The weeks of long training are officially over.
It's taper time for the big show, Ironman Canada, on August 29, 2010. In three (short) weeks, this adventure will be over.
Tapers are interesting beasts - while seemingly rest and less training should be a good thing, this is the time when all the aches, anxieties and uncertainties come to roost. The physical labour is over, yielding to the purely mental task of actually gearing up for the A race - rest, nutrition and removing stress from my life are more important now than ever.
Looking back on other tapers for "A" races - my first half-marathon, my first marathon, my first triathlon, my first Boston - I know I can draw some experience from them, but at the same time know that I will still make some mistakes. I've heard the horror stories - the broken goggles, the forgotten nutrition, the broken derailleur. Hopefully a stroke of good luck will be with me to ensure that my mistakes are little ones.
Right now, my legs are tired and I'm a bit drained. I'm tired of long rides and long runs, of early morning swims, and of sicky sweet carb drinks. At the same time, it has been amazing to see how the long hours of training have forced my body to adapt to the mileage and long days. Last year at the same time I was struggling to train for my first Olympic distance tri - two hour rides would leave me sapped, and yet here I am today, doing five hour rides with a run immediately afterwards!
I am nervous, anxious and fearful of Ironman Canada, and yet at the same time, ready to try and tackle it. I'm still not convinced I can swim 3.8km with 2600 people and am definitely not sure I can run a marathon in 30 degree heat...never mind AFTER doing one of the most challenging rides I have ever done. But, hey, I think I've done the work....I may as well give 'er a shot.