Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What the *#$% Have I Done!

After a great weekend in NY, I’m cruising some 20,000 feet in the air thankful that the pilots are (hopefully) more awake than I.  As I think towards this Sunday I am still a mixed bag of emotions; I repeatedly bounce between being confident to being petrified.  And back.  And back again.    
This is normal right?  

While my mind is racing with thoughts of the impulsive decision I made last Friday, I’m encouraged by the accomplishments of my fellow Tri Locos; props to Gerardo, Mario, and Noemi,  for completing another 70.3, and a huge congrats to Danny on his first Half-Iron finish!  Their triumph yesterday at Austin 70.3 reminds me that the hard work will pay off, and, that I will accomplish a feat I could never imagine taking on. 

My training this weekend was mostly smooth and confidence building:  A great ride Saturday morning on Key Biscayne, powering through the strong winds to keep a solid pace for about 2 hrs.  Sunday morning included a 70 minute run in the brisk fall weather of suburban Long Island (well before most had awoken from their slumber).  Then it was onto the pool, home to my most challenging workouts.  I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy working to increase my efficiency (and stamina), yet I remain a major work in progress.  My longest open water swim is about .75 miles, but somehow I’m expecting to will myself through 1.2 miles. 

Sunday was my first swim since signing up for Miami 70.3 and to call it anything other than demoralizing would be lying.  Despite getting off to a relatively good start, I basically suffered from a borderline panic attack about 20 minutes in.  There was no physical reason for my struggles; I was getting on just fine, gliding through the water the best I know how.  I still have major room to better my form (which will be a huge off-season priority), but it’s my mental game that I need to keep in check.  Not being able to swim for so much of my life has lead to my almost paralyzing aqua-doubt.

I pushed through a bit more of the swim workout but cut it well short of what I set out to do.  I figure at this point I am not going to make any great strides, form or otherwise, and it is best to focus on getting my mind right for Sunday.  I spent the rest of the day continually reminding myself that I can and will make it through the swim leg of the race.  And, I’ll do so under the time limit (if only barely) and with enough in the tank for the rest of the day.  I’m confident that if I make it out of the water in time, I will succeed on both the bike and run and meet my goal of completing the event.

There’s no going back now.  Not only is my registration locked down, but my ultra-supportive parents (upon learning what I’ve done) have booked plane tickets for my Dad to come watch me take on my next “tri-lestone.”  Not only will he be there (along with my ever-encouraging wife), but he will bring my 85 year old grandparents from West Palm Beach to watch me cross the finish line.  Thoughts of making my family proud, in addition to the sense of achievement I hope to feel, will propel me through the week. 

Each of my family members is heroic for some great reason or another.  Dad:  beating the odds when doctors began to hint at his mortality (due to an aggressive cancer).  Grandpa: suffering a heart attack at a young age only to forge ahead to lead one of the most active lifestyles of anyone I know his age.  Seriously, he plays golf three times a week, bocce (yep, the Italians let him in as the honorary Jew) once a week, and bowls on Fridays (with the ability to beat most people 50 years his junior).  Grandma: also for taking down cancer.  Mom: for her never fading enthusiasm.  How many women teach all school year and rather than take a summer break choose to direct a summer camp instead?  Only one woman that I know.  And last but not least, my loving wife, who has been working full-time, going to school in her free time, and supporting me through just another of my premature mid-life crises (add it to motorcycle, tattoos, skydiving).

Thinking of their successes, I will push past fear and doubt and focus only on triumph.  I will visualize what the moment will feel like as I surge through the final checkpoint into the waiting arms of anyone who will catch me.

Now off for some airplane shluffy-time to make up for our late-night arrival to MIA and a night which I’ll be well-exceeding my bedtime.  Tomorrow’s plan calls for an early bike ride followed by a race strategy (pacing and nutrition) meeting with Coach Tim.


  1. I'm doing my first 70.3 in Miami on Sunday too! I just found your blog. There's two other "Swim Bike Mom" friends who are doing Miami too - you should stop on over to Facebook and say hi!

  2. Awesome! Looks like you've been on quite the journey; I'm sure you'll do great this weekend. I've been living in Miami for a while, so let me know if you have any questions.

    All the best on Sunday!