I find it amazing how committed to training you can get when there is an Ironman staring you in the face. Images of athletes reduced to crawling to the finish come to mind quite easily. Once I rode with a woman training for her first Ironman who said her only goal was to "Finish upright and unassisted." I like that goal. It is succinct and to the point. So as I've realized my first Ironman is around the corner, I've come to terms with a day long event filled with some suffering. What I haven't come to terms with is the idea of crawling to the finish so, I've been more focused on my training than ever.
As I've become more diligent and showed up for my key workouts, I've been more aware of the need to plan ahead in case of some sort of "gotcha." When I did tech support for my friends' computers as I quoted them a price for the work, I always gave them this disclaimer, "This is how much it will be to fix your computer as long as there isn't a 'gotcha' -- and there is always a 'gotcha'."
I'm going to have to keep this in mind as I get closer and closer to my race. The picture above shows just a couple of things I've had to deal with in the last few weeks. All equipment failures. First is the broken pair of googles. This happened 2/3 of the way through the main set on my key swim workout during the week. The interesting thing is these goggles are brand new. They are my racing goggles. So before this swim I'd only worn them twice, in the two races I've done this year. Ironically my training goggles are 3 years old and I had just ordered their replacements. I was only swimming in the racing goggles in the interim until my new pair arrived. I guess I should consider myself fortunate because if I hadn't used them, the next time I had them on would have been an olympic distance tri in the middle of a lake.
Behind the swim goggles, is the former rear brake cable for my tri bike. It is totally rusted. So the story here is I was getting ready to go to do a practice ride with some new equipment I had just bought the day before a time trial. Took the bike out to the Veloway, got it set up and "look ma, no brakes..." That weekend I was racing. Fortunately, I was able to get ALL the cables on the bike replaced because they were all rusted through. Oh yeah and had to get new cable housing too. Apparently according to my mechanic, the cabling was cheap and had oxidized because of the humidity. He was surprised that my bike had been built with it. As was I. But again, I was saved from racing without brakes or faulty goggles because of some seemingly random decision.
The last item is a Fistglove. I use this to further isolate the hand from the nervous system while swimming to learn the proper use of the rest of the arm. It broke in the beginning of the workout. Not a big deal, I just took it off and swam with my fists the rest of the practice. But given everything else, it was just one more thing to go wrong and, with the wrong mindset, could have wound up being an excuse not to train. And that's the point of this post I suppose. We all have things get in the way of our training. Sometimes they are show stoppers and other times they are just merely tests of our resolve. Doesn't matter in the end I suppose as long as you have a clearly stated goal and keep moving for it. Mine is to finish my first Ironman "Upright and unassisted."