August 17, 2006

14 Random Things I'd Tell First Time Ironman Racers If Anybody Ever Asked Me

1. Stick with your plan.

2. Inevitably, things will happen that won't allow you to stick with your plan.

3. In case of #2, make believe Plan B is your plan. Stick with that one.

4. No matter how bad and irreparable things may seem, they will eventually get good again. Unless you die. But you won't. So don't even think about that. I'm sorry I brought it up.

5. Every once in awhile say something encouraging to another racer. It'll make both of you feel better and the sound of your voice will remind you that you're still alive. (I still feel kinda bad about that dying comment)

6. Don't try anything new on race day. Unless its got the words "chicken" and "soup" in it.

7. No matter how hard it seems, you had much harder training days.

8. Before you get to the starting line, make sure you know the reason you are doing an Ironman. Write it down, remember it. If everything else dramatically falls apart, this will be your source of hope. As Nietzsche's middle-of-the-pack triathlete-racing second cousin once said, He who has a why to race an Ironman can bear with almost any how.

9. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Train hard, race easy. Be here now. It's time you made a withdrawal from the Mantra Shop. You'll be surprised how well a few simple words will keep you on track.

10. Be here now. (see, the mantra works already). Don't worry about what is behind you and stop your mind from thinking about what lies ahead. All you can affect is right here, right now. An Ironman is not 140.6 miles. It is one stroke, one pedal, one step and you keep focusing on that one step and repeating it until you feel a finisher's ribbon crossing your chest.

11. Figure out what you need to eat and drink months before you get to the starting line. All the training in the world will add up to a load of bull pucky if you don't pay attention to your body.

12. Take it easy throughout the day. An Ironman race doesn't really begin until somewhere around Mile 16 of the run. If you pace yourself well, you'll be zipping by people during the last 10 miles like they were passed out on the side of the road. Which they probably will be. Try not to kick them in the face as you run over them - that's just plain rude.

13. Stay positive. Stay calm. As Yogi Berra's triathlete-racing Australian neighbor's uncle once said, racing Ironman is 90% mental, the other half is physical. Maintaining a calm, positive attitude throughout the day is oftentimes the difference between a good race and a really crappy one.

14. Remind yourself regularly that you are racing an Ironman. Relish the experience. Enjoy the day. The miracle isn't that you will finish - and you will. The miracle is that you had the courage to start.


nancytoby said...

Are you POSITIVE I won't die?

Great list! :-)

triathlonmom said...

Awesome list. Love your humor.