This post is rated Ironman.
Welcome to April; how was your “April Fool’s Day?” Did anyone pull a fast one on you? Were you indeed “fooled” by anything unexpected or out of the ordinary? In light of the new month and in recognition of the significance of April 1st, I wanted to direct this post to the subject of foolishness.
What comes to mind when you think of a fool? Is it a picture, action or a person? Do you think of your own foolish behavior and how it has affected your life? The devastating nature of the fool is that it can become a life long enemy.
When it comes to training, I must admit that I am a fool. I just cannot seem to overcome the “if some is good, more is better” mentality? Ironman preparation is not exactly easy on the nerves. The mere thought of swimming, biking and running 140.6 miles is just plain intimidating. Anxiety and uncertainty become constant training companions along the way. There is no such thing as a 10 hour training day; no one goes the full distance until race day. The months leading up to Ironman are incredibly long, arduous and filled with stress. We ask our bodies to perform unreasonable feats on a regular basis. We wake up on Saturday morning for a 90 mile bike ride and then follow that with a 20 mile run the next day. This is crazy, but we love it!
Somewhere along the Ironman journey, our bodies become angry with us. We will start to experience pain, soreness or even lack of motivation. From a physiological standpoint, pain is a great thing. Pain alerts us that something might be wrong. Pain presents us with a choice. In the past, I have not chosen wisely which is why I am a fool. You see, I have taught my body how to ignore pain and how to push through. In the moment it feels valiant and I have finished more than 1 Ironman event hobbling. Long term, this is the worst thing that I could have taught myself about Ironman racing.
We are all incredibly blessed to have been given the gift of endurance. No doubt, we have spent countless hours building our bodies (and minds) to sustain the grueling challenge of Ironman. I have not done a good job listening to my body over the years. I have not taken pro-active measures such as consistent weight training to prevent injury. I have learned to override the early signs and for that, I am the owner of more sports-specific injuries that I care to speak of.
If you are doing your first Ironman race this year or your 50th, the best thing you can do for your preparation is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Do not be a fool like me.