My taper started 2 weeks out from race day. I had head many things about what tapering would feel like:
I didn’t really find any of that to be true – well I might have had limited ability to focus, but that’s pretty normal. Leigh Ann had recommended I set time aside to listen to inspiring or happy things, watch happy movies and videos, etc. I used the extra time taper offered to put together my Happy Playlist and then listened to it on repeat. I had asked my family to email me either a song or something that helped them push through hard things. It was so fun to get their responses and so completely motivational. Jeff might have felt irritated about constantly listening to the same music over and over but he never complained. I also used the time to create a tattoo design to help me remember the motivation I needed when things would get tough.
One of the things that stuck out to me during my taper was how the “short” workouts of my taper used to be what my long workouts were. It’s amazing how our definition of what’s hard changes as we get stronger. It was a time of reflecting back on the path I’ve taken to get where I’m at and it was very satisfying to me. My favorite taper workout was my “8 miles just for fun”. Nicole and I were able to coordinate our schedules to run together. We chose to run from the Y and go out 4 miles to the fire station and back. It was fun to reminisce the days when making it ALL THE WAY to the fire station was a monumental achievement. We were surprised by a race course set up on our route that morning. What a happy fun day!
I loved my taper as it gave me time to just enjoy my workouts and be sillier than I had been during my big builds. Pretty soon, it was time to start packing for the race.
Tuesday evening before race day, I was partially packed for a Wednesday morning departure and Ironman made the announcement that the bike course would be shortened as a result of the road damage caused by Hurricane Matthew. My initial reaction was disappointment and I scrambled to see if I could find an alternative so I would be able to complete the full 140.6 miles. I sent a few emails, did some Google searching, checked in with Leigh Ann about what adjustments were reasonable for my training, checked with Jeff about the lost expenses and potential added expense, checked with family members that I knew had non-refundable plans and in a few hours had decided that my best course of action was to continue as planned with Ironman NC.
Some of that decision came down to the way my view of race day had evolved through out my training. My training mantra had been “BUILD IRON”! That mantra got me happily through many tough workouts. I wanted to be prepared for the day of racing and I wanted to know I had done everything within my control to be as prepared as possible. I’m not sure exactly when my mindset shifted to viewing October 22 as a day to celebrate what I had BECOME rather than a day that would DETERMINE what I was made of. In a strange way I was grateful for this curveball as it reinforced to me that I didn’t need a specific race to tell me I was an Ironmama….I knew I had already built enough IRON and I was ready.
So we finished loading the car and left for Wilmington Wednesday morning. I almost forget to load my bike – that would have been a doozy of a mistake. In spite of the almost forgotten bike, I was uncharacteristically calm during this entire trip. At one point I wondered aloud if there was something wrong because I wasn’t a basket of nerves. Jeff laughed and I imagine he was thinking, “This girl is a nut job – worried if she’s stressed too much and worried if she’s not stressed enough”. It helped me embrace this new, but very foreign, zen version of myself.
The next 3 days were spent with Athlete Check in, Athlete Meetings, Practice swims, Calibration Bike/Run, Lunch with Jeff’s parents, Team Dinner, Checking and double checking gear, Gear Check in, Naps and shopping.
Just a few of the pictures!
It was finally Friday night – Bedtime @ 9:00pm – Alarm set for 4:15am
The Hay was in the Barn!