Friday, October 07, 2005

Just Finish

There are many important decisions during the pre-race week in Kona, like where to eat breakfast, what to cook for dinner, etc. But most people fixate on their pre-race training taper – you can see the seriousness in athletes' eyes as they pass you on Ali'i drive. Intense.

This year, I’m perhaps more stressed then I typically would be – about one discipline in particular. Running. I just decided to change out of my biking clothes and go for a run instead – to gauge the pain. Believe it or not, this was my first run in close to two months, because I experienced one of those really embarrassing injuries back in San Diego in early August. I pulled my groin. I'm hesitant to mention how, but more hesitant not to mention the specifics. I was running to the pool for swim practice, and wearing something triathletes should NEVER run in - flip flops.

Sure enough – my flip made me flop, and I tripped on a stair, stubbed my toe, and landed in a split. It is important to note here, that prior to that moment, I had not been able to do a split since Jr. High school gymnastics - so the expression on my face was not-so-peaceful.

The tear happened to my adductor, groin and hip flexor - so today was my first run in a very long time. I had run the 10 blocks down to the pier this a.m. for the swim and for the first time, the pain was just soreness – this island is a strange place. So I just laced up my running shoes (Note to self: I need to put the elastic laces in my shoes tonight).

There are injuries you can train through, and then there are injuries you should stop training for. So I had stopped most of my training for it to heal. I’m now back from my run -- I could feel tightness, and soreness, but no sharp pain – as I have felt for the past few months as it’s been healing. On the run, it’s quite warm and humid – my shirt and hat are soaked.

Every time I run on Ali'i drive, my mind jumps backwards and forwards to races past and races future. Memories of thirst, heat and the ice in my running cap -- dripping cool water down my back.

I know, it's crazy to "start" to run the week before the Ironman, and I'm worried about every inch of the 26.2 miles - except the aid stations, but this race will likely be my expedition to the back of the pack, and I’m ready. Just finish. That’s all I want to do this year. Finish.