The Struggle is real. Preparation for an Ironman or any big sports event is hard. Let nobody tell you anything else, they are lying to you! Always.
Why is it so hard?
This time it was an additional challenge to prepare for such a big event over the winter. The Ironman New Zealand in Taupo took place at 7th March 2020. Late summer in New Zealand still considered winter in Germany. So most of the preparation I did indoors on the trainer or running in the cold empty woods. Don’t get me wrong here. I love my empty woods! Still after a while it gets to you.
Winter is not fun in general, no big news for any one. It is dark most of the time. The weather is disgusting most of the time. You leave for work in the dark and come home, of course in the dark. Keeping yourself motivated in these times of the year is the worst. After a hard day in the office (this means work) you should best do some cycling, indoors of course. Or get out there in the woods running another 10 to 15 km, in the dark. Hooray! It is hard not to mentally crack and just let it all go. You can see it as a mental preparation for the long day ahead.
During the preparation it helped a lot to join my club mates often in a run session. Not only does it feel easier to run the same distance in a group – it feels like sharing the pain and the suffering. It distracts you. You can chat a little with people not just the squirrels jumping in the woods. All of this distracts you from the big task at hand. And oh boy you need a lot of this!
Why do you do it?
In the end you are doing it for fun not for money or any kind of prestige. No obligations. You are doing it for yourself. You do it because you can! Also you do it because it is important to you. More than anybody else. Why you ask? It is hard to describe. It is like a midterm goal in life. Like another step in your professional career. It does not come to you over night and needs a lot of hard work and dedication. Like most of good things in life. When you give up on it you will never reach it.
Same goes with this finish line in your head. You see it in front of your eyes every time you hop onto that trainer or put on that running shoes. This is what keeps you going. After long stressful days at work. Cold weather outside. Or other obstacles daily life tries to throw at you.
You keep on moving and keep on fighting the struggle.