Seeing is Believing - Visualize being a Bad-Ass
With less than 4 weeks until event day my anxiety is starting to kick into overdrive.
Have I trained enough? Have I done enough hills on the bike? Is my nutrition plan going to be ok?
Am I getting a cold? Why does my right knee hurt?
Double, triple, quadruple check my travel plans, pack lists, documents, etc, etc.
And well honestly the realization that my best friend will not be at the start line with me this time. That I am doing this on my own - the person I have always leaned on won’t be there and he won’t be coming out on the run course to pace me no matter how much I wish for it. That is probably the hardest part.
So I have been working really hard on my visualization. A few years ago I had the amazing luck to train with Barb Zimich. She was and her husband at the time, Larry, were big proponents of the power of visualization and the importance of incorporating it into your training and race day planning.
How does it work?
Well you find a quiet place , sit down, close your eyes and just visualize your race day.
Visualize standing on the beach in your wetsuit, visualize looking out at the water and walking in, starting to swim, stroke, stroke, stroke – breathe, stroke, stroke, stroke breathe. See your arms moving through the water; imagine passing each buoy in the water. Seeing the shore and moving smoothly through the water towards it, your hands touching the bottom as you near the shore and standing up. Reaching behind to start to unzip your wetsuit as you exit the water through the arch into transition. Pointing to a wetsuit stripper and lying down so they can pull off your suit. Standing up and grabbing your transition bag as you head into change tent.
Drying your feet: socks on, Shoes on, Gloves on, head band, eat a gel, helmet on. Out of change tent and get sunscreen on by volunteers and jog to bike. Grab bike and head out of transition, under the arch to the mount line. On the bike clip in and settle in for the ride. Right pedal, left pedal repeat. Imagine the course, easily riding up the hills and flying down the otherside. Visualize the fields and countryside going by while you are pedaling and eating a clif bar. Riding through aid stations and grabbing banana’s and water. Feeling your legs starting to bark in complaint and working through the doubts. Right pedal, left pedal – Repeat. Finally reaching the last 10km and spinning the legs out to get ready for the run. Seeing the arch signalling that the ride is done. Getting to the dismount line and having a volunteer grab the bike while you stiffly get off and jog to the change tent while grabbing your gear bag.
Realizing you are not going to change so you grab your hydration pack and make sure it has gels and salt tabs. Change out your socks , grab your hat and slip on your runners and head out of the tent. Get some more sunscreen on – do a quick watch check and realize that there is only 42.2 km between you and an ice cold beer and burger.
Start slowly running/shuffling and settling in to the run plan – run aid station to aid station . Walk aid stations to get nutrition in because you know you will not take any of your gels – you hate them now. You are now on the pretzel, oranges and flat coke diet. Left foot, right foot, repeat. Smile you are having an awesome day and yes your legs hurt and yes you feel tired but it is a good tired.
Remember why you are doing this that you are dedicating this race to Joe and all first responders dealing with PTSD. That he is running with you in his heart and spirit and when you get home you will be able to tell him all about your amazing adventure and show him the medal. And all of the sudden you are at 42 km and you see the finish arch and you see the clock and you know that you broke 14 hours!
That is how you visualize. It is as important as the physical training and you have to believe it with all your heart and see it, be relentless and visualize every day and then it will become reality.
Oh and the run streak you ask? Today will be day 205.
I know I got this, I am a beast, I am relentless and I am doing this for me and for Joe. I just wish I was doing it with him – PTSD SUCKS!