Today was my last long ride on Natchez Trace before Ironman Wisconsin. I referred to the Trace as a god forsaken place in a post on Facebook, but that’s only because it is always a tough ride. A long and winding road that seemingly goes forever and nowhere.
The forecast called for a 10% chance of rain, and I guess the Trace was the 100% of the 10% because it rained for 80% of my ride. (That sounds a little like a Yogi Berra quote).
It was cool, gloomy, and wet as Jim, Jonathon, and Danielle led me out of the rest stop at mile 440. We headed out toward Mississippi.
About two miles in I realized I forgot to put Perform in my water bottles, so I knew I wasn’t going out too far before turning around. I was loaded with Power Bars and Shock Blocs, but I have recently learned I cannot exist on water alone.
Blah blah…. I rode about 85 miles in close to five hours, mostly alone with my thoughts and tired legs. Wrecked legs. Legs ready for some relief, that will come in small doses for the next three weeks before I put them into a vice at IMWI.
It’s easy to let your mind wander on an 85 mile solo ride, but I tried to “feel” the race. To climb hills tactically and save my legs, even though they were already gone.
The entire training experience has been incredibly mental, but as we reach our peak mileage, the mind is ultimate truth. Welcome the pain and fight it off however you can. Beat up your legs and let them get used to that feeling, embrace it like a masochist. Turn that weakness into strength and flow in the moment, let the discomfort come . . . then fade away.
If you break it down, everything in life can become a metaphor for life. Ironman is no different. There will be many peaks and valleys along the 140.6 mile course, it just comes down to how we respond.