These last months of training, I've been thinking alot of the day my IronMan will take place. I refer to it as "That Day." I keep trying to visualize what it'll be like. As I train, I try to synthisize the pains, the thoughts, the emotions I'll be dealing with. At one point in my training this year, I've done each of the three segments and have a good idea of how I feel after each. But, how will I feel with all three events done consecutively? That's the real question.
I have accepted the fact that there will be points when I'm tired and want to rest. Maybe I'll want to throw in the towel. I know I'll fight my way through a few bonks during the day. From what I've read, an IronMan's grit shows itself between mile 15-26 of the run for a well trained person. How will I conduct myself on that day? What choices will I make when pushed to the brink? Will I have the fortitude to push through? I think about the heat during the run...the dry mouth...the tired legs. It's a good time to walk; maybe I should find a spot of shade and lay down for a bit. These will be the thoughts I wrestle with.
I haven't put a projected time for when I think I'll finish. If I think about the enormity of the challenge, it's overwhelming. I don't want to think about running a marathon after riding 112 miles. I just think about each individual task seperately with a nutrution plan that bridges the events. I have a pace in mind for the swim, the bike and the run in terms of heart rate and pace. The swim is less concrete; swim my tempo pace. The bike will be to maintain a heart rate of 145-150 BPM and >20 MPH per hour. The run will be to maintain a heart rate ~140 BPM. If I follow my eating plan, I'm hoping the wheels will start to fall off the bus at about mile 20 of the run--that's when I'll have to gut it out. It seems strange to figure out when you'll hit the wall and how long you'll have to endure being at the wall. But, based on my training, this seems to be the most prudent strategy. Until then, I'll be simulating "that day" in each of my training sessions mentally preparing for the biggest event I've ever done.
In many ways an IronMan can be a metaphor for life.