Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mentally Tackling Long Distance Training

As I sat at lunch during my break from my job at Walt Disney World as a Divemaster, one of my coworkers asked me "So..Melissa..what are you doing this weekend!!??"  Another one of my coworkers said to him, "Don't ask...she'll tell you that she is doing some insane amount of mileage on her bike followed by some insane long distance run."  The first gentleman looked at me and said " that true??"

85 miles on the bike...17 mile run...I said...hanging my head and realizing that my coworkers don't get it nor do they want to get it.  They think I'm nuts.

As I stare at the numbers: maybe they are right!!

These numbers keep me awake at night sometimes.  Can I REALLY do this???  HOLY CRAP!! This is like riding from Orlando to Tampa.  Its like running from my house to Lake Mary and for those of you who don't live in the Orlando me...that's a LONG WAY.

So I play games with myself.  Half of 85 = 42.5 miles.  All I have to do is do the 42.5 miles and I get to turn around.....AND HEAD HOME!! Home is where the ice bath, hot shower and warm meal is.  Home is where my dog is waiting to lick my face and bring me pillows off my bed.  After weeks of coming in on the weekends and taking a nap, my golden retriever has learned that I want to sleep after a he is doing his best to be support crew by dragging the pillows off my bed to wherever I may be.

On my runs, I play the 5k game.  18 miles is 6 - 5k races..approximately.  I can run a problem.  I just need to run a few of them big deal.....REALLY..its no big deal.

And then its the people I think about as I ride or run.  I think about those who are no longer here that I run for when I work for Team in Training.  I think of my godson, Christian Stafford, who lost his battle with leukemia at age 8.  I think of Jessi Gay, who fought and lost against blood cancer in the prime of her life..just entering Florida State University as a freshman.  I think of the family of Parker Underwood...a toddler who never had a chance against Leukemia as he was diagnosed as a baby and died before he could turn 3.  

How will I get through 140.6 miles of the Ironman??  I plan on dedicating each mile to someone special in my life.  Nine of the miles will be dedicated to the 9 people who died in the clinical trial I participated in 10 years ago.  That clinical trial is what helped me lose the first 100lbs of my weight loss with a roux n y gastric bypass.  I am lucky to still be alive considering the problems they first had with the surgery. If it weren't for the surgery, however, I wouldn't be here at all!

The next miles I plan to dedicate to every honored patient with the Central Florida Chapter of the Leukemia Society.  These guys are the real heroes in the fight against Leukemia.  Everyday they wage a battle for their lives and for the research that will find a cure.

As the race gets more difficult, I will think about the over 4000 military personnel that have given their lives during the war in Iraq. Ill think about my brother in law who has done 5 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and has served his country as a Navy Captain.  Their effort is so much more than JUST 140.6 miles.  If they can endure days and months in the sands of Iraq, i can survive 17 hours.....right???

And, finally, as the hours grow longer and midnight gets closer, I am going to think about my husband, my coach and my friends at the finish line.  Ill think about how excited they will be to see me finish!!  Ill think about the bottle of champagne that I bought a year ago to celebrate finally being opened and enjoyed. Ill think about the Ironman pendant that I bought when I was in Kona Hawaii that has sat in my jewelry box untouched for two years.  At last, I will be able to wear that pendant.

When the pain in too much....I will finally remind myself that I DESERVE to be an Ironman.  I am putting in the work...and the pain is temporary...the finish line is forever.

I'm gonna do this....


Anonymous said...

My co-workers never "got it" either. They sure were proud when I finished but they couldn't understand why I felt the need to do it in the first place! Even some of my family and friends sturggled.

But, for some weird reason we feel compelled. You are on your way baby, you are gonna wear that necklace with pride (I wear mine EVERY DAY), and you are gonna enjoy that champagne you so justly deserve!

Keep it up and enjoy the weekend being pampered by your DOG!! That is an awesome trick btw.....

Kat~ said...

Your not alone. Note of my friends or co-workers understand IM. I just finished my first IM 3 weeks ago and was scared to death. Race day all training just comes together. Have fun your trained and ready. You earned that nacklace!! Kat~