What a weird week.
It feels like twenty-six years has passed since last Tuesday. Where do I begin? I will first share that finally, finally, it is race week for Ironman Boulder. It may come as no surprise that this is the most anticipated Ironman, (actually most anticipated race), that I have ever prepared for, which is why the last few days have been both glaringly upsetting and fantastically fitting.
I first felt a tingle of a cough last Saturday and by Sunday afternoon was self-medicating with every homeopathic version of expectorant I could find to rid myself of a lurking discomfort. Nothing worked. By Wednesday I was in full denial. Then my sister Sarah called, and the façade started to unravel.
“Uh-oh, are you sick?” She asked because my voice was congested.
“Yes, but not really.” I replied attempting to sound upbeat.
Honestly, I didn’t feel sick. My throat wasn’t sore, and my body felt fantastic, but once the cough snuck lower into my lungs and started affecting my breathing, (a feeling I couldn’t ignore during a trainer workout), I knew the jig was up. Iwas sick.
There was some back and forth with progress and regression between Thursday and Saturday, until a run on Sunday morning left me sucking air and feeling flat. I needed to see a Dr. Thankfully, our neighborhood Urgent Care is open seven days a week, and the Dr. on duty was not the same tool who saw me months earlier, but an older gentleman who was as fired up as I was to get me back on track to wellness. He loaded me up on all kinds of meds that I am happy to report are working. I still have some slight wheezing in my airwaves, but every breath pushes them closer to clarity.
Nevertheless, I think it is fair to acknowledge that this hiccup in my health has been upsetting. All last week I couldn't help but feel that the timing of it was cruel and confusing. I wracked my brain trying to figure out where this cough came from? Was it an overload of stress from months of physical and emotional pressure I have put on myself preparing for this race? Was I simply rundown? Did I just get bombarded with all of the extra pollen in the air this year? I don’t know. What I finally accepted on Sunday night was that everything happens for a reason, and that maybe having this forced rest is really what I need to be in the most primed shape possible for the race on Sunday.
I do know there is no way I would have chosen to slow down on my own, but I believe we need to listen to our bodies, and mine was telling me to chill out. Also, I think once I let go of that control, (taking some attention away from the race, and my overall triathlon obsession), allowed me space to let in a few other priorities, like my passion for movies and music.
I had a plenty of time on my hands last Thursday due to an assigned rest day from my coach, so I went to see Book Smart, a new coming of age film directed by Olivia Wilde. It was a huge hit at South by Southwest, and it did not disappoint. The script, acting, directing, soundtrack, all of it was fantastic. Also, the timing was perfect, because watching that movie reminded me that there is much more to my life than triathlon.
I love triathlon, and will always be an athlete, but I am equally, if not more so a creative person, and after six months of making mini-movies for social media, I am excited and confident to explore that side of myself too. More on that later...
Therefore, this has been the oddest and most enlightening taper I have ever experienced. I suppose it is fitting considering I put a big bounty on this race months ago saying that I was gunning for my pro card, and I still am, (even if my lungs are not 100% by Sunday), but whether I reach it or not, (place in the top 3 overall Amateur women), I know I will have the time of my life all day, and that life will go on beyond the finish line. Again, more on that later….
In the meantime, following are some helpful tips for following along Ironman Boulder this Sunday.
The best way to track the race is to download the Ironman tracker app to your phone, and plug in the following names and/or bib numbers of yours truly, and my friends and teammates to cheer for ALL day:
Taryn Spates #141
Cortney Haile #218
Ashley Wilkinson #323
Sarah Peltier #222
Pam Batungbacal #705
Alysha Krall #131
Also, the race will be streaming on the Ironman page on Facebook all day.
Naturally, I will be documenting my weekend all over social media from Friday through Monday, so please follow along on Instagram @tpspates and Taryn Spates Facebook.
My blog post next Tuesday may be late, because I fly home Monday night; however I will aim to write and post it as soon as possible.
Finally, thank you. There is no doubt about it, this is an important weekend for me, and I want to thank all of you for the tremendous support you have given me these last few months since I shared my goal to go for my pro card, and for the many years before that supporting whatever goal I set my heart and mind to. I appreciate all of you more than I could ever say.
On that note, the song choice this week is right on the nose, “Don’t Give Up On Me” by Andy Grammar, from the Five Feet Apart soundtrack. The video is basically a trailer of the movie, but the song is fantastic.