It’s time to race Ironman Mont Tremblant and I’m in taper mode, so I probably have argued with you about some tedious fact, because goddamnit I was right. I also feel terrible. You can read all the weekly recaps of how we got here.
When I signed on with Hillary in June 2015 my goal for IM Wisconsin was a solid race under 11 hours. At some point, while training, I realized I could maybe hit 10:45, and if things went really really well I might slip in around 10:30 and be in the top 4 or 5 girls.
I ended up finishing 2nd in 10:21 and I’m pretty sure if you had seen me in the last two miles, while I was high-fiving every person there, you’d have known exactly how surprised I was about it.
I don’t know if have the ability to surprise myself like that anymore. Not because I don’t still have a *lot* of room to get better, but because I’ve raced a ton now. I know my training. I mostly know the range I can expect on a given day (if nothing goes terribly wrong and things can always go terribly wrong). I know improvements come bit by bit, not all at once anymore. I think I know all these things, but still I don’t know what’s going to happen this weekend.
Sunday will be my first pro Ironman. Part of me feels confident, like I know what range of expectations I can have. The other part of me has no idea how my foot’s going to hold up on the run, if my biking has improved enough, if I’ll miss the group in the swim, if this is a goddamn cold I’m fighting off right now (fuuuucck). I don’t know.
If you didn’t watch the women’s steeplechase race at the world championships this weekend, you should. It was crazy. I started crying a little bit for the two Americans, for believing in yourself in the face of evidence and knowing you have it in you to win long before you actually win.
And then I thought about that quite a bit this weekend, about the fact that you always have everything you are capable of in you already — good and bad. That we are always a product of everything we’ve done, of all the people and places and circumstances. That nothing, not really, is a surprise, it is simply a result of what came before. What we do is always us.
So I’ll do what I can on Sunday in Mont Tremblant, and then we’ll see what it was I have in me right now. And go from there.