About a month ago we were given the news that this would be the last year for a Professional race at Ironman Wisconsin.
While I don't want to comment on that decision too much in this post, I do want to say that without the PRO race in Madison, nothing I have created in the last 14 years would exist. I sincerely hope that WTC is able to amend their current decisions for the future generations of aspiring and developing Professional athletes, as well as the long term success of their business
However, until those changes are made, next Sunday will be my last chance to do what I have wanted to do so badly since the inaugural race here in Madison back in 2002...WIN! I will admit that I had NO idea if that was possible in 2002, or even 2003 through 2006, but I believed it could be possible...someday. The course was seared into my mind and the thought of winning was a central driving force behind countless 1200-1500 hour years of training. It is also what got me past a number of disappointing races.
So how will this year's race be different? Is there added pressure from others or myself to win? Am I ready to win??
You might expect a driven athlete to answer by looking at their fastest splits on the course, then putting them together and saying that those would give them a good chance to win. Perhaps it would involve looking at training numbers leading into the race and making some guesses from there. Maybe it would involve looking at performances leading up to the big race and comparing them to past years.
While those answers all sound great and sometimes might be good ones, they are all speculative and if I have learned anything from the past, what I do in training is not always indicative of what I do out on race day.
So for me, the answers are a bit different.
1) It isn't any different; the process, the plan, the focus...it's all the same...in the moment, on the task at hand, sticking to my plan.
2) Of course there is pressure, but if I didn't feel it, if it wasn't there, it would mean that this race didn't matter, that it wasn't important...so I accept it and embrace it.
3) Of course I am ready. I have paid my dues and along with being my 13th race in Madison, this will also be my 30th Ironman start. If I get the opportunity, I will not let it pass...
The work is done, the experience is there and regardless of how things go next weekend, whether I am first or last, I will make sure that I enjoy every moment of it... From the terrace looming above during the swim start, to the helix, to the awful unrelenting bike course, to the run that I am seemingly made for, to having my team/family out on course racing and supporting, all of it. All while knowing that no matter how great my future races are, they won't be able to touch IMMoo!
Lastly, I want to thank this fantastic triathlon community who has supported and inspired me for over a decade. Good luck to everyone racing and thank you to all of you who are volunteering and supporting, it doesn't go unnoticed.
More to come...