Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Carry the flag

So it's already been a little while since my last post... my bad if you've been on the edge of your seat since the most recent  :)    I spent the 3-day weekend in Houston... while Atlanta experimented with an ice rink on city streets, which failed beautifully.

I didn't workout while in Houston, so I don't have much to report on that front... besides for a decent 2000 yard swim this morning and going for a lift after posting this.  While on my drive to Houston though, I finally came to a point of having a dedicated "mental connection" to doing this race in October.  It's really difficult for me to describe what I mean by "connection", so I'll sacrifice a man-card and some internal thoughts by trying to explain through my experience with Ironman Florida.  First off, I don't know if other people go through similar feelings as I had with IMFL, so this could be similar to what others experience... I'm not relating IMFL as a life-altering event, but it certainly affected nearly every thought and action of mine for the 365+ days that I trained for it.  I set a goal and decided that nothing was going to get in my way... I became wholly invested with finishing this race.  I'd watch Ironman (IM) videos on youtube and would become choked up by some of the clips, as I would imagine myself doing the same thing.  I would have dreams about finishing the race... as the race got closer, these dreams turned more to nightmares of me sleeping-in through the race start, but that's a different topic... these visions of finishing the race become a small obsession.  I would get choked up by simply envisioning my first Ironman finish.  It becomes the reason to wake up at 4am for a 2+hr swim, or ride your bike for an entire Saturday with your college football team in a rivalry game, or to strictly discipline yourself to eat well for (ideally) every meal... it acted as a filter for every thought that went through my mind.  If I failed at one of these things just once, that's not terrible... but, I always had to be cautious because it can become the snowflake that started the avalanche.  A quote from a great movie, Vision Quest... the main character Louden was trying to lose weight to wrestle and, against all odds, defeat a well-known state-champ. Louden was offered a cheeseburger from a friend.  When Louden refused, his friend said,  "It's one burger, it won't put you overweight".  Louden replied, "Yea, but it'd be a good start".  I probably messed up the exact wording, but the general message is clear.  To succeed in such daunting goals, you have to stay disciplined.  If I wanted to beat the odds and dedicate myself to doing IMFL, I had to find that state of mental preparedness to stay on path to do it.  This mental preparedness "took shape" in me envisioning myself crossing the finish line and hearing the words "You are an Ironman".
How this relates to now, with the double Ironman...  Given it's short list of competitors from across the globe, a tradition at the Virginia Double Iron is to carry your country's flag for the final 1/4 mile across the finish line (you can see this in the limited double Iron videos on youtube). When driving to Houston, I had to catch myself a little bit when I began envisioning myself finishing the race.  While imagining myself carrying the US flag across the finish and having my support crew there for me, I (once again) choked up a bit and realized that I have the mental state and am ready to meet this goal... I WILL carry the flag!

This all might seem very trivial on the surface... but it really does mean a lot for the mental aspect of training, which is more than 1/2 the battle.

I'll get my Endurance Planner software in the mail very soon, and I can't wait to set up my 35+ weeks of training!!  The engineer in me is excited to fool around with the software capabilities, and the athlete in me is excited to schedule all my workouts for the year :)   When I have my schedule worked out, I'll let you know all the other races I plan to do this season!  Oh, and before I head out for some weight training...... DA BEARS!!!!

Till next time... stay healthy & be happy!


  1. Holy christmas Bernz! You are crazy. And inspirational. I don't know if I'll ever get to ironman level, but each time you post about a workout, I get motivated to go for a run, try swimming again, or just get off my butt and do anything.

    I can't wait to hear about your training... so far it's pushed me to definitely sign up for another tri-sprint to give it another go!

  2. I'm glad you're enjoying it! And even more glad that it helps with the motivation!!

    I always support people becoming involved with triathlon... good luck with the sprint!! Let me know how it goes

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  4. Great post!
    You seems enjoying writing your blog and sharing with people and you remember me myself!
    You still seems motivated, as I use to know you and...keep being this way! I m sure you will reach your goal, for sure!
    Oh and... you are an Ironman so...carry the flag and wear you shirt =P