My first Ironman is less than a month away. I will confess I am a little nervous.
I think it's normal and natural to be nervous for a first iron-distance race or even half-iron distance but still I'm writing about it anyway. If you're reading this and you're beginning to train for your first full then file it away as things to expect about 30 days out.
Why 30 days. Well I think it's because the training is almost done now. What's done is done and there isn't room for a lot of "improvement" between now and the race. So how do I feel about that?
I feel okay. Nervous but okay. I haven't skipped workouts (except for when I had the flu) and that gives me some confidence but not enough to fully shake the jitters.
What is causing the jitters? Mostly uncertainty.
With a race this long I won't have completed the entire distance in one day until race day. That's just the way it goes.
I already shared my dream about looking for goggles so that's one example. (note to my brother ... I should sign you up for IM Frankfurt just so you have to try to remember how to say goggles in German).
I'm also afraid I'll get sick before the race. I'm nervous that my bike will break in shipping. I'm nervous my nutrition will be confiscated by customs. I worry that I won't find my special needs bag on the bike. I'm nervous about the stress of the travel. I have had both good and bad experiences traveling for races. I'm worried about the swim being really rough in terms of contact between the swimmers. I'm worried about being alone on the course surrounded by strangers. I'm worried about getting dehydrated like I did at St. Anthony's.
I know these are all silly small things. That's the way I get nervous. I worry about little details that can go wrong. It usually works for me - I make contingency plans and then I'm not nervous on race day about those things.
So, what am I doing about it?
Well, I'm putting it out there for the world to see. Ironman training is a pretty solo venture but also you can't do it alone. So, I told my husband I was nervous and he gave me his nod.That's what he does nods. He's busy with work at the moment and I know that once he starts prepping for the trip I'll feel better.
And last night I wore my I'm training for Ironman France shirt to a meeting and when people asked how I was doing I admitted I was nervous. That was helpful because it gave me a chance to hear how others were nervous.
And now I'm telling you guys. I'm a girl ... talking helps.
Oh, and I'm going to stop reading online forums. Today I was reading a race report and somebody told a person who DNF'd at IM Texas that the problem may have been that he only swam 7k a week in training. My heart pounded because I usually swim 7k a week. But then I turned it off. I have to trust the plan or else I'm lost.
The dark voice in my head says maybe you aren't ready
Yesterday wasn't a great workout. In fact I've had 2 bad swims in a row. The first was the bird attack. I have to just let that one go because there won't be cormorants in France. Plus seriously that was just odd.
Then yesterday was supposed to be a 2 mile open water swim but we were having stormy weather. So, I couldn't even do masters practice instead I ended up at LA Fitness in the pool in the basement which I hate. I really do hate this pool. I admit I went in with a bad attitude.
I planned to do 5x100 warmup then 2x1600. It didn't go as planned. I started feeling woozy and icky and I was swimming really slowly. It took me almost 15 minutes for those first 5 100s which should have been closer to 10 minutes. I started to get really down on myself and question my swim fitness.
In fact at about 600 yards into the second 1600 I was so frustrated I took off my cap and threw it on the deck. And then I felt like steam was escaping from my head. I was hot - really hot. This pool is very warm I don't know how warm but easily 80. There's no chill when you step into the water. And the room is warm too from the jacuzzi that's in the same space.
So then I started swimming again and I began to think that my slowness and ickiness might be in fact from being too warm. After taking my cap off the pool water felt really cool on my head and I felt much better. So I went on and finished and I gave myself some wiggle room in that I stopped after each 100 or 200 not to rest but to let my body cool off some. I stood up, raised my hands over my head to let heat escape and counted to 10 before going again.
Still in the last 25 I thought I would puke. I did actually stand up and gag mid length. And then I had to get out and sit on the deck till I could stand up from the nausea. I do get this feeling from strong swim efforts to I sat there and I thought ... is this because I'm swimming beyond my effort? I owe it to myself to give this honest thought because nothing is dumber than walking into a 2.4 mile swim without the swim fitness to get it done confidently.
But, I wasn't breathing hard, my heart rate was practically resting, I wasn't fatigued. So I really do think this was from the heat. Then when I walked into the locker room which is air conditioned it was such a relief. If I wasn't overheated I would have been chilled from the cool air - this was a very pleasant feeling. I could feel the heat coming off my skin. So, I really do think that this was because the pool was hot.
But I want to be honest with myself about this because most people I know can swim in this pool without incident. They don't love it but a strong swimmer can basically swim wherever and be okay. So I don't want to give myself excuses. So, I am of course also questioning my swim fitness. While this week is almost done I think I'll be putting in lots of time swimming in the next 4 weeks to quiet these voices. That's really all I can do I think.
Now to make myself feel better since I signed up for this race I have logged:
101,140 yds swimming, 441 miles running and 124 hours on the bike (my trainer miles don't log miles so I use time there). While it may not be enough it is for sure a lot.