I’ve been an avid lover of roller coasters since my head crossed over the “you must be this tall to ride” marking. I loved everything about them…the waiting in line and associated anticipation, the getting locked in for a safe ride, the slow, clanking ride up the climb and the extraordinarily fast seconds that followed in a complete freefall. I specifically loved the upside-down loops and corkscrews and the feeling it elicited in my stomach.
And while I still love roller coasters, I don’t enjoy experiencing the ups and downs of emotions that surface during IRONMAN training and racing. It would be so much easier and a greater confidence builder if each training session was stellar. LOL, who am I kidding, then I would probably worry I wasn’t training hard enough.
As you may imagine training for an IRONMAN is long and arduous. To give an example, my training this week consists of 3.5 hours of swimming, 8 hours of biking and 4.5 hours of running with intensity built into most of the sessions. Some of those sessions were good and some were not, which is reflective of how my training has transpired this year overall. It’s been a constant battle to overcome the bad ones and tell myself I will still be physically prepared come race day. Reality is a lot can happen over 140.6 miles in a very hot climate. It is inevitable I will experience some low lows at some point of the event and being mentally prepared is how I will get through those valleys.
I’m convinced that the mental training is just as important as the physical aspects of my training and have invested heavily in my mental game. Through the past several months of training, I’ve been trying different things to train my brain and mental attitude so it’s more likely to weather whatever figurative and literal storms surface on race day. I have started meditating, which has been extremely helpful. For these sessions, I’ve leveraged the Calm app to guide me as my mind tends to wander without the support. I have enjoyed the Relationship with Self series the most so far, but please share in the comments if you have found others to be helpful to you.
I’ve also been picturing myself on race day tackling each section of the race with confidence, strength and a level head. Journaling is something I have always done and continue to do…it helps me to get the nagging thoughts I have out. When written down they don’t seem so bad. I’ve also shared with my family, friends and co-workers the fears and concerns I have regarding my preparation and how well I will do come October 14th. It’s clear from these discussions, I have extraordinarily high expectations of myself and am incredibly hard on myself. Having others’ points of view has allowed me to lessen those expectations to something more reasonable and understand that what I’m doing is pretty cool (thank you to those that have helped adjust my mindset…I truly appreciate your support).
One of my favorite sayings is “it takes a village”. I’ve used it in many different situations, from helping my sister with her son (my nephew) to my training circle, which includes my coach, training buddies and family and friends.
We all need support systems in our life. This is no truer than when you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I absolutely love the support system Sky Foundation has created – the Sky Foundation’s Pancreatic Cancer Community Support Circle. The group is led by a 5-year pancreatic cancer survivor. She, pancreatic cancer patients, survivors and individuals who have lost loved ones to pancreatic cancer talk about their experiences and offer one another support, making their roller coaster somewhat more manageable. To join or share the support group, check out (2) Pancreatic Cancer Community Support Circle (Sky Foundation) | Facebook