First, a discussion of gear. Believe it, this photo-array of the packings that I'm taking is a typical selection of what Iron-geeks bring to their lodging prior to race day. Two of just about everything, and one of every sort of race day weather attire. Bike, swim, run gear galore, plus three days worth of weekend-er clothes to enjoy what is a bit of a retreat, reunion, celebration, as it might be called.
And what about race preparation? I'll jog a bit in Madison, swim on Saturday morning, perhaps tool around on my bike, but for the most part I'm finished with exercise. Yesterday, I got up early enough to swim with my team, and that felt nice. Then, in accordance with the fact that I've been primarily walking since I crashed my bike, I went for a long walk at around noon. By the end of the day, I was wondering what had happened to me. Where is that fighting spirit? Do I care how fast, how hard, how long I take? Simple burnout, fear of failure, or even battle fatigue from a crash and sore breathing three weeks prior to race day. I don't really know, and at my ninth Ironman, it hardly matters. Frankly, this woman has done her job, but enrolling and participating in the Ironman has given me a focus for my years worth of exercise. Most don't believe this, but I know I'd have a hard time getting out twelve months a year and exercising without this sort of encompassing goal. Now, after so many years, the ritual is set and it's almost easy for me to go through the training motions.
And then last evening, as I sat watching daughter's martial arts practice, it dawned on me. As I repeat something that I can savor, year in and year out, our life here in suburbia, the stars of the show are evolving and growing and moving and changing. On the eve of a black belt promotion, that little pipsqueak that cheered me on in 2008 is grown to the size that her sister was in 2008. And big sis, well, there's no shortage of emotional pull in this house as we watch her successfully navigate her first month at a humungous suburban high school. We're so proud of these beautiful, funny, athletic, creative kids, and we're preparing for the next phase.