Ironman Taper Progresses: A Case of Whoa Nellies with a Side of Joyful Weeping

IronmanIt’s just days from Ironman Lake Placid. And, I’m well into the taper, as I wrote last week.

If you’ve ever experienced a taper from endurance training, then you know that it brings with it a range of emotions, from irritability to anxiety to excitement to joy. The irritability stage is usually first for me, and on Monday it hit me pretty hard. I spent most of the day trying to keep myself from hurting someone – especially after the women in the aqua aerobics class hit me in the head and hand with the lane rope. GRRR!

But, yesterday’s episode of taper tantrums was quite the switch. I spent most of that day keeping myself from training too hard and weeping too much. So, taper is progressing according to plan, thank you very much.

Yesterday’s schedule featured a steady 1:20 bike and a 30 minute run. I had to forcibly keep myself from letting the horses out of the barn. I felt so freaking awesome, so strong, so ready to race.

As I rode the bike, I kept an eye on both power and heart rate. My heart rate was low, my power was high. As I saw the power I was generating, I thought: Whoa Nelly! Save that for the race. I need that generator for the back half of the IMLP bike course!

Then, it came time for a little easy transition run. Same situation. Low heart rate, fast pace. Whoa Nelly! Save that sh!t for the race, girl! 

About this time, the weepiness started. (For those of you new to the blog, I am given to weepiness during heavy training and racing. And, when I weep, it means I’m happy – not sad.)

So, there I was, running along, feeling fabulous, despite it still being 90 degrees and humid, and it hit me: “Hey! I’m doing an Ironman ON SUNDAY! That is !@#$!*& AWESOME!”

I was filled with the overwhelmingly pleasant sensation of good things to come. You know that sensation, right? When your belly and your fingertips tingle? When your heart feels so open to the amazing beauty that is life that it almost hurts? When everything seems possible – if you just work for it?

Yup, that sensation right there.

At that very moment, Garth Brooks’ song “How You Ever Gonna Know” started to play on my MP3 player.

Yes, Garth Brooks, people. Please don’t judge. My running music is a mix of bad disco-tech and corny inspirational songs. I’m sure your running playlist has some skeletons in there, right? Don’t make me check your iPod.

For those of you not familiar with the song, here are some of the lyrics that were particularly poignant for the moment:

Anything in life worth havin’
Lord, it has its sacrifice
But the gift that you’re receiving
Is worth more than the price
How you ever gonna know
If you could have done it
How you ever gonna know
How it feels to fly
How you ever gonna know
If you never dare to try
How you ever gonna know
If you’re the best
How you ever gonna know
your potential
How you ever gonna know victory
How you ever gonna know
what it’s like when dreams become reality
how you ever gonna know
if you never take a chance

So, there I was, my eyes welling with the sensation of joy, of excitement, of peace. I was feeling the tingling start to flow, as I thought: That’s right, Garth! How am I ever gonna know if I don’t go after it? Sing it, brother! 

I may have even sung out loud a little bit. At least the looks of surprise from those of the bike path suggest that is what I did. Doesn’t sound like me – singing out loud. So weird.

By the end of this song, I’m smiling wildly, singing terribly, weeping happily, and all the while my pace is increasing along with my heart rate. Whoa, Nelly! Settle down, horsies. Back in the barn you go…

You’ll have your chance to roam free on Sunday.


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  2. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    So fired up for you. Cannot wait to see what happens when the barn gates open up.

    And as for music and an iPod you’ll have to buy me one first and then download songs. Yup, I don’t own an iPod.

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