It’s funny the difference a week makes in my mentality about Ironman training. Last week I felt cowardly about my lesser miles than what everyone else posted. This week my excitement and confidence in what I’m doing returned.
It’s that time of year in Ironman Wisconsin training when the bike loop is filled with eager athletes from all over. Saturday I was riding alongside a guy who came to Madison with a group of athletes from California. It was great chit-chat, and as we approached the great Barlow Rd I told him that I wouldn’t be able to talk going up it because I would be hyena-breathing. He cruised on up it, I hyena-breathed, and at the top he cheered, “What hill?”
I thrive on the excitement this course brings to athletes in the weeks leading up to the big day. Training suddenly becomes hours of mingling on the bike, swapping stories, encouraging each other, and the grit becomes enjoyment.
Sunday morning I joined the Wisconsin Brick Adventure (WIBA) run at the luxurious time of 7:00am. On my way there I felt heavy with doubt and fatigue in my legs from riding 84 miles on Saturday. “Maybe I’ll just do 8 miles. Yeah, just do 8. I did 15 last weekend. I don’t need 13. Meh“, I told myself. As the excuses piled up, I saw a great triathlon acquaintance of mine. We connected, and fortunately for me she was taking the run very easy so we agreed to run together.
Thirteen miles flew by with her non-stop positive talk. Everything she said was encouraging, supportive, we got this, this is such a great day, positive, positive, positive! There were moments of weakness when I wanted to stop to walk, but she knew just the right moment to distract me and ask a question to get me chatting. She was such a delight to run with, and even gave me energy to cheer and encourage other runners out there grinding away.
This is what brings me back year after year. Connecting, inspiring, encouraging, and belonging to this community of endurance athletes chasing down their dreams.