Ironman NZ Wednesday 3-2-05

Again another glorious morning in Taupo. Starting to sound like a broken record I think!
I awoke early today, almost time zone changed completely at around 4am. I do not want to sleep in too much as race morning I will be up early to prepare for the race. I bring out my little MIDI keyboard and practice a bit of piano. However, as I practice, unbidden thoughts of uncertainty and fear arise in my mind about the race.
Yesterday I swam really slow by my standards. I also have a new wetsuit now which hasn’t stretched to fit me yet, and is a bit constrictive about the chest. It is a bit hard to inhale, which I wonder might have affected my performance yesterday. And on race day, that distance will stretch almost another 4 times. I also have some knots in my quads which have been nagging me the entire training period. Part of me wants to just take a few days off and maybe that’s the smart thing, but I also want to go out onto the course and familiarize myself with it. And perhaps gain a bit more confidence.
I’ve been thinking about uncertainty and fear of…performing. Of what my friends will think. Of how my body will react and behave under such stress. Of what my coach will think. Of quitting in the middle. Of my bike getting flats. Of forgetting yet something else. Or the worst – of how I will judge myself.
A lot of these feelings have always been minimized by me, as in years past I have been a supremely confident person. No wall high enough, no barrier strong enough. I always knew I could find a way, an answer. As Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame once said, “There are always possibilities.” I’m such a geek to quote Mr. Spock, but the spirit of that statement and the context in which it was presented always inspired me, even if it was science fiction. No matter what situation Spock and Kirk were in, they always found a solution, even if it meant bending, breaking, or rewriting the rules.
But in these last few years, doubt, uncertainty, and fear have slowly crept into my being on variety of fronts. How funny that as I approach probably the most arduous of physical and mental trials in Ironman, that I think more deeply about these feelings.
In my life coaching, the book I am reading “A Path With Heart” talks about these feelings and acknowledging them, embracing them, and then they don’t seem so bad. I apply that here and it seems to be working, and the thoughts seem to dwindle a bit.
But also, I shift two more things. I was thinking about hitting a time goal of 13 hours. Instead, I shift to “Have fun and finish!” The pressure of achieving is totally unnecessary and only serves to distract me.
The other mental shift was realizing that everything I feel is just a state of mind. We all have total control over what we want to feel and what we don’t want to feel or what we let bother us. So applying the principles in “A Path With Heart” along with this principle, I acknowledge the negative feelings, and then just let them go. They are free to wander about my mind, but I do not let them dominate my thoughts and know that I will focus only on the race itself and getting from one stage to another, and just enjoy the ride.
I also know that Ironman is truly about exitting the comfort zone. Whenever we exit the comfort zone, uncertainty, fear and doubt always easily come out. But it is also when we exit the comfort zone that growth can truly take place.
Next confidence boost: Today I learn there is a damn current in the lake which was flowing quite strongly yesterday during the swim! I have no doubt that was what slowed me down quite a bit. I also heard they will close the dam on the river into which the lake flows into so that the current will be minimized. So maybe I don’t suck as much as I thought….!
Biked at 11am with my tour group. We cruised the run path to the turnaround and came back. Lots of rolling hills, and at least the hills didn’t seem short, choppy, and steep, but rather long and gradual. Could be killer after biking 112 miles…!
Man are the roads funky here. They use some sort of crushed gravel mixed with tar which creates this annoying vibration in your hands all ride long.
I am also worried about the wide variance in temperatures. When we get out of the water, it may be 55-60 degrees. By mid-day, it will climb into the mid-70s. I have arm warmers for the morning but hopefully the excitement of the race will warm my body and it won’t bug me too much.
The next crazy thing is that the bike course is not closed to traffic, and around here that means these double-length logging trucks roll by at 60 MPH and they wind they create is immense. It is really nerve wracking to have these guys barrel past you when there is practically no shoulder.
But the most crazy thing is the fact that I ride on the left hand side of the road, with passing on the right. Everything is reversed from the US! I hope I don’t zone out out there and forget which side of the road I’m supposed to be on. Today, I seem to be getting more used to it, but I concentrate quite heavily when riding.
Even crossing the road is challenging and knowing which side to look. In London, they mark the near the sidewalk “Look Right” so that foreigners know which way to look for oncoming traffic. No such markings here.
The Ironman expo is in full swing. I went over there and probably bought way too many things! And I better finish now or else I’ll feel funny wearing Ironman NZ ’05 gear. Cool hats, shirts, bike jersey and tri-shorts. Very nice.
Again, still a beautiful day in Taupo. All of us pray that the weather holds until Saturday.
First Note:
One of the funniest things about triathlon is the tan lines you get. Swimming in speedos in the sun gets you the cool euro tan, but when you wear a race singlet or jersey and are out there all day, you’ll get weird overlapping patterns of tan no matter how much sunscreen you put on, not to mention having the bike shorts leg tan line. One friend remarked to me that if you wear bike shorts and switch to tri-shorts, which are shorter than bike shorts, you’ll get the Neopolitan Ice Cream tan line set on your legs.
Today I got my first Orca race jersey tan lines. It’s gonna be funny when I hit the beach this summer, for sure….
Second Note:
There is this public bathroom called the “SuperLoo”. Now mind you, this is no ordinary “loo” as the brits or near brits call them. This is a SUPER LOO. Why is it super? Well apparently there are toilets from every country in the world. Want a pee wall? Got it. Want a hole in the ground? Got one of those too. And you can take a shower there and all sorts of other things too. Amazing!
I just posted pictures here at Yahoo! Photos. Enjoy!

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