What was I thinking?

Countdown to #IronMan70.3… 2 more days.

Usually, training days go by and I am just checking off one session after the other, oblivious to what I am actually working towards.

When I started this journey in April 2016, I had no idea what it would take, but heck… it sounded like something cool to do. The checklist in my head went like this:

  1. Learn to ride bike: Check
  2. Learn to swim: Check
  3. Start running again: Check
  4. Done!

Except, riding a bike wasn’t exactly the same as cycling long distances, properly, with the right nutrition and hydration and plan. Swimming wasn’t just floating and moving your arms… there was a lot more to it. And running, well when you’ve been out of practice for so long, its not as easy as you remember it to be.

Add to that a broken ankle/ torn ligament after falling off a mountain in October and anyone in their right mind would tell me ‘really? why would you do that now?’

But, I’m a stubborn girl and I like a challenge. As long as there is no damage in the process, then I’m going to give it a shot. So, I got in touch with IronMan management, told them I won’t be racing in Bahrain on December 10th but I would like to move my registration to Dubai for January 27th.

Email sent.

Confirmation received.

Still in cast.

Now what?

Eventually, the cast came off at the end of November and I did my physiotherapy sessions and got the OK to train (no high intensity interval training, though), with caution, as of December 16th. December 17th, I was out for my first easy jog (30 mins) and indoor bike ride (45 mins). December 23rd I was back on the bike but I couldn’t use cycling shoes because my ankle couldn’t twist to get them off, but it was ok. At least I was moving my legs in the right direction.

Fast forward… January 3rd, I did my first 90km ride…very slowly. Seemed pretty straight forward and I kept ticking the training boxes. Sometimes doing a little more than I was supposed to just to prove to myself that I can.

Then it hit me.

January 23rd, 2017. Driving to the cycling track. 4 days away from the race. I turned on my ‘motivational’ play list and Hall of Fame, The Script came on. This song has been with me since I started in April and has been my go-to song when I want to feel pumped. Today, though, it was a reminder of how close the race is. How, technically, little training I have had (a month and one day). That my leg isn’t 100% just yet and the race is 4 days away. Like a little child, tears started rolling down my face and they just wouldn’t stop. I was scared.

Scared of failing myself.

Scared of the wind and how tough the ride would be.

Scared of letting down my family and friends who have supported and encouraged me this last month when I wasn’t around as much as I should be.

Scared of pushing myself too hard just to prove to myself that I can do it, only to re-injure my leg.

Scared of the clock.

Scared of the waves in the sea.

Just pretty much, nervous. So, I changed the song to remind myself of what I was feeling before the nerves kicked in.

I hadn’t allowed myself to think of it or come to terms with it all. I had spent so much time reading, training, watching video’s of swim techniques and race briefings from old IronMan70.3 races. I had looked at the race course over and over and calculated the time it will take me to make sure I make the cut-off time of 8 hours. For the record, I am not looking to make a great time or break any records… 7 hours and 59 minutes is perfectly fine for me.

That ride in the car made me ask myself, “What was I thinking? Why would I do this to myself? What difference would it have made if I had waited until next year, gotten better, trained better and been a little more confident? Nothing!” But, here I am. 2 days away from the race, the briefing is tonight and I am writing this blog entry. I can either not turn up, or just go along with it and see what happens. So I will just go along with it and see what happens :)

Why did I do this? Because I can.

And there’s a big chance I’ll be singing this song in my head every time I get tired through out the course or feel like quitting and giving up. Hopefully, that won’t happen, of course!

In a couple of days, I’ll be in a new zone. Not sure what that zone is and looking forward to it being the zone of an IM70.3 finisher but that is when I start proper training. This upcoming #Dubai race is a training course for Barcelona in May 2017 where I have signed up for another 70.3 hoping that I will have enough time to train and heal properly to have a ‘real’ race.

I’m excited to move on from Friday and get into a long term training plan. I feel like this has all been rushed to beat the clock of injury.

Until then, fingers crossed, I’m about to go pick up my bike from the race check, register and pick up my race pack and hopefully relax a little.

Like what you read? Give Helen Al Uzaizi a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.