Monday, October 16, 2006

Peaking

So this is it. I've peaked, I'm in the home stretch, in the taper, heading toward the starting line. I've done my last long bike, last long run, it's all downhill from here (well, until race day, that is). It hit me today when I was thinking about all of this that this is probably the peak of my life's fitness as well. I will never be as fit again as I will be in when I walk to the beach on Ironman day.

Sure, I trained for the Ironman once before, even had my entry number and hotel reservation. But that was when I was 25, young and impatient and too driven for my own good. By this time, three weeks before race day, I was a wreck. Overstressed, underslept, having been through a bout of shin splints, and suffering from ulcers and severe anemia, my doctor actually threatened to take a baseball bat to my bicycle if I dared to head off to the Ironman. So my race number has sat in the bottom of a drawer all these years, mute testimony to the fallacies of blind ambition, and a challenge to me to find a smarter way to train.

So at 25, I was not nearly as healthy, fit, and strong as I stand today at 40, mom of two (though I looked a damn sight better in a bikini back then). This, then, is it. The zenith of my power in this human body. A resting heartrate of 48, and more strength and endurance than I've ever experienced. I'm not planning on training for the Ironman next year, or the year after, or the year after that. It's too much of a time and resource drain on my family. Though I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey, it's not something I could put them through on a regular basis. I may revisit the Ironman again, perhaps at age 45 or 50, but the aging process will take its toll on me between now and then. Perhaps not much, but it will be there. I'll be a little stiffer, a little slower to recover, my muscle mass will be a little less, my endurance slightly reduced.

Yes, today I stand on the peak, and it is both exhilarating and slightly scary. But it's a damn fine view.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

Way cool, Robin. It sounds like you've prepared the right way for this event. It's fun for me to read about it. I've been a jogger since my oldest could watch her younger brother while I hit the road. I'm definitely stiffer at 46 than I was five or ten years ago, but I still find it worthwhile to exercise.