Three weekends ago, in the midst of Florida's record breaking fall heat wave, my long workouts were killers. I had to cut short my intended 15 mile long run to a 12 miler. My century ride was shortened to a 94 mile ride at the end of which I was risking heat exhaustion and suffered cramping. I had to cut my long open water swim at 1.5 miles do to simply being tired. From that vantage point, the ironman distance looked impossible. I figured I would be able to complete the swim and probably finish the bike portion of the ironman, but I couldn't fathom getting off of a 112 mile ride and running a marathon. I vowed to myself that I would continue training and give the Arizona Ironman a go, but frankly, completing the event seemed impossible.
I kept at the training. Then, last weekend a cold front finally, God blessedly, moved into Florida. The temperatures dropped out of the high 80s and low 90s, down to the 50s. I got a 22 mile long run in last Saturday. I did a long pool swim on Friday morning that buddy John calculated to be a 2.5 mile swim. Yesterday, John & I did very smart steady paced century ride that left me feeling so good that I was able to top it off with a 5K run to make it a brick. This morning, I went to the ocean and did a 2 hour open water swim and ran back the 2.5 miles along the sand.
Suddenly, what previously seemed impossible, seems possible. I felt good enough last Saturday that I felt I could have run a full marathon that day. I felt good enough on the ride yesterday that I believe I could have continued the ride to compete a 112 bike ride. I felt good enough coming off the bike yesterday that I believe I could have run a marathon if it had been the day of the event. From my last 2 swims, I know I can complete the swim portion of the ironman. I'm suddenly coming to the belief and understanding that I will be able to string all of these events together on one day. It will take very smart nutrition and effort management, but I know believe it can be done.
My body has made the adjustments and is ready to do the ironman. I still have a long run and long ride to complete, but my body has made the adjustment. My training is at the peak of the training hill. The next couple of weeks are coasting at the this peak before easing off in taper and resting the body for the event day. This is good, because I now am ready for the final level of training: mental training. Belief is the first step in being able to complete. I now believe this thing is realistically doable. Its clearly possible. Now, I simply need to start thinking about my game day nutrition and strategies. Its time to plan to make the possible a reality.