Thursday, June 26, 2008

Each Of Us On An Island

On July 20th when I'm in Mirror Lake waiting for the starting gun to sound I'll be surrounded by 2,000 individuals each fighting their way off their own private island. Yesterday after a terrifying swim in White Pond in Kent, NY where I felt as if I was being attacked by 6 foot weeds I felt isolated from the world through Ironman training. All the struggles I've encountered in the past year were transformed into waves making me think I was standing alone on an island with 140.6 miles between me and the rest of the world.

I spoke with my Coach about this last night; she said that each athlete training for IMLP feels almost exactly the same way that I do. That each person will face an internal struggle during the race and each person will need to overcome those obstacles to call themselves an Ironman for the first time or the xth time. Each person will be on their own island and will be fighting the same waves. Their waves may be created from different fears and different struggles than mine but each person will need to navigate those waters, to shed the feeling of isolation and to fight through to the finish.

With IMLP looming like an enormous storm cloud 25 days away, bike issues that I've been struggling to fix and some 6 foot weeds that wanted to kill me my island felt like it was further off the shore than ever before. The last block of training is always the hardest according to Coach Egg. This is where mental toughness truly becomes a factor; the pressure of the race isn't there in January but it sure as hell is there in late June and especially July. I want each finger prick to give me a perfect result, I want each workout to be perfect, I want my muscles to feel the best they ever have and each time that doesn't happen I am frustrated. With my goal in sight this is the time where I must trust my training and not fear those waters but embrace them to break through to the other side. This is the time to leave that island and face those waves head on, to look fear and frustration in the face and work as hard as I possibly can to defeat them. This is what the journey to becoming an Ironman is all about.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." ~ Winston Churchill


LoveOfShoes said...

Hi there- Thanks for the comment. have to admit I have been lurking on your blog for awhile, and realized I think we may have actaully met at a Terrier mixer, but didn't want to seem like a stalker online :)

I think this post get to just how grueling training for an Ironman really is, not just physically, but emotionally as well. Keep it up, only a few more weeks!

Shannon said...

OWS seems to be most triathletes' biggest hurdle to overcome.

You'll do great. Persistance is key.

Kim said...

can we share the island? maybe with a bottle of wine and a good soft porn? okay hard porn, whatever. seriously, you are NOT alone. you know that.

Train-This said...

Dude, you made me cry in my Venti Pike Place.

:-) Mary

PS; Congrats on the last ride in NYC

rr said...

Great post - it's very true about the island. I feel like the key to a successful IM is adaptation. You're right, there will be surprises, and you will adapt and keep on. A friend of mine is diabetic and finished her first IM at AZ this year. She struggled with her levels on the bike, worked it out, and finished with a great time and a smile on her face.. as you will. Keep up that great attitude and training!!


Anonymous said...

your blog has inspired me. I will keep you in my prayers.I don't believe in luck It is just hard work. It will be worth it no matter what happens! take a deep breath and relax!

Anne said...

This is the toughest phase and then you will be able to celebrate all you have worked so hard for in Lake Placid. I believe race day is a celebration of what you have become, as well as a challenge to see what is possible. You will have an amazing experience.

And to answer your question, yes being involved with Triabetes and Diabetes Training Camp has had a substantial impact on the way I manage my diabetes during the race. It has also helped me to have the emotional support. I am a pretty fierce fighter and have figured out much of this on my own; but some of the way I have approached things has changed and I feel like things are really coming together for Wisconsin, as long as my body recovers okay from IMCDA... Plus as you may have felt, being together with a group of like-minded diabetics can be pretty awesome.

Mandy said...

best of luck in july. the discipline, mental toughness, and spirit you are exhibiting will help you as you tackle the darden mba. it ain't called 'boot camp' for nothin! when you pass the hungry trout motel in lake placid say hi to linda and jerry, the owners. they are former in-laws of mine and special people. they support the race every year and are always in awe of the athletes who attempt it.
take care and keep in touch. good luck with the training and remember that in the end it comes down to the amount of heart you put into it. i don't doubt you've got a lot.