Am I ready?
This question is one that I'm sure all endurance athletes ask before a race..."Am I ready for the race?"
With 2 weeks to go before Maine, I find myself asking that question a lot now. Since I can't massively change my fitness and improve on it within the next 2 weeks, all I can do is ask the questions and either know that I have done everything I can to prepare, or take the opposite approach and know I haven't done enough. But at this point, I am where I am and there isn't much that can be done about it.
It's weird. It seems like all year I've been building up to this race, but now that it's here, I'm not excited for it. Maybe because it's within striking distance and I know that I don't have anything waiting for me afterwards, or that I just don't want to know how I'm going to do.
The past few weeks have been a blur for my training. I feel like I haven't had great weeks of training and have been slacking even though I have been putting the time in. I just feel so tired or have a lack of motivation to train that the intensity isn't there. As a result, I am now starting to ask myself, am I ready?
I know my run will be ready for Maine. I usually never doubt that part of my training. I tore through a 14 mile run last weekend in 1:32. Not bad for a run I was taking it easy on. Where I am asking myself is mostly on the bike. Since my crash, I really only felt comfortable on the bike once, which was last week. Hopefully after this weekend, I'll gain some more confidence back and feel good again. The problem has been I haven't put the miles on the bike as much as I should. I had a good ride last week but I did some of it with Leo, who is noticeably slower than me so I wasn't pushing myself as hard during those miles. If I can put down a good 3 hour bike ride this weekend and get my confidence back I think I should be good. In addition to my bike, I'm also lacking on my swim training. I know everyone has the same problems, but swimming is just so damn boring. Back and forth, back and forth. I can only go so long in the pool without dying of boredom. After the race in Stamford, I felt great about my swim. But that was 2 months ago and I don't think I improved so much on my swimming that maybe I have gone backwards in my training. My motivation to stay in the pool every morning is dwindling down.
Some people might say it's nerves talking, but I know it's not that. I still think I can do really well and still place at the race, but I just want to know that I'm going to do well and not have to wonder about it. Isn't always the fear of not knowing is worse than knowing?
Other parts of the race that I'm starting to question is nutrition. The one area where I have to figure out is how much nutrition I'm going to bring with me on the bike and how much I'm going to grab on the course. The run part is easy. I'll have gels on me and there are water stops every mile on the course. It will all be there for me on course to grab and go. What is starting to get me thinking is on the bike and the bottle handoff. Everyone says it's relatively easy. Just slow down, point to a volunteer, throw your old bottle and grab a new one. But without having practicing this, I keep running all these scenarios through my head. I guess I'm going to have to drag the wife down to a local parking lot and practice with her handing a water bottle over to me. I'm reading all the forums, blogs, etc about how to do it and it seems easy enough, but I really just need to practice. Then there is the weaving through the road with bottles on the ground. I just hope I don't hit one and bite it.
My sister asked me if I was ready for the race earlier this week. My response was "only one way to find out". I don't have an answer for her because I really don't know. The bottom line is waiting sucks. Knowing that the race is in 2 weeks, patience is needed and I don't have that. Add on the pressure that I don't think I've had a good race all year and I really want one, especially this one.
But at this point, the only question I can ask myself is "am I ready". Like I said to my sister, only one way to find out.