A Different Kind of Countdown

Two weeks from tonight, Stephanie and I are getting married. It feels pretty similar to that overwhelming feeling I got two weeks before my first Ironman.  Instead of relying on all the training that got me to that moment, all I could think about was the unknown of whether I'd reach the finish line.  This past week, it was hard not to think about the statistics working against Steph and me, the high divorce rates, shrinking marriage numbers and total strangers I met during my bachelor party weekend who bitterly told me of their failed relationships and why I should reconsider my own.  On top of that, wedding planning reached a feverish peak.  We had tension in the house, deadlines closing in, bills to pay, seating charts to make, and one hell of an Excel spreadsheet filled with to-dos.

It almost became too much to handle.

Then, I recalled my Ironman training and the race itself.  First, I got to the finish line. I made it!  I trusted the hard work and it paid off.  Then, I remembered the team of supporters I had rallying around me.  I didn't do everything on my own.  More important, Steph was such a supporter to me of my Ironman journey that I needed to rally here at the hardest of moments and be the same kind of rock. I then recalled that simply staying calm and focusing on the immediate task in front of me can pay huge dividends. Marriage can seem difficult and overwhelming when you present it in the same metaphorical terms as a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a marathon run.  Now that I'm not training as much, I'm getting more easily overwhelmed by those distances and wondering how in the world did I pull it off?  However, when you break down each distance into more manageable mini-races, the task seems more reasonable.

I never thought that completing an Ironman would change how I approach even larger life milestones, but it has.  I've learned how to remain calm and focused when I used to freak out.  And more important, I have a successful blueprint for how to handle big changes in my life.

I've heard many of my friends tell me that the final two weeks before their wedding were the worst.  Lots of fights, lots of tears, and ultimately people trying to block that period from their memory banks.  I was on track to be exactly like everyone else, until I remembered my Ironman training and that though the event is much bigger, I've been down this road before.  Once I realized that, which essentially occurred during a morning jog by myself today, I took a huge breath and let a lot of stress out of my system.

What a relief!

So, with exactly two weeks and counting to my wedding, I think I'm officially "ready" for my Lifetime Ironman.