I’m less than 1 week away from competing in Ironman WI, my first Ironman, and the one question I can’t answer is, “have I done enough?”
I’ve trained and raced with the Madison Multisport Team for the last year. I’ve worked harder than I ever have physically and I’ve been a type of exhausted that I didn’t know existed. I’ve spent countless hours with my teammates - more quality time with them this summer than with my wife and kids. I did all the workouts my coach assigned (and skipped some of them when my body told me I needed a break).
I also raced. A lot. In the last year, I’ve completed 3 Ironman 70.3 races, 7 sprint triathlons, 2 marathons, the Horribly Hilly Hundreds 100K and 4 running races of varying distances. That’s an insane amount of racing.
Yet, I still can’t say I have done enough. I don’t know that I have. I don’t know that I can swim 2.4 miles and then bike 112 miles and then run 26.2 miles. I don’t know that I can do it because I’ve never done it before. I have doubts every day. At times, I think I’ve committed to something I just am not built to do. I’m a big guy. Big guys aren’t endurance athletes. I also think a lot about failing, but I don’t even know what it would mean to fail at an Ironman. It’s a paradox.
So, how do I convince myself I’ve done enough? Done enough to deserve to be on that starting line. Done enough to make my coaches’ investment in me worth their time. Done enough to hold my head high when I see my teammates after the race. Done enough to make all the sacrifices my wife made to make this possible worth it. Done enough to make my son proud when he hangs that medal around my neck at the finish line.
The bottom line is that I can’t. I can’t convince myself that I’ve done enough. I can’t convince myself that I’ll be able to hit my goal times for each leg of the race. I can’t convince myself that I won’t fail. I’m genuinely afraid.
This is why you’ll find me starting a 2.4 mile swim at 6:55am on Sept 10, because I don’t know if I can do this and I want to find out. I want to know. I need to know and there’s only one way to find out. Dive in.