Monday, October 1, 2012

11 Days

and counting til Ironman Kona!

T-6 I leave for Hawaii with my family.  Maui is the first stop where we will join my parents who are already there.  (my dad retired in August and honestly, I don't know why they don't just move there!)  Then, after a few days of eating really well, maybe having 1 or 2 mai tais, checking out some of the beaches and waterfalls and fishies, I head out to Kona on Wednesday.  There I will join PIC for some pre-game activities!  A fun dinner on Wednesday night, catching up with Dr. PIC on Thursday, sampling some of the local ice cream, did I mention the underpants run?  Oh yeah, and spend some time prepping for the big event on Saturday.  The family comes to join me in Kona on Friday.

So this is my second Kona and my fourth Ironman.  What a bumpy road this has been.  Immediately after CDA this year, I had some thoughts that this year I could do really well in Kona.  As long as I could nail my nutrition and hydration and deal with the heat.  But hey, the possibility was there!

Of course, a week later all bets were off - stress fracture 3rd metatarsal.  Would I even be able to compete in Kona?  Compete is probably not even the right word.....will I even be able to walk?  run?  Finish a marathon?  Unfortunately, these thoughts and emotions ruled my world for the better part of July and August.  Even into the first part of September.  It was a horrible roller coaster I was riding.  Wanting to do well, not wanting to go if I was just going to "do it".  Every day, f**k it, I'm not going - this is stupid.  Every other day, of course I'm going everything will be just fine!  Talk about a Jekyl and Hyde thing going on.  Moody?  Yep.  My apologies to my family for my crankiness - but hubs was good.  He gets it and he just told me to relax and that everything would work out:)

My friends and family have been tip-toeing around the's the foot?  And yes, I consider that sucker a separate part of me now.  It has it's own identity - "the foot".  I haven't talked about it, written about it.  Heck, I didn't even tell PIC I was running for a little bit.  So here's the deal.  I started running at the end of August.  Just a little bit.  A minute running, a minute walking.  We had to take this slowly.  A stress fracture is a mercurial injury.  It can take just a few weeks to get back running. Or it can take months.  All I could do was cross my fingers that I would be on the short end of the recovery stick.  That's how I started.  Then I went to a 5 minute run, 5 minute walk.  Then 5 minute run, 1 minute walk.  Then a 9 minute run, 1 minute walk.  Did it feel good?  Was I injuring myself further?  Who knew?  The foot ached.  Sometimes more than others.  But there was no acute pain and the achiness was always gone the day after.  And, since it had been 8 weeks since I had run and it had been immobile in the boot, I had to re-build the strength in that foot.  How frustrating is that?  I have an IRONMAN to train for and I have to "smartly" build my mileage for fear of injuring something else.  Pure awesomeness.

And here's the fun part of the injury......according to all the reading and research I have done (trust me, no stone has been left unturned), the foot isn't 100% healed.  It can take up to 90 days or more to be considered healed.  That would be right about now:)  There is a realistic chance that I re-fracture it again in Kona.  Reality sucks.  But maybe not.  Who knows?

Here is what I do know.  I am ready to swim well.  I am ready to ride well.  And I am ready to deal with whatever the run and my foot throws at me.  The plan is to run.  Maybe not fast - OK, probably not fast at all - but I will run.  If my foot hurts, I will still run as long as it lets me.  If I need to go to a walk/run, I am prepared to do that too.  And, if I have to walk.  Well then, I will walk.  But I'm leaving all options open.  This is not about placing well, or having a personal best (that would be awesome but I can't count on it), this is about finishing Kona.

Ironman is all about dealing with adversity and solving whatever problems the day throws at you.  I have been dealing with adversity since July 5th and I think that leaves me mentally ready in 11 days.  And, since I don't know how this is going to play out....well, the pressure is kind of off!  Although, I am still nervous about the swim.  But the water is warmer than CDA, it's an in-water start which I love, and the water is crystal clear and there are fishies!!! Last year in the start, I remember sticking my head up in the white water chaos around me, smiling and thinking that moment was incredibly cool.  That's the attitude I'm going for this year.  I'm just not going to take this (or me) too seriously!  If I'm doing well - great - I will smile and give lots of shakas!  If I'm not - I will STILL smile for the cameras and throw around lots of shakas.  I will cheer for my teamies and friends and push them along for the day that they can have.  And here's the thing......when I get to Ali'i Drive, if I am running I will slow down.  This year, I want to take it all in.  Why sprint to the finish?  This is the half mile of GLORY!  Why rush this?  High fiving people!  Getting to the carpet and the lights and the flags and the crowd and hearing Mike Reilly announce my name - I am going to enjoy it!!

This year, I am in a really good place mentally going into this race.  Last year, not so much - I was mentally tired and come race day that played a part in the outcome.  Other that "the foot", I am in a really good place physically for the race.  I'm in better shape than last year.  I've been dealt an interesting hand of cards for this race, but I am ready to play it out.  Who knows?  Maybe there are some aces in there:)


Jennifer Harrison said...

GOOD luck Michelle! Have a great IM and fingers crossed that your foot does OK! :) !!

Anonymous said...

Your head is really in the right place for this one. I'm glad you a planning to soak up and enjoy the experiences of the day, whatever it may bring. Can't wait to cheer for you and Son in 11 days!!

Katie said...

Can't wait to see you out there on the course :)! Believe in your training and I have a feeling you may surprise yourself when you get to the run!