My daughter and I are finally nearing the end of the build phase of training. What does life look right now?
Well, there are a lot of wrappers: Rice Krispie square wrappers, gummy wrappers, A&W wrappers, banana peels. It’s all either training fuel or post-training pig-out. We spend a lot of time eating, and not all of it is healthy.
My apartment’s a mess. Work is chaotic. I need to do laundry. Sometimes I go to bed at 9PM and sleep for ten hours.
Fitting everything in is the biggest challenge, because it’s not just the workouts that have to be squeezed in around work. It’s massage, and stretching, and rolling, and chiropractor appointments, and, yes, sleep.
My skin hates me. My legs hate me. My shoulders mostly hate me. I fall asleep in the middle of the day.
But things are starting to wind down. The bikes have to be tuned up and then I have one more long ride before I drive them down to Seattle for transport to Florida. We’ve done our last open water swim. I’ll still be doing a fair bit of running because my run training consisted of a series of disasters and I’m only now feeling better and am ridiculously behind. Better late than never, I suppose, but I’m not sure how that will look on race day.
To be honest, I’m not sure how anything will look on race day. If the weather is bad, the swim and bike will be miserable. I might not make the cutoffs. Even if the weather is good, I might not make them. It’s such a long race, anything could happen: gut issues, flat tires, who knows? I’d like to say I’m ready, but as a friend has said (and it’s my favourite quote about this race), you’re never ready for Ironman. It’s true. No one is. All you can do is train as consistently as you can and hope for the best.
We’ve been exceptionally lucky with the weather. We’ve been able to bike and swim outside right up to the middle of October, and while I wouldn’t call yesterday’s water warm, it was still warm enough to swim in for over an hour.
We’ve also been exceptionally lucky to be able to train together. There have been many long rides where I would have called it and gone home, but for having my daughter there to keep me going.
I know how fortunate I am to do this with her. I appreciate every moment we get to spend together, even when they’re tough. Maybe especially then. When we stop to stretch after 140km of riding and encourage each other to get the last twenty done—it’s pretty wonderful.
And even though I complain sometimes about being tired or sore or behind at work, I wouldn’t change this for anything. When I swim at the lake on a quiet Sunday morning, when I start an early ride and the moon is still shining on the water, when I go for a run (any run)—I am grateful for this process.
It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
Dan Ezekiel says
You should be very proud of what you both have done! Wishing you all the best on race day!
Michelle Barker says
Thank you. It is tough to just to make it to the start line. I have no idea if I’ll finish but will certainly give it everything I’ve got.
Anne Condon says
Fantastic blog that captures reality at the peak of training, thank you! This experience and bond with your daughter is wonderful. I’ve always been amused at Ironman’s “anything is possible” slogan – yes, not making a cutoff, or even the start line, is possible. Being mentally prepared for that makes it a lot less likely, because you’ll be calmer when faced with snafus. I’ll be rooting for you!
Michelle Barker says
Thank you, Anne. You are an inspiration. Not sure how you made it through your year. I do one and I’m absolutely finished.