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The Road to Kona: Reset and Recover

14 Aug 2017

It’s been almost two weeks since I qualified for Kona. And it feels like so much longer. Time passes. Life moves on.

After Ironman Santa Rosa, Carlos (my husband), my parents and I stayed in place for a day to let my body start to recover, and then on Monday headed to Lake Tahoe for a short vacation/trip. My parents had celebrated their 50th anniversary, and this was our time to celebrate with them. On our first full

[caption id="attachment_1322" align="alignright" width="300"] My parents and I playing mini golf at Lake Tahoe[/caption]

day there we did our usual post-race recovery activity mini golf. To me it’s the perfect post-race activity as you are moving, it’s low impact, and you do some bending/stretching. Plus you get to spend time with those who supported you building up to your race. It’s become a tradition for us. Despite two hole-in-ones by me, my husband Carlos won that round of mini golf, and we were off to enjoy other things Lake Tahoe had to offer.

All that while we were delaying the inevitable and what people kept asking about – making plans. Reaching this goal is winning a prize. Yes – you earned it, but to take it you have to be able to pay the taxes, fees, and associated cost. And there are a lot: race entry, car rental, a place to stay, airfare. This, however, is a reality we were prepared for.

The night we made our reservations,  I didn’t sleep. It just got real.Very real.  We were in.

I have been slowly reaching out to friends that have been with me on this journey in some way, and saying thank you. I don’t want people to think this is a farewell to Ironman races (it’s not), but it has been a goal that has been in the works for a long time. And now seems like a good time as any to pause and say thank you.

I looked over social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) where I posted some pictures and my blog, and the words that kept popping up were determination and grit.  I hadn’t thought of it. But I like it. There were no guarantees. And there still aren’t. But Grit, determination, and friends have gotten me through a lot, kept me focused, have kept me true to myself on this journey of discovery, and comfortable with my choices.

The immediate training focus after IMSR has been recovery. I haven’t been doing too much: enough to be active and not stiffen up. It’s recovery. No intensity. And I won’t start a dedicated build for another week or so.

A friend and teammate asked me how I plan for a turnaround between Ironman events of just over 2.5 months. With a half-iron tri in between. I told him, “ I don’t know. But I will trust my coach, and you know after!”  This is all new ground for me.

Looking forward I know I will trust the process and, as mentioned, my coach. He’s gotten me this far. And if I were fool enough to doubt, there is proof as last year I had a friend and teammate (coached by my coach as well) qualify at IMCdA (with a shorter turn around) and she was ready for Kona.  I will look at Training Peaks and see what’s there. I will execute to the best of my ability and look forward to what I get to do, and what I chose to do. I didn’t want my season to end early, and I am over the moon this is how I get to extend it!

I will be honest with my coach on how I am feeling (legs, body, emotions), and sleeping. Sleep is huge.

I will have 2 friends, and my husband with me at the race. I am not alone. I have never been alone. However, Carlos and these two ladies have been my foundation. They have been with me on this journey and I am thrilled they will be there.

I will continue to believe that I have nothing to prove. I reached out to a previous coach and always mentor, Mary, to thank her. And she wrote back to me something that was perfect. It was what I needed to hear to keep me centered and start the next leg of my journey:

“When you get to Kona, enjoy the whole experience and realize in the end, it’s just a triathlon and it doesn’t define you. What defines you is the courage it took to go after this goal, and the determination you showed while pursuing it, and your steadfast desire to be the best you can be.”

This race is another event in my life. One of many. The only difference is, I can’t hide for this one! No stealth racing here. Which is OK. I can face some more fears I have and grow a little more. I have nothing to prove. I found my self-worth as I pursed this goal. I had to be OK and accept everything I did along the way. I had to believe I was worth the investment. Not the goal, but for me.  Those who are cheering for me are doing so because they love (like) me, and how I do, as Mary said so well, doesn’t define me.

I have my mantras: Be brave. I have a choice. Unbreakable. Find a way.

I realize I don’t know what to expect race day. I know this is an event like no other. I have been told this.   I am trying to go in without building in too many expectations or preconceived ideas, and simply embrace the experience. This is a chance to do something I love: race (and forget about anything else for a few hours!).

I have been told race conditions are harder than I can imagine: heat and wind being the top two elements. And I will be with the top 1-2% of athletes who do Ironman. I plan to go in with the same lesson I learned at Ironman Louisville last year: Own it from the start. Be brave. There is no room for doubt. I won’t let a short turn over time worry me. I trust my coach. I trust the process. I trust my body. I belong there.

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