weeks before an Ironman? While I always think we are open to communication as coaches, we also have a plan and at some point it really does come down to a coach / athlete relationship and trust is built over time. I know my coach, I know his track record with other athletes and I know he would never put me in a bad spot before my first professional Ironman of the year. Still.. it looked more than a little daunting. While I communicated my concerns, I still agreed to follow the plan and to keep giving feedback that would allow us to make good decisions. That's the best we can do sometimes..
Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. - Khalil Gibran
It's hard to trust people and it's hard to have faith that all of this training we do is going to come together on race day to help us have the day we would like to have and that we are capable of having. However, with that said, there are no gurentees and I think the more I learn as an athlete, the more I learn that.
Pressure is a killer of everything, faith, trust, and just about everything else. The times I've scummed to that idea that either I personally, or someone else, expected something specific of me and that I had to live up to that expectation or it would "say" something about me have lead to me failing miserably to execute my mental race plan which then translate to the physical before you can say go. It's almost instantaneous. Once my coach said "it will take some time for you to develop the mental fitness needed as a professional triathlete to show your physical fitness." Now I believe that 110%. Many times we don't flounder because we aren't capable, we struggle because of what we "THINK" should be happening and isn't and we start to go down that road of negativity that we can't get back from.
With all that said, I'm making a pact with myself to do some things during this Ironman & every day from here on out:
1. Trust myself. I am more than ready and I believe in my heart that I am capable and deserve to be starting among these amazing women competitors. I've earned it and I trust myself to be true to my character and training on race day.
2. Embrace my spirit of fun. If this isn't fun, we shouldn't be doing it... period. I started out racing my cousins down the pool at my Grandfathers, riding my bike to my Aunt's house to play and running with my Mom to pick flowers. I want to feel that joy of doing things I love for all the right reasons all day long, no matter WHAT the heck is happening with the race itself.
3. HTFU. Many of you know what this means and if you don't, look it up. The main point here is that there isn't a doubt in my mind that at some point there is going to come a time, most likely on that run, where I want to quit and go home. Where the pain will be so great that it will make me question this whole thing and why I'm doing it. I have my reasons and they are deeply rooted in everything from faith to my hero's like Ryan Ballou, to my love of the sport. I am promising myself NOW that no matter what I will not quit unless in physical danger.
4. Appreciate the experience. This year is all about experience and I want to gain all of it that I can. If that means getting last, then it means getting last. If it means I surprise myself and do better than I think, awesome. Now matter what is handed to me, I want to keep that appreciative spirit and realize that this is just a race. While I've been training for it for months, there will be races after and no one is dying. As athletes if we can stay appreciative, we are already winning.
5. Not be afraid of nervousness or fear. These two things are part of Ironman and I have no doubt they will come about in some way shape or form before the race. My goal is to say hi to them, acknowledge who they are and then send them on their way with the many reasons listed above. As I tell my athletes, "you have a plan, all you have to do is follow it, there is NOTHING to be afraid of or that you can't handle" and I believe it or I wouldn't say it.
It's going to be a stressful week until I can get everything ready to go and in the car, but once I do, I'm excited about what's to come. Lots of seeing friends and teammates and time to spend with the people I love and care about. Kyle will be coming along with his Mom Deb and her boyfriend Robert. I'm thankful I'm healthy and able to be out there..
I'll let you know more as it comes.. but thanks in advance to everyone for their support.. Thanks to my sponsors who help me perform at my best and to my teammates and close friends at Ballou Skies who inspire me to be more and do more with this chance we've been given! Please check out the Ballou Skies website, donate if you can and "like" us on Facebook. It's a great cause that I am thankful to be a part of every single day!
Here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.