I will be rounding the bouys for the second half of the swim, getting ready to emerge from that water and get on that bike.
I just checked the weather, and it looks to be about 92 degrees, mostly sunny, low winds, UV Index of 9 (very high) with a sunrise just before six am, and sunset just before 7pm.
Excitement is bubbling right now - I dropped off my bike yesterday to be shipped out, and following it with a high-fat White Palace Grill breakfast with Cheese (as in the person, not the food). He's here for a few days before we head out to AZ.
I am also getting in my last few but short workouts.
I hate taper.
Everything you hear about it is true - the itch to workout longer, the mind-fuck, the weight gain, the shoveling of food into the endless pit of my stomach, the need for tons of sleep - seriously, I am going out of my mind.
Other than that, I am actually okay. Not nervous at all (well, maybe expect for the swim - my swims lately have been sort of hard, mostly due to my own fatigue and worry about wetsuit chafing).
As I mentioned in one of the last posts, I have been very emotional. Coming home from a lakefront run yesterday, Cheese and I were talking the "heart" that some athletes have - like the kid that shows up for basketball practice every single day knowing that his feet may never see the court on game day. And I intially said, "I wish I was one of the those people who could just keep coming back, day after day, just for the love of the game."
But then I stopped myself. I said, "Actually, we are like that - we go out and train, and train, and run, and we know that we will never win these things, never qualify for the big time, but we still do it - that's gotta count for heart somewhere."
And then Cheese said something about "Well, you still know that you are going to race though - If someone told you that you can train and train for a year, but you may not ever get to race, would you still do it?"
And my answer to that is, "I just did."
Because the thing is: Ironman is never a given. You sign up at least a year in advance, in the hopes that you will toe that start line -and some do and some don't. But you train, and train, and train with that hope. That's all you have, really. Just like the kid that hopes to play in a game.
And while you hope all those months out from the race, it helps keep the race in the distance. It's hard to wrap you mind around the enormity of it when you are just mechanically going through the workouts.
But here I am, a week away, after being so disappointed last year in those final weeks - and toeing that start line of IM is now a "given" to me. It's now a reality, not just a hope. Now, that's not to say that catastrophe can't happen in the race 'cause finishing itself is never a given, not even at this point. But showing up a week from today is.
I made it this year.
I showed up all those weeks for practice, I stuck it out without knowing if I might get hurt again andhave to live through another no-show in April. I did it because I needed to at least try again.
So right now I am happy. Excited and happy. Maybe a little fat from taper, but happy nonetheless.
My reality is here, and I never took it for granted.
Because until this week, it was never a given.