Finally the days left til the race are few. All summer long I've been not too excited about the Ironman as I had fallen in love with everything that is trail running. The whole Ironman pressure and the nerves just aren't present when I'm on the trail. I've been doing my workouts with passion and intensity but it just didn't have the sense of urgency and newness like it did five years ago when I did my first one. I can't believe how much stuff I have to bring with me to cover the swim, bike and run. Not to mention what to put in transition and special needs bags. The list is huge!!
However, in the last couple of weeks my competitive side has taken over. Numbers have been crunched and goals set; mental exercises and visualisation has been a regular part of my workouts and occupying my thoughts most of the time; I've checked out the times for my age group from the last five years and think I have a good chance to podium if I meet my goal times. I have been treating the lead-up to this race not as an Ironman per se, but more as a competiton and a deep-rooted need to do the best that I can. I think if it was a ping-pong tournament I would gear myself up the same way (you know what I mean). I'm feeling as if I'm going down a narrowing tunnel and at the very end when I squeeze out it will be race day and everything is going to come together and I'll have a great day. Barring any mechanical problems, my goal time is.......Okay, I've never publically announced what I think my time will be in a race, I will tell anyone who asks though. I'm past the point in all of this where the standard answer is, "I just want to finish", or, "whatever the day holds for me I'll take". Although these are both true, I definitely want to tear up the course this year, as I said I wanted to do after I finished the race in '02. I've always said I wanted to come back and RACE this course, not just finish it. I didn't know if I would ever do this race again and due to some factors all aligning last fall, it worked out that I could.
I am so grateful for everyone who has helped along the way, and you know who you are. Without so much support and sponsorship, I would not get these 140 miles in. I feel lucky, as I always do, just to be able to get to the start line injury-free and healthy. Just the fact that I am physically able to do the race where others cannot due to disabilities makes me feel like I've already won this one. No matter what happens I will finish the race whether it be sprinting or crawling, and I will be just as happy either way. See you at the finish line.