“The finish line is always just after the point at which you most want to give up.”
I got that little gem from Bear Grylls’ The Kid Who Climbed Everest, which I finished this weekend, enjoyed very much and recommend highly (disclaimer: there are a couple of typos and he’s not the best writer, but it’s an easy, fast read and I could barely put it down).
This one was also in there (excerpt from a speech made by Roosevelt):
It is not the critic who counts, or the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or when the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who at the best knows in the end triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly – so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat…for those who have had to fight for it, life has truly a flavor the protected shall never know.
I’m obsessed with Everest now. I’ve started Into Thin Air and am absorbing all I can about climbing. Don’t take that the wrong way, I have NO, absolutely NO, desire to scale the world’s highest peak, but it is fascinating learning how to endure from those who have.
On that note, Ricky went to participate in the Death Race Camp this weekend. It’s a one-day event put on by the Death Race people up in Vermont. They give you valuable information about the race and also a little taste of the physical intensity to expect. I had wanted to get up there for one of these camps, but had to scrape together just to afford getting there for the race itself so the camp kinda became out of the question.
The weekend report came back and it was good news. He said that we are both physically capable of doing this race (though he does want to ramp up the running a good bit and also work on general leg strength). He got tips from the race directors and from people who have participated in past years. He met some of the people doing the race this year and said they were a friendly group.
I so needed this little pep rally. I’ve been pretty burnt out and the other day, I told myself, “I don’t even care if I finish this race, I’m so over it.” I guess I now know that training 7 months out from an event is just not my cup of tea. But with the 1/2 Ironman coming up this weekend (read: being over this weekend) and a month still left to prepare for this finish that is now so solidly within my reach, I’m getting pumped again. I’m ready to spend 47 days training and training hard. I’m ready to get to Vermont and push my body until it crosses that finish line. I’m ready to see if I have what I think I have. This will be my Everest.
Thursday was a 17 mile run on the trails. Total time: 2 hours and 41 mins. Mostly, it felt great – legs were strong and I didn’t start getting achy in my joints until the last 4 miles. But it was also a test run for using gels at the upcoming 1/2 and my stomach did not cooperate at all. There was that general pain throughout most of the run and I believe I’ll be doing the 13.1 mile run this weekend without the aid of those energy packets.
Saturday was a 52 mile bike with Mike. Total time was 3 hours and 48 mins. My longest previous ride was a measly 30-miler. The first 43 miles felt fine. After that, I kinda fell apart. I couldn’t get comfortable on the seat, my traps started to burn, my mind started to wander. I didn’t want to be on the stupid bike anymore. I remember a point during my 2nd ever triathlon where I was on the bike leg, pedaling my mountain bike as fast as my legs would pedal, road bikes zooming by me constantly, wind so bad I felt like I was moving backwards, and I wanted more than anything else in the world to get off the bike, push it forcefully off the road and give up. “What was the point?” I asked myself. I did finish that race and my bike did not eat asphalt. I almost came to that again on the ride Saturday. It was not nearly that bad, but I approached the danger zone. Of course, I hate feeling that way, but afterwards, I pride myself in being able to get to this point and push through.
I’ll be taking it nice and easy at the Half Ironman on Sunday. I do want to be able to walk the next day. I don’t have a time goal. I want to enjoy this experience and hopefully continue to do triathlons. So much seems to hinge on this one race. Knowing myself, I’m 99% sure once I get out there, I will push harder than I should…that competitive edge just comes out when someone is in front of me! But I also have the advantage of anticipating that feeling and I plan to be strong enough to hold back. That will probably be my biggest challenge.
This week is a taper! I’m going to do some short swims and some short runs, also some upper body which I have been badly neglecting. No more biking until the big day to allow my butt to recover.
I’ll post again after the Half!