The realization that in less than two weeks this journey will be over both excites me and terrifies me. I know in my head I am ready. I have swam 1.2 miles in open water with my wetsuit and was just fine. I biked 50 miles last week and although tired, had no trouble, even with how hot it was and the fact that you can’t go anywhere to avoid the hills. I haven’t run the full 13 during my training, but I have logged 7 or 8 half marathons and a full marathon, so I know I can physically do it. I’ve already created a game plan in my mind for how I’m going to finish this 70.3. The biggest thing I’m going to do is remember that this is MY race. Other people racing are doing it for a variety of reasons with a variety of goals. My goal? To finish. My goal? To enjoy the experience. I’m not going to get worked up if people are passing me or if I have to walk during the half marathon. I started this with the mindset that I need to B.strong. Not just on the physical end of things, but on the mental end as well.
Don’t get me wrong. My stomach has been a mess the past week. I keep blaming it on how much popcorn I’ve been consuming (a slight addiction) or that I’ve gotten a “bug”. I’m pretty sure it’s nerves setting in. I’ve been keeping an eye on the surf reports for Lake Michigan (BRRRR) and trying to nurse my hamstring so I have enough in it to cross the finish line. But anytime self-doubt creeps in, there is always someone there reminding me that I’ve got this. They don’t even know most of the time that I’m nervous, but they seem to know what I need to hear when I need to hear it.
Excitement is starting to overcome the nerves. Excitement that so many people important to me are able to be there on Race Day. Excited about going to the Ironman Village and being an athlete, not a spectator like I was when I supported my friend Jen when she did a full IM. Excited that I get to compete (ok, use compete loosely here) in a race that I have been training for since March. I think back to all those times I drove to UWP to swim, or had to find another place to swim (the creepy place in Prairie for example). I think to Mary Sheckler, offering HerSuppz to sponsor me for this (What an honor!) I think back to sitting in bed on that December/January night getting kicked out of registration like 3 times because I kept chickening out to push the submit button. I remember being able to tell Jenna Heckendorf and her family (Nikki Nemitz and Sue Kuenster) that I accepted the challenge was going to join Joe Krantz in this journey. I get excited about all the new connections and friendships I have made during this and the support that so many people in my life have continuously given me. It’s all about to come together in one exciting weekend. I can’t wait to see my friends and family at the finish line.
I’ve realized so many things through these past 5 months. I’ve realized God really does put certain people in your life. I’ve realized that your friends will do anything they can to support you-whether it’s helping you with your training, asking you how things are going, commenting on posts with words of encouragement or taking time out of their life to come watch, even when it’s inconvenient. I’ve realized that you should never sell yourself short and that you will amaze yourself with what you might be able to do if you just try. I’ve realized that you never know who you are inspiring.
Part of me wants this next week and half to go by slow and part of me wants to fast forward to race weekend. Either way, I’m going to enjoy the last leg of my journey. Every last mile.