Sunday, October 02, 2011

Counting Down

Right now I’m writing to you from under several thick layers of bubble wrap. 

Seeing that my child woke up this morning with a cold, I’m also breathing through a mask laced with Vitamin C and wearing plastic gloves.

I’ve made it this far.  This far.  I’ve survived months of training with no illness and no injury. For crying out loud, I arrived at race weight!  Have you any idea how difficult that was?  Wine has not touched these lips for many weeks and all I can say is I AM THIRSTY!

All that stands between me and the Ironman start line is a few days and 9 hours of air travel.  Last night I did some online research on how to handle a long flight with a young child.  After finding some great ideas on a forum, I am now equipped with crayons, a roll of scotch tape, a wallet with old cards, a lock with key, a Magna Doodle, paper, stickers, magnets, trucks and enough snacks to feed the entire plane.  All of that will keep my child entertained for roughly 30 minutes until he realizes that hitting the seat in front of us is way more fun. 

In addition to sending me your prayers for that flight, you can send me your ideas on Ben & Jerry ice cream flavors I must try after Ironman.  I’ve been working on a list of things to do when I get my life back.  Most of them include riding my cross bike to/from an alcoholic establishment.  To clarify: I don’t race cyclocross, I just ride my cross bike to get drunk.  I’m pretty sure that makes me a winner in a very special category.  Other things I want to do include eating things in the food group of sugar, fat and coffee.  And at least one line item contains the idea that I just want to NOT eat at all.  Like skip a meal and not worry about the implications.  Maybe wake up and not eat breakfast for – oh – an hour?  One of the most challenging things about Ironman training is that you are always eating.  Not because you’re hungry but because you need it for recovery.  Trust me – this is not a dream come true.  You don’t recover by eating crap.  You have to eat good stuff – lots of good stuff. 

This gets old after about 2000 calories.

In some way, preparing my family for travel has distracted me from the fact that I am doing an Ironman in less than a week.  Packing probably should have been a workout scheduled in Training Peaks.  My entire bathroom countertop was consumed by piles, baggies and lists.  By the time I had counted out enough salt tabs, packed for the race, gathered my own clothes, got together Max’s clothes and assembled a bag for the flight – at least 4 days had gone by.  And Chris?  Tonight he walked into the bedroom, dumped a small pile of clothes on the bed (pile under one arm, beer in the other hand) and said “I’m packed.”

Oh, to be a man.

While Max was sleeping last night, I spent some time putting together my race plan.  Before every race I write everything out – a timeline for the week, my fuel plan, my pacing, my mindset.  The one thing that kept coming back to me was: keep it simple.  Racing 140.6 miles is a very long way.  There is a lot of room for extra “stuff” to enter your head, your body, even your race bags.  I’m keeping it simple.  I’ve got three things I’m going to use to focus (and refocus) myself.  Beyond that, I am going to enjoy the opportunity to do what I love for nearly an entire day.  By myself!  When I think of it like that – WHAT is the rush to get the finish line and back to real life?  Wait…when is Ultraman?  You mean I can disappear from parenting, responsibility and the world for more than an entire day!?  After going through the past week, which I shall label “the week of no naps”, SIGN ME UP!

Life after Ironman.  I’ve got ideas.  And goals.  BIG things.  I will find a way top myself.  That is the goal of life – to continually challenge yourself and grow.  I’ve got a life list of things I want to do and that list is always in front of me.  Do you have a list?  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  One of my list items is Rim to Rim to Rim.  Another is a specific time in a marathon.  I’d like to take one triathlon season and just focus on short course.  I want to get more into weaponry.  Dork moment alert: one of my favorite shows is Top Shot.  I watch it and I want to shoot something – gun, bow/arrow, cannon.  Chris told me to not say a word about this to his father or else I might find myself boar hunting in Hawaii.  

I also want to get into competitive parenting.  Yes, be one of those.  I’ve been seeking out classes and storytimes where I can show up, be the pushy parent and talk my kid up as the smartest and fastest prodigy.  Just as long as no one finds out that he spent nearly 30 minutes today crawling around the house while carrying 3 small packages of dry active yeast.  Why?  Ask him.  I have no idea!

In other taper-worthy news…wait…you mean I’m STILL tapering?  It’s been what – 6 months?  Feels like it.  I’ve done my taper workouts which honestly feel like going to school and the teacher gives you..a worksheet.  That’s it?  I showed up to fill in the blank?    

Anyways, my mom got an iPhone.  We kept joking that if she ever did send a text, she would have to get a cord to plug in to a giant detachable keyboard that she'd keep in her purse.  Except there’s no way that would fit in her purse so how would she ever send a text?  Somehow, I just got one:

I’ve got Mr. P.  Can bring him later.

A cryptic way of saying: she has the Mr. Potato Head!  He’s another one of the toys that will guarantee me at least 10 minutes of silence on the plane.

This morning I went for my last run at home on one of my favorite paths.  The temperature was perfect, my legs are rested and I have the one thing I’ve been chasing after all season: fitness.  Fitness is that feeling of ease and lightness when you go running.  Fitness is hitting all your landmarks in some of your best times ever.  Unfortunately, fitness is always fleeting.  And I know the next time I run on this path, it won’t feel so easy and I won’t be as fast.  The feeling of fitness you have before a peak race is amazing, isn’t it?  Something you want to just bottle up and hold on to.  But part of becoming a better athlete is using up that fitness, letting it go and then rebuilding it. 

I am confident that letting go after Ironman will not be difficult.  Done properly, Ironman purges you of the need to do anything triathlon for at least 4 weeks.  Looking forward to that.  Also looking forward to testing my theory that the only thing that gives cankles worse than childbirth is Ironman.

Note to self: pack compression socks. 

The final countdown has begun.  I'll wake up in my own bed two more times before I wake up in Hawaii.  One thing I love about waking up in Hawaii is the sound of the birds in the morning.  I think it's a type of dove.  Whatever it is, it reminds me that I'm on island time.

Can't wait!

15 comments:

marian said...

how exciting

add pistachio icecream to your list!

and in 5 years i hope to be doing half ironmans and i will be 59....

Molly said...

I'm not even racing and I'm going through a similar packing meltdown - SO MUCH FREAKING SHIT TO BRING. I'm so excited to cheer for you and to just experience the whole thing!!!!!

Bob Mitera said...

Very funny blog entry. Rooting for you Elizabeth.

Meaghan said...

So exciting!!! Good luck w/ the kiddo travel.. I've been known to (good parents, look away NOW!) give Benadryl on long flights. Judge away, but it saves you a couple hours of child entertainment.

Psyched to see what you do in Kona this weekend - enjoy the day!

Julie said...

My one year old (who will not sleep at ALL on flights, even 4 hour ones) likes simple things to play with on the plane: opening and closing the window shade, 2 plastic cups on the tray table, taking the magazines out of the seatback pocket and putting them back in again, taking headphones (the free ones they give out that have the over-the-head piece) and putting them on and off and on and off, and giggling at the people sitting behind us. No matter how many distractions I pack, these are this favorite activities.

Andrea said...

If you ride your cross bike to get drunk, then you are racing cyclocross. The two can not be separated.

At least that's how we roll in KC.

Stay healthy! Stay sane! Stay simple! Have fun! Good luck!

cherelli said...

Love reading your blog - funny, self-depracating and inspring all at the same time. Have a fantastic time/great race in Kona!!!

JennyLou said...

So excited to track you and see your #1 Dream of the year come True!! SWEET :) You're Iron-Ward!

Meredith said...

Dave and I want to do Rim to Rim to Rim. We should plan on it together.

Alili said...

You will kick Kona butt - have a great race Coach! (can I still call you that?!)

Wes said...

ahahaha... you nailed it... safe travels coach. we'll be stalking you...

Erin Elizabeth Miller said...

Ben & Jerry's flavors...
Late Night Snack
Schweddy Balls (FIND IT!)
classic standby...Chubby Hubby

marian said...

have a great race tomorrow!

Jamie said...

Have a fun race!!! You'll do great!

Mike @TheIronYou said...

Such a funny post!
Hope you did well yesterday in Kona.

Peace

Mike