Dear Ironman Wisconsin,

Ok, so we haven’t been in touch for a while. Well, not formally at least. I trust you don’t need letters all the time to know that I have been thinking about you. Ok, who am I kidding, obsessing would be the accurate term. You know, the usual, What if I don’t PR, what if I do, but only by like 5 minutes, What if its 90 degrees, Which outfit should I wear, Is this worth it, Was I dumb to sign up for another one for ’09, Don’t forget to bring a toaster so I can have white toast for breakfast in the hotel room, What if I go even slower than I did last summer, What would happen if I didn’t wear a watch, would I enjoy it more, or hate it more, Why am I even doing this, What if I gain weight during the taper, What if the hotel overbooked and we have nowhere to stay, I kind of wish I could just do Ironman Lake Placid ’07 again so it could be my first and I wouldn’t pressure myself so much about being faster than last time, Maybe it will be the race of my life after all, Maybe it won’t be, considering this whole season has been without a single PR, I wish I was motivated and positive, I should just change my attitude RIGHT. NOW. Maybe I shouldn’t do it at all, No wait that is super lame to give up before I even get started, I wish I could just get it over with already, I am already daydreaming about eating Domino’s pizza after I cross the finish line….

So, that’s where I’m at. I never wished so hard for taper time to get here. It’s here. There’s nothing else to do really, except eat 2 egg whites, a grapefruit, and a small handful of almonds for breakfast, and salad for lunch to maintain equilibrium now that I am no longer training like a maniac. Most of this season I felt I was doing all I could, while still working (albeit not exactly full-time), having a social life, feeding my compulsive email checking habit, and managing the loads and loads of laundry that inevitably pile up when you have a different costume for each of your three sports….

Now that its time to rest and let my body absorb all the hard work, I wonder, was it enough? Why didn’t I do more intervals? Why didn’t I do a few longer runs? What if I had done core work consistently, the way I was supposed to? What if I had a regular lifting regimen? What if I had said no to dessert every now and then? What if I had slept more? I should have done yoga. Obviously I am screwed.

Or maybe not… I did the best I could with what I had. I am lucky my achilles finally healed this spring. I couldn’t help having to travel for two weddings in August. The alternative, “Hey guys, you’re great, I would have loved to be at your wedding but you see I have an ironman to train for. You know, a long race that I do for fun, where I will finish somewhere near the middle if I am lucky, that I will not get paid for.” No, that would certainly not do. And I couldn’t help it that my parents and aunt and uncle decided to visit in late July. Not the best timing for my training but the old “Hey I love you and I appreciate that you are flying out to see me but I will have to hand you an itinerary because I am training for an ironman. You can borrow my car and my GPS while I am training.” just would not fly. And as far as my niece being born… She couldn’t help the timing of her arrival. To be fair, I had not even signed up for the race when she was conceived so there was no choice but to fly back east and meet her, the most beautiful girl I have ever seen, even if that meant missing some training. Getting the aunt thing off to a good start was a no-brainer.

In my favor, I have the hard week I did on Bicycle Tour Colorado, I have the fact that I have done an ironman before, I have sought out hilly rides and runs, I have been living at altitude. At the end of the day whatever happens, I will just have to know I did the best I could. I will know that I was out there with 2000 other people who chose to make their dream real. I will dig deep to find whatever is inside of me that makes me keep going as the sun dips into the horizon and my legs feel like someone beat them with a bat and my body feels like I could lay down and sleep for a week. At the end of the day Mike Reilly will say, “Pam Sinel , YOU ARE AN IRONMAN.” I will be grateful for my health, all the people I love, all the wonderful people I have met through this sport, and all the reasons I was able to make it to the finish line. Hopefully that will be enough.

3 thoughts on “Dear Ironman Wisconsin,

  1. PJ says:

    Well said, Pam. I’m feeling a lot of the same things this week and to make it more fun, I came down with a cold on Monday and it’s not getting any better. Just another thing to worry about!Dave and I are up for a pre-race swim if you are. Give me a shout when you have a chance. My e-mail address is PJGonzalesali at gmail dot com.

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