So.....am I ready? I don't know. I've got two iron distance races under my belt and even though I struggled with the heat in Florida last year I won my age group. It was a different race, but winning my age group gives me a level of confidence that my goals aren't completely unrealistic. Most importantly, I learned a lot from that race and if it's hot in WI this year I'll know how to handle it.
My training began on Jan 4th and since then I've trained for more than 500 hours. I swam more than a quarter of a million yards, ran more than a thousand miles and biked more than five thousand miles. My longest swim was 3.6 miles, my longest bike was 132 miles and my longest run was 21.5 miles. My longest brick was a one mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike followed by a 13 mile run.
I got a bike fit and improved my position. I also bought race wheels, new handlebars and a compact crank. I learned more about using my powermeter and analyzing data. I learned how to better distribute my power and what cadence is optimal for me to run well off the bike (I learned all this the hard way). And I finally got my FTP above 300.
I nailed down my nutrition strategy and finally figured out exactly how much sodium I need. I ran in the heat, the rain, the snow, the mud, the ice, thunderstorms, blizzards, etc. I did hill repeats, tempo runs and track workouts.
So am I ready? I still don't know.
A friend of mine asked me what I think about on a long swim, and my answer was that it varies. I swam at Devil's Lake Sunday and thought about everything listed above. I couldn't get it out of my head. Am I aiming too high? Am I strong enough? Fast enough? Did I train hard enough?
What if I fail?
And then, out of the blue, I thought about the No Fear poster of Jeremy McGrath that hung above my bike back in my motocross days. It said:
You must always push the limits. Because if you never fail, you will never succeed.
And suddenly I didn't worry about it anymore. Looking back, I had a great year. I had a lot of fun did a lot of racing. I pushed myself and learned more about training for and racing triathlons. All I can do at this point is race the best race I'm capable of and whatever happens happens.
I don't know if I'll fail or succeed, but I do know that on September 12 - while I won't be the fastest guy out there, or the strongest or most talented - I'll be the guy who refuses to stop pushing his limits.