Calm Before the Storm

There are 290 days left until Ironman Arizona. There are 14 hours left until the first race of my Ironman season.

The Surf City Half Marathon looms.  Today's weather reflects my attitude about the race.  Murky.  Gray.  Rainy.  Patches of sun.

Why?  I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow.  Two-plus months of Ironman training will be put to the test for the first time.  While I'm absolutely certain I will break two hours, the question is whether I'll break 1:50, my time last year at the Pacific Half Marathon in Agoura.

I'm no doubt in better shape than I was a year ago for Surf City, my first half marathon.  However, am I faster?  Will I get the chance to find out?  According to my schedule, Surf City is supposed to be a C-level race priority.  A training run, in other words.  But can anything be a C-level priority if you have to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to do it?  Coach Gerardo has me following a specific plan tomorrow, which essentially calls for remaining in zone 3 heart rate for the first 10 miles and zone 4 for the last three.  That means I won't be able to cross beyond 168 bpm in the final three miles.

I'm not sure my competitive side will allow for that.  If I feel good, I know I'll be very tempted to push it.  C-level priority my ass.  Especially if my buddies Kevin and Tim are running side-by-side at that point, or slightly ahead.  And they know it too.

Either way, I am dialed in for this race.  I wasn't when the day began.  Hours in the car schlepping from Sherman Oaks to Huntington Beach to pick up the race packet, and back to Thousand Oaks for an appointment gave me plenty of time to idly think about the race, training, family, life, etc.  My mind was all over the place.

Then, my iPod saved the day again.  Isn't it funny when your iPod seems more like a friend than a music player -- knowing just what song to play on shuffle mode exactly when you need to hear it most?

Today, that song was "Right Here, Right Now" by Van Halen.  Like a gong in yoga class, the opening piano and guitar riff snapped my focus together instantly.

Then, I played it three times in a row.

Needless to say, I'm pretty jacked right about now.

Is it 8 a.m. yet?

290 days and counting.