I sit here in my room, less than 12 hours out from toeing the line for my second Ironman. My first one was 10 months ago and that race changed me. I loved it so much that when I finished I was immediately thinking about how I would enter another one. I wanted to do Arizona, St. George and CDA. I wanted to do one every month. I had M-dots behind my lids when I slept at night.
So, here I am, 10 months later, 12 hours out from Ironman #2.
Troy and I were talking about expectations today. We were discussing the difference between expectations, and hopes. I think of expectations as what you rationally know that you can accomplish. Expectations are RATIONAL (at least by your own standards). They are the outcomes that you think will happen if you put in the hard work. Now, hopes, well they are still expectations, but with an edge. Hopes can cross the line over rational, but they make you question where the line is. Hopes are expectations that might possibly need a little magic to make happen. They are the outcomes you are afraid to mutter out loud. In most cases they require some luck, and sometimes, they need a truck full of luck.
Do I have expectations for tomorrow? Yes, I have plenty. I have heart rate zones to hit, I have perceived exertion expectations. I have run paces I would like to see. I have a nutrition plan, I have expectations of my trusty steed and other equipment. I have swim pace goals. Oh yes. We all do. All 2800 of us starting the race have expectations.
Do I have hopes? Yes, friends, I do. I have hopes. I have hopes that may or may not happen. I might meet all of my expectations, and none of my hopes. But you have to have hopes. You have to throw passion, love, respect, and grit at this sport. If it was easy, this race wouldn't sell out in 30 minutes. Some people are "hoping" to finish tomorrow. And I'll be sitting in the stands at 11:30pm watching to see if they do. Some people are hoping to win the race. And if I see them tomorrow, that will mean that they have not.
So, on this night before, I think the only thing I can wish for myself is that I have my expectations and my hopes figured out, that I have the two separated, and that I understand the difference between what I can effect and what is rational, and what I hope will happen.
To all of you that will be out there with me tomorrow, may the chop be small, the wind be still and the aid stations plentiful for you. To those of you watching my twitter feed, or watching Ironman.com, I thank you and I will run/ride/swim a mile or two for you.
Goodnight from Coeur d'Alene