This is the third article in the Ironman Chronicles series.
Mind games, really. Mind over matter. Sheer determination of the will. Overcoming, victorious, breakthrough. Is it fantasy or reality? Can I really will my mind to ignore fear? The race is less than two days away. What is the greatest obstacle I will have to overcome to complete this grand trek across 140.6 miles?
My mind tells me it’s my swimming.
Swimming is the dark dragon that still needs to be slain. I’ve trained extra hard since mid-May, swimming close to seven miles per week. I’ve seen my times in the pool drop from a 1:55/100 meters to about 1:45/100 meters.
All that seemed to have been erased today during my short, practice swim in choppy, freezing water in a dark, menacing lake. The only consolation was not having to taste nasty saltwater.
I wish I was the X-Men character, Storm. I’d make the wind disappear to make the lake as smooth as glass so that I wouldn’t have to get pounded in the face swimming into a wave crest every three strokes. But alas, I can’t control the weather on race day.
I can only control my mind and my body. I can choose to recall that I’ve swum well in training. I can choose to remember that I’ve swum 4,000 meters on numerous occasions. And I can do it again in a lake on Sunday. Despite my dislike of swimming, I can choose to remember that I’ve been swimming since I was eight years old. That’s well over 36 years. So I can damn well swim 2.4 miles in freezing, choppy water if I put my mind to it.