Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What would failure be?

I'm actually feeling pretty good, despite eating my entire body weight in Halloween candy the last few days.

Success for me at Ironman Florida is easy for me to define. Cross the finish line by midnight, and hopefully do it upright with a smile on my face.

What would failure be for me?

If I don't finish by midnight, I'll be disappointed not to get the medal, but I won't consider that a huge failure. I had a great year, and that can't possibly be a failure. Maybe I didn't train as much as I could have to prepare my body to handle the distance, or I didn't execute my race plan well on race day, or I had an accident or unexpected injury. Any of those can lead to DNFs, and there's no shame in that. It's a high-risk high-investment venture, and putting all the emphasis on one day leads to a certain concrete probability of non-completion.

For me, I would count an extended visit to the medical tent as a failure - that would mean that I pushed my body past its limits and put my health in jeopardy, and that's not a line that I wish to cross. I have two little fairy princesses at home that are counting on me to come home in fine shape. Those two are much higher priorities than any silly old race!!

The outcome is binary in one way - finish by midnight or don't. But there's a vast array of other possibilities in store for the actual day.

I guess it would be a failure to me if I didn't HAVE FUN. And if I failed to thank the volunteers and encourage the other triathletes along the way. I'd count that as a failure in spirit.

I'm just amazed that I'm actually looking forward to it. I was expecting to dread it. But now, it's just a really long swim in the Gulf, followed by a longer bike ride in the Florida sunshine - and hey, how about a run too?


21st Century Mom said...

You seem quite well trained to me. You are right that if you get injured, sick, have bike problems, etc. and can't finish there is no shame in that. You will have shown up, toed the line and gone for the medal.

I'm so excited for you. I think your experience at the Chesapeak Bay AquaMan or whatever it was called proves that you have done the training. You are so there.

Goooooooooooooooooo Nancy! We'll be cheering for you.

21st Century Mom said...

ps - none of those bad things are likely to happen. Just leave the candy corn at home and race like you trained!

Cliff said...


How can there be failure if you are already reach to this point?

All those early morning swim/bike/run. The stress of dealign with training and being a mom and all the little things that life throw at us.

Vickie said...

You couldn't possibly call your effort just to get to the start line of such an event a failure, regardless of what happened after that. And I just can't see you not having fun along the way (unless something unforeseen came up). It will be a thrill of a lifetime, and I'm hoping everything goes well for you out there that day. If the water is calm, you should have a fairly decent swim--remember the salt water will keep you buouyant, and the current can bring you in. The bike is fairly flat, and their will be so many spectators on the run it will keep you going. Good luck and best of luck!

Flo said...

It certainly has been an amazing year. Have a great time out there and I can't wait to hear all the gory details after.

Vickie said...

P.S. I can't help but get teary eyed every time I think of you guys out that that day! Wish I were there too!

Fe-lady said...

Wear your sunscreen and a smile!
I think you are trained enough to finish in well under 17 hrs.!

bunnygirl said...

You won't fail, Nancy! You've been doing endurance sports a long time and you know your body's needs and capabilities very, very well.

I'll be wishing you clear skies, smooth water and 100% gear/equipment reliability. Those are the only things you need to concern yourself with. Your body and mind are ready to cross that finish line!

Lynne said...

Coulda woulda shoulda --- YOU ARE DOING THIS!!! There is NO TRY!!

I am SOOOOO Psyched for you! I'll be watching for your number. Failure - HUH? How many 49 y.o., mother of 2 busy tots can say that they're doing an IRONMAN this Saturday???


Steven said...

Cliff is right! There is a very small percentage of the world's population that could even line up at the start with hopes of finishing an Ironman.

You done the hard part - the training. The race is now the fun part. Go enjoy it.