Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I've actually been sleeping lately. Okay well, last night there was about an hour and 15 of lost time, but generally since Friday night I've been getting at least 8 hours each night. I think it helps me to get completely away from Ironman after dinner, so it's not in my head when I go to sleep, looking for ways to get out. Last night I was doing Ironman stuff until just before bed. Thusly, I was awakened. There you go.

I had a massage yesterday. I've only had 2 other massages in my life, and one was on vacation so that doesn't count. I don't tend to think they're important or something. Or that I can make time for them. That's stupid, and I should go ahead and change perspective on that. I had planned to go in and just have something relaxing, but in the last week some unknown trauma in my left shoulder blade has caused a serious tightening of the muscles there. It's not affecting my range of motion, like a lower back injury would, but if I sit a certain way at my desk or on the floor or whatever, it fatigues in a hurry and hurts like hell. It was something of a pain in the ass this weekend on my rides. It doesn't seem to be an issue running or swimming. So anyway, she worked on that area for 30 minutes. A bit of good done, maybe, but it's still pretty tight and painful there. I'll see her again next Tuesday, 5 days before the race. In the meantime I'll smell like IcyHot and ice it a lot. I'm not worried about it in terms of Ironman - I don't expect it to affect my performance, and don't consider it an "injury", so much as a "pain in the (shoulder) ass". But it is uncomfortable, and comfort is big over a 17 hour race.

If you're out there and in taper, I highly suggest a massage. She spent the next half hour on my legs and neck and shoulders. Wow did my legs feel great when she was done. In the middle of a massage, when you can feel somebody working on all the fibers and accumulated knots of your muscles (especially in the legs - who knew?), you can really quantify what all of this does to your body.

Amy starts school today. Her summer is over now. The kids that are out practicing football each morning, they start next week. Meanwhile, we're under 12 days out.

I've adjusted to Taper a bit. Thanks all, by the way, for the well wishes, shared experiences, and general presence - I appreciate it. Much of it, like the rest of this crazy game, is mental, and is will. It helped me to recall a conversation I had a few months ago with Amy. I was getting a bit crazy, and starting to crawl inside my head to live there - which I've done before and never, not once, has it worked out to my advantage (slow learner, I). I was getting edgy and tired, and somehow a "discussion" was started, and by "discussion" I mean "argument". And she essentially pointed out that this isn't something I get to do all by myself. That I'm not allowed to crawl into my head and live there and simply THINK IRONMAN. That if I do that, then Ironman just becomes a thing I'm doing by myself, and everybody else is just watching. "Then," she said, "there is no team."

My ADD is way ratcheted up, and I do lack mental capacity for much outside the race just now. Listen, that's just how it is. You don't work this hard for something and have it this close and just go about your day like you're not living in its shadow. But I do have some choices for how to handle this kind of stress. The sleeplessness - not a lot I can do about that that I'm not already doing. The ADD - what can I say, except to ask for patience from those around me. A lot of the other stuff - it takes care of itself. But one thing I won't do, this close to Ironman, is increase the drama by alienating or isolating or removing myself from the world around me entirely. There's a lot about Ironman that you do alone. No matter how surrounded, you go alone. Accepting that, then, I'll look for opportunities where I don't have to. And in those I'll relish the experience all the more.

Also important is to be mindful of how many have sacrificed so much so that I can do this. My friends and family, they've acclimated with great patience and understanding my general absence all weekend long since March, my lacking of a social life, my consistent mental disengagement, my precise nutritional requirements, etceteras ad nauseam. I have a responsibility to them. I choose that. I run this race, and God willing cross the finish line, on their behalf. They have been Becoming Ironman with me, and I'll certainly not choose now to retract the invitation by exclusively going solo, just when the music is finally starting.

So in my thinking, I decided that the tone I want for Ironman starts now. I have a list of Ironman goals, and number 1 is to race and finish smiling. I figure, if I can't enjoy this thing after all it's taken to get there, then I haven't earned anything at all. I'll race hard, I'll race strong, I'll race till I collapse if I have to - but I will enjoy doing it. I'll embrace every high and low, and I'll enjoy every single moment - even the extremely unenjoyable moments.

So today: Dammit if I don't feel great. My sister asked me last night if I was nervous, and I answered truthfully that I am not. I'm excited. I'm impatient for the gun to finally sound. I'm restless, I'm fascinated, I'm sometimes perplexed and even a little intimidated. I'm sometimes frustrated, often distracted, and sometimes just now totally useless to the world at large. But also: I am ready. The nerves, I'm sure, will come - they always do. But mostly I just cannot wait.

Man, this is a great game.


Todd said...

Massages rock!

I have not a doubt in my mind that you are more than READY for this, Carpe Diem!

I can't wait to be smiling back at you on the course in 12 days! I have goose bumps thinkin about it. Go get em buddy!


Patric said...

I'm pumped, the time cant go fast enough for me. Its going to be an awesome day when we see you out on the course having fun. Thanks for inviting us along for the amazing ride!!!!

xt4 said...

You guys are absolutely the best. Thanks.

RunBubbaRun said...

Message sounds like a good idea about now. To many things to think about during the taper. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Finish with a smile on your face, what more can you ask for in this crazy adevnture.

Pharmie said...

vYup, pretty sure that the smile is a great race plan!

qcmier said...

I'm still not sold on the massage. They never seem to help. I think I am just wound too tight to begin with.

TriTimKC said...

Hey Chris,
Best of luck again with IMWI. I plan to make 07 my first IM race and reading your blog enlightens me and motivates me to do it. From the training for half IM's I can certainly understand all the mental gymnastics that go along with being away from family and friends due to training if on a half sized scale. Have a great taper and race man!

xt4 said...

Wow, thanks TTK. I appreciate the well wishes, and am glad you've been onboard for the ride!