Last Saturday marked four weeks to my biggest race of the season: Ironman Wisconsin 70.3. 

If you are a longtime reader you know that I strive for authenticity and transparency. Although I often write about things that I have already processed, sometimes I think it is helpful to share the rawness of what I am going through in real time. So, I thought I would give you a glimpse into my athlete brain for the four weeks leading up to the opportunity to realize my goal. 

What exactly is my goal for my 22nd half ironman? When I originally signed up for this hometown race I set my sites on breaking the 5-hour barrier for the first time. And then… over time I honestly opened my eyes to the reality that this was going to be my busiest summer of my life, with lots of energy put into travel. And, a lot of travel means a lot of time away from my bike. I wanted to be able to still enjoy the amazing experiences afforded to me, and also wanted to enjoy all of the opportunities I got to train. So, I back burnered that specific time goal (for now).

My goal is to string together swim, bike, run efforts that reflect my training consistency and race day capabilities. To fully show up to all that I have that day. 

Now, this is honestly always my goal, and so it may sound like a cop-out. But, if you have been racing for awhile, or conquering other physical goals, you know how hard this is. It means honoring my training and taking care of my body—personally, in WI summer this does not mean being rigid, but it does involve getting back on the wagon often. For all of us, fully showing up on race daymeans making a million micro decisions on whether or not to honor your body’s strong desire to try to find comfort, or to keep (safely) pushing your limits. It is smiling and gritting your teeth. It is not allowing yourself to become a victim of the weather, the course, or the other athletes. It is staying focused, constantly zooming out to take in the energy and encouragement of the crowd, and zooming back in to check on your body’s needs and evaluate your effort.

It means remembering, and honoring, WHY you showed up in the first place. 

At four weeks out from a half Ironman the training volume is heavy. The long efforts are long. The intensity also increases, and it starts to feel like every workout is hard. You have to focus heavily on supporting your training with good sleep, hydration, nutrition, and emotional awareness. 

And, this is the time that I personally make sure I fully understand why I made this goal in the first place. Understanding this why helps me keep honoring my training plan and the needs of my body through the last couple weeks of hard training, and into the taper. And then I use it as a tool on race day. 

My why: I chose this specific local race, after a four year hiatus, to do a hard thing with the support, love, and encouragement of my team and local friends. And, I hope to give back by being an example of fully showing up, no matter what.

This honors my life why: continuing to challenge myself in order to keep learning more about who I am, and how I can authentically show up in the world to honor myself and love others. 

On race day, I will filter all of the micro decisions through my specific why for this race, and also my life why. I will listen to my thoughts—and challenge, honor, or replace them as needed. And I will race with gratitude for the opportunity to do what I choose to do, not victimized by anything. 

A hard thing hurts a bit. But, it will be worth it. 

I encourage you to establish whys for your goals. Do so with a curious connection to yourself. It just might be the start of getting to just be you. 😉 

Need some resources to help you get started on knowing why? See below for some articles and posts that may help. And, you can look forward to my book coming soon— it is finally being printed!