Ironman Paranoia

I’m towards the end of training for Ironman Austria and getting psyched for the race, which is only about 3 weeks away. As I reflect on the training period for this Ironman versus New Zealand last year, I notice some distinct differences, and I am reminded of them as I talk with other friends who are doing their first Ironmans this year.
One big difference this year is my confidence in my ability to finish Ironman, given the training that I am doing. Last year, I underwent what I would call “Ironman Paranoia”, which is when you never think you’re ready, despite all the training you’re doing.
You go out for many weekends, biking long hours all day, running and swimming on top of that. You stress about your nutrition. Will I eat enough? Will I get a stomach ache? Will I throw up on the course and drop out? You get aches and pains in your body and legs and worry about whether or not you’ll collapse in pain during the race. You wonder about pacing and whether or not you’ll have enough energy to last to the end. But couple that with your desire to do well and you wonder if you can push a little harder and do better, or ultimately get a slot to the Kona Championships. Or you may bonk and have the worst experience of your life trying to get to the finish line.
So you train. And train. And train. And maybe even overtrain. You do more than you really need to because you never feel really prepared. And therein lies the danger that you’ll cross some invisible line that throws you into an overtrained state and opens up cause for injury. This is why I have come to trust my coach and do exactly what he tells me, because he, the veteran of many Ironmans knows how much to train, and when it is too much.
When you watch Ironman on TV, you see all sorts of things happen to people. People collapsing in exhaustion or heat. People with wobbly legs, crawling to the finish line. People who are throwing up and yet pick themselves back up and race to the finish line.
And you see people sitting by the side of the road quietly sobbing, sobbing because they have given up and can go no further and can’t realize their dream of becoming Ironman.
I for one don’t like leaving things to chance, so I prepare physically and mentally. But as time goes by, I get to know myself better and find out how to prepare just enough and not too much. Mostly, I just relax and enjoy the moment when I’m out there racing, and the crowd goes wild as I approach the finish line, and the announcer screams “Dave Shen, You’re an IRONMAN!”
There ain’t nuthin’ like it in the world. So don’t mess it up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts