Anyway, this day I began up the hill and made it just under half way and stopped. I couldn't get going again and began to walk my bike again (it was around this time that I wondered if an ironman was something I was truly capable of). I didn't get too far when I ran in to Coach Brad, who gave me a look. Those who know him know the looks he is capable of. I told him I couldn't get all the way up and he just continued to look at me. He made me get back on my bike, it took a couple tries and some help (after that I can now get back on my bike going up hill, so that's good news), but I did it. It didn't seem as hard for the next bit, probably because not only was Brad riding next to me, but he was pushing me too. Seriously!? I could barely get up the hill and he was getting not only himself up, but me too.
Anyway, at this point I said, "I have to do this two more times?!" I was horrified that I would have to go up this hill again, immediately. After I got to the top I would I have to ride down the street adjacent to it and go back up it again - strangely, the harder part for me was the downhill and I had to get off my bike and walk part of it the first time cause I was so petrified - this is not a problem for me anymore - hello 44.9 mph on the back side of Nasty Grade at Wildflower (downhill fear is now long gone). Back to the part where I'm being pushed up the hill.
After being told that yes, I do have to ride up this hill two more times (without being pushed), I resigned myself to it. But, not before looking over and blurting out, "This shit is hard!" The response was laughter and a snide remark about running marathons (which is where I started the season, as a marathoner). With a bit of laughter I was now at the top and sent off on my merry way to go conquer this hill again. And, it was hard, but the next two times that day (and every single time since) I rode all the way up, no stops. That day I had to give myself little goals, such as, if you can make it to the call box you can stop, if you can make it to the next light pole you can stop, etc. It worked and I made it up. Now that monstrous hill is nothing but a little bump along the way.
It seemed so hard at the time, and now I don't even really think about it as I approach it, what was hard before isn't now, hard has a new definition. That day Coach Brad shared my words of wisdom with the team. And a few people have since shared back with me after a tough workout, its appropriate, training for an ironman is hard, really hard.
To my teammates racing Ironman Canada this weekend, yes, this shit is hard, but damn, its so worth it. I wish I could be there with you, cheering you on your big day. But, I'll be cheering for you from LA and thinking about you all, all day long. I can't wait to see the updates on Facebook and Twitter and track all you rockstars all day long. It is going to be an amazing day.
And just remember, yes, this shit is hard, but if it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it.
A bit of advice for all of my friends racing Ironman Canada. I'm no expert on triathlon, or racing, or anything really, so take this for what you think its worth. Remember to enjoy the day and smile. You have worked so incredibly hard to get to this point. Enjoy the day, enjoy the experience. Be happy to be out there and remember that not everyone has the courage, or ability, to start such a fantastic thing. The best thing I did on race day? I had fun. I had one of the best days of my life, I really enjoyed it. So, while you're out there, take a moment to realize just how far you've come and appreciate it and appreciate where you are. You've done amazing things not only for yourself but for the world around you. We, collectively raised more than $400,000, that is no small thing. You are all super heroes and made this season so incredibly wonderful. Remember you are not just changing yourself, you are changing the world. Scratch what I said at the beginning of this paragraph, I'm an expert at one thing, having fun, and I had fun during my ironman, the whole day.
Now go have some fun! Can't wait to hear about and see a ton of pictures from all you Ironmen to be!
In the wise words of Dr. Seuss: "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"
Go get it!