A week ago I was in Florida living the life of a professional athlete that has “arrived” (with no thoughts of working at the hospital being the biggest difference). I was surrounded by salt water, lots of open roads, and some really fun people. I haven’t had a real vacation in over a year. But it wasn’t until after the race was over that I was able to enjoy myself in Oregon. This time, the stress levels were non-existent. My only worry was how big the waves would be in the ocean the next day. As my vacation was nearing an end, I realized how close Ironman Louisville was and a few nervous chills went down my spine.
Racing in my hometown always brings a bittersweet feeling. I love not having to travel, being able to eat food that I have in my house and from my garden, sleeping in my own bed, and not having to deal with unfamiliar location. I love the energy that friends – both on and off the race course – give off during the race. It’s also a bit nerve wrecking because of all the friends that are on and off the race course.
I know that people track me when I’m out of town racing, but, to me, it’s much different when they are in person. Whenever I start thinking that way, I need to convince myself that I’m not racing for anyone else. I’m out there to have fun, enjoy myself, and race in a manner that brings glory to God. But it’s not just the race that matters, but all of the activities leading up to the race.
So far, I’ve had the honor to speak a youth group meeting at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Louisville. I spent some time making a coorelation of figuring out what people’s goals were in life, the sacrifices needed to get there, and how (often times) we need help to achieve that goal. I made a spiritual connection of how people try to reach Heaven on their own, but will always fall short. It’s not until they reach out for help (Jesus) that they will make it to Heaven. I then spent some time talking about how to intregrate faith into their daily lives as they chase after their goals. I thought it went well, and was pleased to even get some crowd participation from the youth.
Wednesday, I’ll be talking in an informal Q & A with last year’s IM Louisville winner, Patrick Evoe, at the Presbeteryian Center downtown. We did this last year and was very successful. And on Friday, I’ll be in my first pro panel hosted my Ironman. I doubt that anyone outside of Louisville will know who I am, so I don’t expect to be asked very many questions, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’m very excited about these opportunities. But nothing is more excited than trying to redeem myself from last year.
Last year, I got sick about three days before the race, and, as a result, my race suffered significantly. Thanks to support from sponsors and my new coach I’ve been with since mid-February (Brian Grasky), I’m feeling very confident going into this race. I’m not overly exhausted going into the event, have had positive thoughts, and have had played portions of the race in my head over and over again.
My goals for the race are to place top 5 (even though I’ll take 6th because it pays out to 6th). However, I know that goal is very dependant on who shows up. So I’ve got time goals in mind as well.
Swim – depending on the current in the Ohio River, the swim times could vary. I would be happy with anything from a 53 to 55 minute swim
Bike – I want to hold about 250 watts on the bike. This should put me around 4:50-4:55 bike split.
Run – break 3 hours on the marathon (anything less that a 6:50 pace).
With some wiggle room, if everything goes well, I’d like to be between 9 and 9:15 on race day.
Now with my two work days behind me for the week, I have nothing in the way of me and crossing that finishline, except 140.6 miles.
Cya at the starting line…