On race day, I often think back over the training I've done leading up to that point. I focus on workouts where I felt fantastic, strong, confident. Where my swim or pedal stroke was smooth, where my run-stride felt effortless. I think about the fun things I've seen or experienced while training. Back in the Winter of 2006 I was training for my first Ironman at Lake Placid. I graduated from BU a semester early and with that Spring Semester free, I took off for Europe.
Treading water at the start of Lake Placid, I thought back to some of my favorite experiences - swimming outdoors in the middle of the Winter in Vienna. Meeting and face-to-face my online friend, Andy and touring the mountains of Southern Spain with him. Coming up that last switchback on the Puerta Del Sol climb and seeing the Mediterranean sea from it's high peak.
On race day we think of the cumulative. The "big picture" of the past months of our lives. But each day is different. Each day should be different. This year, I've been working hard to shift my perspective. I have a coach that believes in me. I have an amazing support system that does as well. Taking one day at a time is important (esp. when you wake up with sniffles). I'm constantly being reminded by Eric of this take one day at a time idea - if I'm not feeling up to a workout or something isn't perfect - don't sweat it. If I am supposed to have an easy workout, but feel like ramping it up, go for it and we'll change the next day. There is this great sense of freedom and liberation - and with it, I can feel frustration leaving me like a strong exhalation.
As I'm building up this season's race and life schedule (yes, they do go together), I'm finding that not only am I happier at work and in training... I'm happier in general because I get to have a life too - and live it, one day at a time.