OK, this is my 301st blog post, for those of you keeping score. That's 300 times over the past year where I gathered my thoughts, positive or negative, and shared them in this space. If roughly each post is around 250 words (probably more, but we'll play it conservative), that's around 75,000 words combined.
That's also a lot of time to spend dwelling on one goal.
So, what have I learned so far?
-- I've learned that Ironman is much more about mental toughness rather than physical toughness.
-- I've learned I really don't like getting meals from bars and gels. But if ya gotta do it, Clif Bars and chocolate Hammer gel work just fine.
-- I've learned that the hardest workouts, not the best workouts, are the most gratifying. Sometimes just getting by is all the accomplishment one needs.
-- I've learned that the body is a delicate machine that requires constant care and feeding (literally) to perform at optimum levels.
-- I've also learned that ice baths are worth the shocking pain a man can get in the worst of places while taking them.
-- I've learned that just when you think you've spent enough on all the triathlon gear you'll need, there's something new to buy.
-- I've learned that without a supportive partner, friends and family, triathlon is the loneliest of pursuits. And without that same support on race day, completing a triathlon is among the emptiest of accomplishments.
-- I've learned that how far I can push myself is a moving target based on my conditioning and my mental state. In other words, it is up to me.
-- I've learned that while you have to do the actual work, a coach will make that work count for more. I can't say enough good things about Coach Gerardo.
-- I've also learned that having a group of training partners to help push you forward is unspeakably valuable. I can't imagine having trained for nearly a year at this point without them.
-- I've learned that honesty and vulnerability regarding my feelings make me stronger, not weaker.
-- I've learned that blogging helps me gain perspective on my training that in turn combats burnout since I can learn to take a small nugget from practically every workout.
-- I've learned how to take care of myself for the rest of my life by leading a healthy lifestyle.
-- I've learned that consistent physical training can help me make better, more creative decisions in the workplace.
-- I've learned to appreciate my training off days.
-- I've learned to tolerate my upstairs neighbor. That little bitch.
-- I've learned that chlorine is powerful stuff. It corrodes swimsuits, hardens skin and lightens hair. Yikes!
-- I've learned I'm a much different person today than I was when I started Ironman training. Perhaps I've seen more physical, spiritual and emotional growth over the past year than during any other point in my life.
-- I've learned that no matter what happens on November 21, I've done the work to be called an Ironman.
Thank you for sharing that journey with me.
20 days and counting.