People have been asking me a lot of questions lately about Ironman Arizona. That's understandable. "How are you feeling?"
"Are you ready?"
"Are you nervous?"
I've had pat answers for all these: Fine, but getting more excited with each day. Yes, I'm ready. More than ready. And yeah, I'm a little nervous too, though feeling much better now that I can change flat tires with relative confidence.
The one topic that has thrown me for a loop has come courtesy of separate conversations with two Fortius teammates: "Do you recommend training a full year for an Ironman?"
Honestly, that is such a tough question to answer right now. As I mentioned to Joe tonight at one of my last Fortius-coached swims of the year, now is not the best time to ask me that.
I'll admit that I'm tired mentally after a long year of training. I have to find new ways to motivate myself every day to train, even in these final stages. Though tonight was a good night for confidence and morale building as I confirmed via a 2,000 yard time trial that I can indeed hit my desired swim goal in Arizona. After watching the results from IM Florida and Silverman, knowing my Fortius teammates racing there are much faster than me, I wasn't so sure Coach Gerardo's goal time was reasonable. I know it is now. That's huge, just as my bike ride with Bob on Sunday restored my confidence on the bike.
But confidence-building like that doesn't come from just a few weeks or months cramming. At least not in my case. It's been a long, LONG road to get here, almost a never-ending road. I've trained almost 600 hours since late last November. I'm at the end of my line mentally and emotionally in terms of holding on to the passion for completing this massive challenge. I need race day to come SOON.
Fortunately, it's rushing towards me like a 100-mph fastball.
That said, putting in all this time has allowed me to achieve milestones I never thought possible. I've made significant progress in each tri-discipline, progress I wouldn't have made had I not pushed myself as hard as I did. Or taken a chance on Fortius. From a purely physical standpoint, I don't regret the training regimen one bit. I'm in the best shape of my life by leaps and bounds. My 36-year-old self could kick my 16-year-old self's ass, and I was in solid shape as a kid!
As far as advice I'd give to anyone considering the same Ironman training schedule, I'd suggest asking and answering the following questions first:
-- What's your available free time?
-- Are you single? What's your relationship like if you're in one? How supportive is your partner?
-- What's your work situation like? Hours? Stress level?
-- What kind of prior training/athletic/triathlon background do you have?
-- Any significant milestones during the year besides your Ironman? How will it affect your training?
How you answer these questions and others will determine how you can train for your Ironman.
So, would I do it all again?
Can I tell you in a couple months?
12 days and counting.