Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Smelling Good All The Way to Kona.

I'll admit it. I'm a sandbagger. Paula Newby Fraser can't walk by me without saying the word "Sand-baa-ga" with a smile. It's true - I tell people I don't train, then I wake up at 3:00 a.m. and swim from the La Jolla cove all the way to Del Mar (it's more fun in the dark because the things that bump up against your legs really motivate you to swim faster) - then I bike from San Diego to Los Angeles (before Traffic gets too bad) then I run back to San Diego, in time for work.

I hope you know I'm kidding. The truth is - I have time to race, and I really LOVE to race, but I do not have as much time to train - is that not true for all of us? I also work quite a bit, and ok, another admission, I'm a workaholic. So, having raced in this sport for well over a decade it raises the question - does it get any easier to "start" a race without "much" training? Yes. I'm not so sure, however, how much easier it is to
finish one.

After your 10th Ironman, you have learned a multitude of lessons about the race, yourself and your life. You know what to eat, how to pace yourself - and perhaps most importantly - you learn that at least 50% of doing any Ironman race is mental (no pun intended). So does the Ironman get easier? No. Does it get easier to do an Ironman? Yes.

My friend Claudia in New York, once again sent me a crazy support message posted above, with the sandbagger theme, which was developed by my now famous "cold-turkey" approaches to my last few races that lead to a Mitcherable last few miles

Claudia did not know that I am not racing this year when she placed the advertisement on a highway billboard to wish me good luck. It is now what people see when they commute into New York on the I-95 - how embarrassing.

I hope you know I'm kidding again (about the billboard). It is simply a great graphic art modification - and made me laugh. She also jests in the text - "Smelling good all the way to Kona." because I have a very sensitive nose (like a polar bear) and can smell food at 10 miles, under the snow, inside an energy bar wrapper. Go ahead. Hide a cookie.

In any event - it is true - I am not racing in the Ironman this year.
That is even a hard sentence to say out loud. Very recently, I had to turn down my chance to race, with all the reluctance of Charlie giving away a Golden Ticket. I wrote about the "why" in the Ironman issue of Triathlete Magazine, so don't miss it on the newstands or in your mailbox.

I am glancing at the place where I have the bibs from my past races hanging. I am remembering all those races. I'm thinking carefully as I start to write the next blog installment of ten of the 50 tips for your best Ironman experienc