I slipped off of the edge of the pool this morning with the sun still below the horizon.
Nobody at the swim complex, just an athlete new to the sport of triathlons getting in a final swim before his next attempt at mastering the multisport discipline, laying down a fast swim, a faster bike and of course a crushing run to close out the race.
1,000 Meters Free
2 X 100 Meters (under 2:00)
2 X 50 Meters (under :56)
2 X 25 Meters (under :24)
A short workout, approximately 1,000 Meters or so shorter than I would typically swim, but this close to race day all I really wanted to do is maintain my feel for the water, continue to program my brain and body for a consistent swim effort and work some soreness out of my muscles.
Interestingly as I was swimming my 40 lengths of the pool to open with 1,000 meters free-style my mind was not on Sunday’s 800 Meter Swim but on October’s 1.2 mile swim at the Austin Ironman 70.3.
I try very hard not to look ahead when I am preparing for an event. That is a lesson that Dom’s battle with cancer taught me in spades. Stay in the moment, take nothing for granted, cross the obstacle immediately in front of you and no other.
There will be plenty of time to worry about that next challenge when it is front and center. Getting too far in front of yourself is not good strategy, and as a competitor we are nothing if not strategic.
I decided during the interval portion of my workout to only swim that length of the pool and focus on my form and turnover. I then swam the next one. Then the next one.
By the time I finished my 100′s and started my two sets of 50′s I was back in the now.
It is amazing to me how quickly focus can be lost and how much concentration it takes to bring it back. At the start of every race I have competed in since standing on Main Street in Hopkinton, MA on April 19, 2010 for the 114th running of the Boston Marathon I have taken a moment to think about Dom.
Whether he was home in Dormont, PA with Val, Sierra and Nico – on the streets of downtown Pittsburgh, PA in May of that year waiting for me to run past in the Pittsburgh Marathon – in a hospital – or now tucked safely at the bottom of a rolling hill in the cemetery in Hopewell near his childhood home he has been my final thought before my first stride or stroke.
Sunday will be no different. Some days I feel tears welling in my eyes, others I feel a strength and determination that that particular day is our day. Our day to rise to the challenge and not cede a single second to the clock.
I have a feeling that on Sunday morning we will summon great strength from Dom and channnel it into a special performance – all the while remembering to stay in the moment, focus on the challenge immediately in our path – and crush it.
Thanks for the reminder Dom – if you have a chance on Sunday, I’d appreciate a little wind at my back on that final climb on the bike course, you take care of that for me and I’ll take care of everything else.
I miss you friend.