It is not that I lack respect for the sport of triathlon or for the Ironman challenge itself that I fail to prepare properly. It is not a lack of respect for the event that I am taking it on in a Morphsuit. It is not that I take the challenge lightly. I respect the challenge and the people taking it on immensely! They truly inspire me in their effort, commitment and sacrifice in pursuing their goals. It is more a lack of respect for myself that drags me into the mess I find myself in. The same mess I was in around this time last year (see Heart & Guts post). The main difference being that last year the mess was primarily caused by injury (just another excuse in reality) but ultimately due to slackery.
So I find myself in a world of self doubt and self loathing. This is a big problem when belief and mental strength are such a huge part of being able to complete this challenge. The doubt is broken down as follows:-
The swim of 2.4 miles. I know I can swim that far but I haven’t swam for months, I haven’t got the adapted Morphsuit in open water yet and I haven’t tested an increasingly tweaky right shoulder over any kind of distance.
The cycle of 112 miles. It is fair to say I am faster by 2/3 miles per hour over my shorter rides than this time last year which must mean that I am fitter but I haven’t tested my endurance at all. I’ve not cycled over 50 miles yet. I’ve not cycled more than 3 hours in the Morphsuit. I’ve not practised/tested fuelling at all!
The run of 26.2 miles. Again I am noticeably quicker than this time last year. Almost 1 min per mile faster on runs up to 10 miles. Again this must mean that I am fitter but this year I don’t have the psychological strength of knowing the endurance is there from having done a spring marathon.
If 80% of this challenge is psychological (which it is) I am going to be in big trouble this year unless, over the course of the next 5 weeks 4 days, I get my act together. I can go into this and succeed if I am physically under prepared as long as I am mentally ready and strong. At the moment I am about 30% of where I need to be mentally. The self doubt is truly overwhelming and the self loathing is off the scale!
I sound like a broken record if I now go on to say I will do this and I will do that to sort myself out over the next few weeks. The reality however is that I just embarrass myself each time I then fail to get out and do what I was planning to do. This creates more self loathing and increases self doubt.
Some people have said the challenge is hard enough as it is without adding the Morphsuit but the Morphsuit justifies me going back to the same people again and again to ask for sponsorship. It is no longer enough to do an Ironman – the stakes have to be higher. If I complete Outlaw in a Morphsuit I hope to have raised £10,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and their research and treatment of child brain tumours over the course of 2 yrs 2 months since my first marathon in Edinburgh 2011! I am currently on £9,200! It’s not a lot compared to other fundraisers that can raise tens of thousands from one event but it is all I can do in reaction to and in support of my niece Poppy and her brain tumour fight.
Motivation isn’t an issue. Inspiration isn’t an issue. Support is never an issue. Self discipline, self respect and self belief however are sadly lacking.
I know what it takes and I know where I will fail. I overcame a big wobble last year and I know I can again. Will I be at the start of Outlaw? Definitely! Will I get to break the finish tape again? Well, that remains the big question.