Even Marathoners have goals to which they aspire. My friend and mentor, Marathon Brian became an Ironman today! Yea — it’s not a Super Hero — but it’s d@mn close!!!
In the Poconos this morning, Brian is completing the 70.3 mile Ironman Race. It’s a triathlon with a 56 mile bike ride, a half marathon run, and he finishes the rest swimming in a freezing cold lake. YOWZA! I think you have to be made of Iron to accomplish this. You know what the funny thing is? He already did it. Yea. Brian is one of those athletes that performs best with experience. Experiencing the entire race. So last weekend, he did the entire Ironman, in his New Jersey neighborhood. So in many ways, today – he gets crowned Ironman. What he really is — is an Ironman two times over!
My mind was on Brian this morning as I stepped out of the house at 645am. His race started at 7am. I had 10 miles in front of me. A far cry from what he was up against. Still — I had my challenge and I needed to pull out all the stops. Brian asked me to go for 7 miles of it, all running. Keep building on my success. As I got up this morning, and I started my warm up walk — with the inspiration of Brian’s incredible Ironman accomplishment in my thoughts — I decided right there on my street — to run all 10 miles. I’m just going to Do It!
And so I did. I ran every step of those 10 miles. Every freakin’ step!
Here are the strategies I used that REALLY worked for me today. The run is an Out and Back. 5 miles Out. 5 miles Back. Miles 1-3 are very familiar. Miles 4-5, less so. So on the way out, I made mental breadcrumbs for the trip back. It went something like this. As I passed the church (mile 2) and headed to Timothy Lane (mile 3), I had to climb the hill. My tank was full, it felt easy. So I reminded myself — “Diane, when you get past Timothy on the way back, there’s a great downhill just past there. Hold on, keep going. You’re going to love that downhill.” Noted!
Past Timothy, mile 4 takes me past the little firehouse where the sidewalk disappears until the end of the road. Small things like that bug me. But I use it to my advantage on the way back. Anything to incent me, to motivate me — to keep going. Same kind of thing on the way back — “Hey, just keep going to the firehouse. See the flagpole? Just go there. Once you get to the firehouse, the sidewalk picks up again, and it’s all good from there to Timothy. Remember!” Noted!
At the 5 mile turnaround point, I was feeling great. Super. Strong. All my mental breadcrumbs worked VERY well. Mile 6 back to the firehouse went just as I expected. I pushed to get to the sidewalk. It worked. Mile 6 was Done before I knew it. From there — it was the run back to Timothy. Once I “high 5’d” good ole Tim — my head did a “YEAH for US” ! We accomplished Brian’s goal. He’s going to be so proud of us. LOL, stupid, but true! Mile 7 – DONE!
At that point, I really needed some rest. So my mind served up a little snack. “Hey Diane, rumour has it that just a little further ahead, is a Niiicccce downhill!” SCORE. Oh yes. Like a Post-It Note in my brain, THAT simple little thought got me to the top of that hill, and there I was — breathing and recovering in the downhill. LOVING IT! Just as Promised!! By the time the flat came, I was recovered, and that took me all the way to the Church. 8 miles, Done. WHAT the HELL is going on here??
Oh Girl, do you need me to spell it out for you?? T.H.E. SWITCH I.S. O.N. KID-O!!!
From the Church to Home is 2 miles. Two Very Familiar Miles. I have run them dozens and dozens of times. Past the Church, is allll downhill. Glorious, recoverable downhill. Joy. Sheer, exhausted joy. I rounded the corner, and pushed myself past the wicked intersection that I hate. Back on the cobblestone sidewalk right by the traffic light when my watch buzzed again. Mile 9 Done.
All that’s left is the last mile. And the G. D@mned HILL! Oh IT was NOT going to stop me. IT was not going to be the reason I don’t run this entire thing. Step by step, I told myself to have patience. Easy. Don’t rush it. Focus on your breathing. Keep your nice/slow pace. We have DONE that HILL before Diane. It’s the same as it was then. Completely Do-Able! Don’t let IT intimidate you. It’s the SAME hill.
I took it slow. And steady. Trying NOT to look at it. Forcing myself to the top. Once there, uttering a word that should not be said in pleasant company. At the top I had to battle a bout of hyperventilation. I headed down the next hill into my development — working hard to deeply exhale. It took me the rest of the run to catch my breath. I was winded boy! The last .25 mile to my Street Sign Finish Line was easy on my legs, but hard on my lungs. I was glad to be done.
The watch buzzed – 10 Freakin’ Miles! 2 hours 10 minutes. An average of 13:30 minute mile.
I was Over the Moon!
Hobbling home, a whey protein shake and an ice bath awaits me. My husband could see my Joy. Something different happened today. It was written all over my face.
This is the kind of day when I realize — I don’t even know who I am anymore. LOVE.LOVE.LOVE.
Ciao for now……Diane
p.s. Congratulations Ironman!!!! YOU are my inspiration. You are helping me change my life. and I am forever grateful! D.