The Crucible

As I understand it, the traditional final major act Camp Pendleton Marine recruits go through before actually becoming MARINES involves something called The Crucible.  I don't know exactly what it entails, but I do know there's significant physical and mental hardship imposed on the hardened young soldiers.  I know it's a rite of passage, as well as a bonding ritual. I'm viewing tomorrow's and Sunday's training sessions in similar fashion.  My own personal Crucible.  Tomorrow features a six-hour brick workout and Sunday is a 2.4-swim followed by a three-hour run.  By the end of this weekend, I'll have trained close to 11 hours.  I'll probably bike around 56 miles and run about 32.

The thought of doing that is more mentally daunting than a physical fear.  Staying mentally sharp for that period of time in a non-race mindset will be a challenge.  I realize that is exactly what will be required of me for Ironman Arizona. But tomorrow is not that day just yet.  However, I need to pass through this Crucible.  The final weekend of build training before the taper period.  Untold thousands of Ironman triathletes have gone through the same final test of physical and mental fortitude.  Tomorrow is my turn.

Fortunately, I should have help.  My buddy Caleb will likely join tomorrow's workout, and Bob (who also is racing IMAZ) will be my training partner on Sunday.  The weather looks like it will cooperate as well.  Though it will be cold in Fillmore, it likely won't rain.  I cannot possibly imagine doing a six-hour brick in a gym.  That might be too much for even me to handle without going stir crazy.

I'm not sure how I'm going to break up the workouts this weekend to stay mentally engaged.  In talking with Stephanie about it, I'll probably look at doing it by bike loops (1.75) or time (1.5 hours roughly per loop).  I'm also debating bringing music on the run.  I know I should train like it's a race, but if I'm running by myself with nobody else on the road essentially, that's not a race day condition either.  On the flip side, I want to make sure I can hear traffic.  I'll see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow.

For now, it's off to hang out with Steph for a while since we won't see much of each other this weekend.  This is perhaps the toughest part of Ironman training for us both.  It's the period where I need maximum time to train and recover, and sadly that can come at the expense of our quality time.  We're making the most of it, as we dined together tonight interviewing a potential wedding photographer, and now we're going to spend some quiet time alone after a trying week.

The Crucible is finally here.

27 days and counting.