Saturday, June 20, 2009

What they don't discuss: The night before Ironman

No one ever really talks about the night before Ironman. Or if they do, well, the time is overshadowed by the emotions of race day. A few hours ago, I felt cool, calm, collected. I was on my way to the airport to pick up Nathaniel - resigned to the fate of tomorrow's race day.

During my swim and run - everything was great. A-okay.

During the packing - everything was super. A-okay.

During the bike check-in and gear bag check - same. A-okay.

During the expo tour (where I didn't buy ANYTHING) - all excellent. A-okay

But....

Somewhere, somehow - things all changed.

I became a sobbing, crying, emotional, tearful pre-race ball of nerves. Yes, it finally kicked in and no, its not something I've really ever experienced before. Well, excpet before this year's Oceanside race. At the time - packing my bag the night before with Cat, Nathaniel, and my Mom in attendance - I burst into tears. Today - not much was different, except the people. Switch Cat out with my Dad... and the fact that the four of us were driving back from a lovely dinner with Angelina and Shaun (ADC on my blog roll), and I just burst into tears.

The pure emotion - the raw upheaval that we push aside - came bursting forth, and I just sobbed. I don't really know what it was - maybe I've been waiting so long for my first Ironman race...or perhaps the training...or even the fear of the unknown. It was scary and I felt overwhelmed. Not in the sense that I WON'T be able to do the race (because physically I know I can: I'm confident in my ability and I trust my training. Period). I'm scared of the unknown -

And racing is VERY DIFFERENT from the night before. Now - right now as I write - I am totally helpless against what lies ahead. Tomorrow, though - tomorrow after that cannon fires (do they fire a cannon in CDA?) - things will be different. I WILL be out there, actually DOING something about it. The fear, the anxiety, the jitters, and MOST of the emotions will (hopefully) be replaced by my race-face and focus.

And yes, I'll be repeating my mantras of - Strong, Steady, Solid - to myself all day. Rest assured - that will be a focus.

Thanks to Deirdre - a special thanks. For reassuring me that this IS normal. No one talks about it, though. 'Hello - my name is Marit, and I randomly burst into tears the night before Ironman.'

As of now - well, I've slathered myself in suncreen (spf 70 by neutrogina), hoping that it will absorb into my pores and I won't have horrible sun burn. Nathaniel and my Dad are hanging out in the hotel lobby, probably discussing politics, current world affiars, and history. Mom is reading on the other side of the room - and I'm, well, I'm just here. Ready, waiting, and keeping my eyes as dry as possible.

But this is what it's all about: life at its finest, life at its fullest. I feel this way - because I care. Because of all the hard work, training, effort, and sacrifice I've put into this race. And in the end, I KNOW it will be worth it - its just scary now...looking (and thinking) about it from this perspective. The night before.

So with that, I'm signing off. Thanks to everyone (AGAIN!) for all of the support. There are simply too many to name.

See you on the other side (knock on wood).

#2059, signing off.

10 comments:

D said...

I was happy to be here for you. Any time :)

Mer! said...

Stalking you via blog and fb!! Just in case you log on tomorrow or can't sleep!! You're right no one talks about the night before and the morning of can feel really lonely but once you start racing you'll be glad you had the quiet time before the storm you just don't know it yet!Totally normal to burst into tears so many unknowns and emotions! Sending you hugs and mer claps!! Go kill it marit!!

Pedergraham said...

YOU WILL BE GREAT!

Amy Beth Kloner said...

Girl, I had a habit of crying before every race, and particularly scared shitless before my first IM. Totally normal. Most of it is excitement. Hey, it's better to cry before than after!!! ;)
Hope you're having fun out there today.

GoBigGreen said...

Love and hugs from the north shore:) You are super. And you are doing great. According to my chronic button hitting:)

Caroline said...

I have only 3 words for you...ok 4...
MARIT YOU....ARE....AN...IRONMAN!!!!!

Congratulations, Absolutely Amazing day! Can't wait to hear all about it.
Call whenever and brag away: 734-678-2665.

Alili said...

Your smile at the finish was perfect. Congratulations Ironman!

ducky said...

Congrats on your finish!

YVR K said...

I know you for not but I've just popped over from D's blog and all i can say is CONGRATULATIONS! The pride of finishing your first Ironman will say with your for ever. Well done!

snowygrl said...

Congratulations! Hope you are enjoying a good recovery. Can't wait to read your race report :)