You read about the importance of getting a good night's sleep two nights before the event. The logic is that your nerves will keep you from sleeping the night before the event. All said, I should be in bed right now. But I've recently discovered that it is best to work with your body's natural sleep patterns rather than trying to change them overnight. I'll get to bed soon and sleep in tomorrow. I'll even take a nap tomorrow.
Today I took my bike out for a short 25-mile ride. Funny how I call 25 miles short. That's already 25% of the Ironman bike distance. It felt good to be on the bike. Real good. In fact, almost too good. I decided to turn around and head back to the hotel. I'll try to remember how good I felt today on Sunday, around mile 90.
I'm not nervous. I'm not anxious. I'm excited. I'm wired. I'm wound up. Now I understand what a good taper feels like. After pulling back my workouts to almost nothing for the past month, I feel the energy in my body ready to explode. I swam a few laps in the pool today and could feel my muscles burst with power. Even on the bike, I climbed the hill over the river on McClintock with fierce intensity.
Tim DeBoom said that a lot can happen in Ironman so it is best not to make pre-race predictions. He said to keep the moments real when you're out there and do it for the right reasons.
Out on the bike today as I headed down Rio Salado back to the hotel I took a moment to realize what I was doing. I was out in Arizona, riding my bike in the afternoon. Less than 48 hours away from starting one of the greatest human challenges around. And I realized how fantastic my life is at the moment. Forget all the tangible things we hold onto--money, loneliness, dissappointment, and fear. Forget all that and realize that life is fantastic.
And then I realized how sad it is that most of us will never discover how fantastic we can be.
We're too busy making other people happy, working jobs we don't like, holding onto money because it makes us feel secure, watching TV because we're too tired to do anything else, drinking wine and beer because it helps us relax and "be ourselves" around others. We come up with any excuse we can to prevent ourselves from being fantastic.
Because being fantastic involves going places and doing things other don't. Being fantastic means being terrified. Being fantastic means letting go. Being fantastic means letting loose and flying with no parachute. It's as scary as hell. Trust me. I've been there.
But the moment you realize that the fear is merely in your mind. The moment you realize that you are freer than you have ever been. The moment you realize that you are pushing that line people call normal so far out that it breaks...
The moment you let the hot desert wind blow across the face and let the sun toast your skin and breathe the air that the Indians in the region call sacred...
People call me crazy because I'm doing the Ironman. Normal people don't do things like that.
Normal is boring. And I'm not crazy.
Try it. You'll never want to be normal again.