There are 9 full days or 9 and a half days until Outlaw. My brain has finally accepted that I am as fit as I can be for July 1st. Any training now wont improve my fitness. Any long runs or rides wont be of benefit - at best they will tire me and at worst I risk injury. This realisation followed a couple of mental issues being put to bed yesterday. The first being a decent length swim in a time indicative of avoiding the dreaded swim cut off at Outlaw. I did 3000m in the pool. It went really well and took me 90 mins. I had looked up some swimming technique videos on youtube and put into place a few of the pointers. They worked well and I was pleased. Even enjoyed a few moments where I was lost in the swim and flying along. Such moments are so great but so rare! I felt strong and the distance no longer concerns me. I intend to hone my OW technique with 3 or 4 OW swims over the next few days but I am not going to do anything daft. I am confident I will be out of the water and on my bike within 2 hours!
I swam in my tri shorts for the first time and then jogged the 1 mile home before jumping on the bike (for 'jumping' read minced about a bit making sure I had everything, had a drink, ate some bread and marmalade, eventually climbed on bike fumbled into peddles and finally set off!) The shorts are great. No chaffing on last weeks 88 miler and no chaffing today and they dry really really quickly!
I only did two hours on the bike but practised fuelling! I went with SIS gels that had got me round Edinburgh and Liverpool Marathons last year...I had forgotten how rank and sickly they are and as a result I am now looking at ways of fuelling without gels. SIS do very nice bars at double the energy impact of the gels. I am now looking at 2 of them per hour plus a Banana at the feed stations. A few jelly babies here and there and I reckon I'll be off the bike ready to run (for 'ready' read still breathing and able to stand!). A couple of little spins next few days to practise but nothing daft. I am confident I will be off the bike and ready to run by 10 hours in!
Finally I tagged on a 5.5 mile run. Previously a run off the bike usually resulted in a numb foot for the first few miles but yesterday was fine but incredibly slow (12 mins per mile). I think this was due to being tired - it was certainly slower than I expected. It felt like I got into my running around 3 miles or so and whilst only plodding I did feel like I could have plodded all day. A couple of little jogs over the next few days to keep me ticking but nothing daft. I am confident that managed properly I will cross the finish line within 17 hours! So I know I can swim the distance in the time required and I can keep my shorts on throughout, I am getting organised regarding nutrition and overall if I get that right and keep my head straight this can be done. It wont be pretty and it wont be fast but it will be done!
All negative thoughts have been banished. I did not spend most of yesterdays ride fretting about the swim, the ride, the run, transitions, nutrition, heart, mind and soul. I was not comparing my training (or lack of it) to the other soon to be Outlaws out there wishing 'if only' or unwisely comparing myself to all the people out there that push beyond their limits succesfully. No I did not! Its all about confidence and belief now. If I break it down small enough I genuinely believe!
My much better half, with whom I celebrated 14 years together yesterday, rarely comments on Ironman or her views on what I can achieve. Yesterday however she did. She believes I have not trained enough and that if it wasnt for kids like Poppy, the reason I got myself into this mess in the first place, along with the thought of letting people down, I would and should have withdrawn weeks ago. However, by the same token, because of Poppy and me not wanting to let people down I will have the drive and mental focus to do it. She doesnt think I will recover for a while because this is a challenge too far in a physical sense but one that I won't let beat me psychologically. So sadly the body is gonna have to keep up.
There is now effectively nothing much left to do but get lots of sleep and and make sure I have everything I need. My earlier realisation means that I am where I am, pushing myself now wont help, so its gonna be down to pushing boundaries on the day, breaking down a few walls and over achieving when I need to......paying for it in the days that follow will be small price to pay.
As the best mate character Ed in Shaun of the Dead said when asked for his Zombie impression 'I'll do it on the night!'