This morning I woke early from dreams of Ironman - 30 foot waves in the ocean, running shoes that I put too much vaseline in and melted all over my race bags.
Oh yeah....I'm ready to go. In body and mind.
Went for a quick run along Alii Drive. It's relatively quiet this morning. A few people out cycling. Saw Nicole DeBoom out there smiling on her run.
Today is the pensive, quiet countdown before the race. I've been thinking a lot. I was at the athlete meeting last night when a PC athlete was on the screen talking about his perspective on race day. Why he does it; he says it's the ultimate test in truth and character. You're out there for up to 17 hours with no one but yourself. It is in those hours that you find your true character and who you are.
A few years ago, someone asked me why I do it. I didn't have an eloquent answer at the time and I still don't. I don't think any of us walk around with 10 well-written reasons about why we do this to ourselves. I think the answers come to us in furtive pieces along the way. You might find the answer during a hard set in the pool, a tempo run, or a 100 mile ride. You piece it all together and over time try to make sense of it for yourself.
And that's how you feel waiting at the edge of Ironman. You know at some point during the day you will find the most eloquent answer yet. And that answer will be good enough for awhile. Until you start your search again.
I believe those of us that do this are also always searching. We are always in search of something bigger than ourselves. We are smart, talented, we look for more out of everyday life. We balance families, jobs, interests, spouses, and still we want more. I believe we do endurance events because they are one of the few challenges we can find for ourselves.
I know that one of the only challenges left is to get out there for 140.6 miles and battle with myself. Because you know out there it's just you and your mind. It's a constant dialogue, at times an argument between you and your head. It strips everything down to the raw and real - the only thing that is going to get in the way of you and your success out there is you. The only thing that will get you across that line is you. It doesn't matter what happens out there or what the conditions are - in the end it is you - your arms pulling water, your legs pushing pedals, your feet hitting pavement on a very hot road and the conversations in your head that make this happen the whole way.
You get philosophical before a big race like this. You have to. Because you know on some level a race of this magnitude and distance just isn't quite right. You have to find reasons why. I have found my reasons why and hope to find more tomorrow.
For now I am going to take my cup of coffee and watch the waves. The ocean is quiet today, it is calm. I will find my quiet there too.