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The Ten Best Ways to Prepare for a Big Race (Even when Scared to Death)

Today is January 2nd, 2013.  ……2013.  [Which, by the way, is going to be the best year ever. It is. It is.]

But today’s date also means that I have less than six months until my first (and likely, only) Ironman race. Of course, we all know what a steaming hot mess I am.

So what does a complete MESS like me do in order to prepare for a massive endeavor like Ironman Coeur d’Alene?


Well, I pretty much try to single-handedly destroy my chances of finishing the race.

What’s behind curtain number 1, Bob?   Oh that’s right, a bowl of ice cream and six Coronas (with lime, of course!). But wait, wait!  We have more! Maybe there’s some microwave cheesy crackers, some cookies, and ….what? Some raw cake batter?  Holy guacamo—–oh yes, guacamole too!  Hot dog— oh, hot dogs, too?  Lucky!  Lucky Charms?  Well, well…


So my nutrition has been garbage in 2012. What a surprise. Moving on.

My training was going okay in 2012.  I was feeling a little on target.  Good, solid 8-11 mile runs. Longish bikes. And my historically freakishly long swims. But then I tried to ride recently and then I broke a rib in a bike crash.  But before that, I sprained a foot in a 5k race.  And another foot sprain in a Fourth of July freak accident.  Then well, there was the broken foot-a-palooza of February 2012.  [I have hurt myself so much this year that the Expert has ceased even stopping to help pick me up when I fall… he’s like, “Oh, carry on. She’s fine.”  …I kid, I kid…sort of.]

But wait!  All of that was in 2012!  And 2012 is g-o-n-e.  [Whew, what a freaking relief.]


So with the eye on the June 23, 2013 prize… I have complied a very (or not very) useful list about keeping the dreams alive, whether you are heading into an Iron or a Sprint.

The Ten Best Ways to Prepare for a Big Race (Even when Scared to Death):

1. Get your nutrition in order.  And by “your nutrition” I actually mean “my nutrition.”  I am always fighting this.  But instead of fighting so much, I’m relaxing and just taking it one day at a time. And it’s working.


2. Ask for help.  Coaches, nutritionists, shrinks, and voodoo doctors (or Dr. Miracle Man Hands, whoever). Whatever it takes.

This is a big goal, and your family may get tired of you leaning on them constantly. Better enroll some others to hold you up. If you can’t afford others, then just go to the gym and find some people who look tough… and lean on them.


3.  Practice mental feats of strength.  This morning, I had a 3 hour bike ride on the schedule. Uh, but I have a full-time job, I whined to Coach Monster. Can I do this ride on the bike trainer? And if yes, can I do less time on the trainer? Less than 3 hours?  Like one hour? 

His response (I’m sure you can predict)… was: Do three 3 hours on the trainer.

To which I responded: Holy crap.

To which he responded:You can do it. Use your mind.

To which I responded… but only in my head, not to him directly: My mind?  What about fat, useless body? It’s going to be in the pain cave!

So I woke up at 4:45 this morning, and I rode on the Expert’s bike trainer. For three hours.  And even as I sit at my desk, the Queen hurts… but I did it.  And Coach Monster (as usual) was right. I used my mind to tell my body, Shut up! You can do this!  And I did.


4. Count Your Blessings.  I have to constantly remind myself of the good things in my life. To the point where it gets a little silly. When I come home in tears from work, I sometimes forget to open my eyes and look at my two, mischievous little rugrats, the Expert and our home… and just be grateful.

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5. Love Your Body. Loving my body (the vast flaws, and all) is the key to making my body work with me and for me… to get me to the finish. I used to say, “Somewhere inside of me, there’s a skinny girl just dying to come out. I just don’t know if I’ll ever see her.”

I don’t think that way anymore.

Because I don’t… think that way… anymore.

Instead, I think:
“Somewhere inside of me, there’s an Ironman.  And she’s gonna show up on June 23, 2013.”

I have changed my tune to celebrating what my big ole legs can do… instead of worrying about how they look in a pair of discount jeggings.


6. Put in the work.   “Oh, you just are so lucky that you can finish that race.”  I love these kinds of comments.  Ha.  Chunky as I may be, I busted my tail for the past two years to finish the races I did.  Through some serious adversity and tough times.

And I have to continue to bust it.  If I want to finish my next big race, then I darn well have to put in the work.


7. Stop Making Excuses.  I feel really sorry that you aren’t a morning person. Poor you! It must be tough having such…a…terrible….”condition.”  Anti-morning personitis. That’s got to be heart-breaking! Does Anti-morning personitis make your insurance premium go up? How much are your medical bills and your prescriptions to treat this disease?

In order to move forward and accomplish, we have to stop putting up our own barriers to success.  I’m just as guilty.  I will wake up in the middle of the night to workout… but I can’t put down the cheeseburger.

My excuse is just a food instead of an alarm clock.

And it has to stop.


8. Surround Yourself with the Right Vibes.  Finding a friend, a group or a club that can help you move forward and hold you accountable is key.  I find that knowing all the SBMers out there are ‘watching’ me helps.  I now live in fear that someone is behind me at the grocery store, looking at what’s in my cart and taking pictures on Instagram.

#SBMGroceryStore #LookAtTheJunk #NotInTheTrunk  #InHerCart


9. Stay Focused.  I find that when I ask myself questions about priorities… that if I truly am honest with myself….thenI will make better decisions.  For example: Is this food that I am about to eat going to help me make it to Coeur d’Alene… or is it going to require that I purchase an extra airplane seat ticket to get there?

If I break down my choices with the focus of the big goal in mind… I find that I am better able to stay the course.  I sometimes fall off the course… but at least, I pick up a little more quickly.


10. Relax. What? What? What????  Ha!  How can I relax? With all this work? And this commute and these kids????

Precisely. Put yourself in timeout.  Relax, rest and regroup.  Because you’ve got a big race coming up. And you need your rest, your strength and your wits about you… to keep yourself moving forward.


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