Finding strength within yourself

This past week, I continued to have major highs and major lows.

I definitely had some successes, like swimming the full 2.4 miles in a pretty good time.

I was really pleased with my 1-hour, 26-minute swim.

At Ironman Louisville, I’ll be swimming with a wetsuit, which adds buoyancy and should help my swim time pretty significantly.

That practice swim has me right on target for my race goal of 1 hour, 20 minutes.

I also completed a really tough track run workout with 1,000 meters intervals. I was able to keep each 1,000 at a 7:30 to 7:45 minutes-per-mile pace.

I have never been a girl who’s been close to running a mile in the seven-minute range, so that felt great.

But this past weekend, I struggled.

Saturday morning, I knew it was going to be a long weekend, because when I got up, I was tired.

I was angry; I was fed up with being awake before everyone else in the whole world.

I wanted to sleep and hang out with my family.

But, I was driving to Brownstown at 6:15 a.m. to start a 90-mile, hilly ride to Bedford and back with my friend Travis Fittro.

He has completed Ironman Louisville every year since it began, so he’s a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Travis is an excellent cyclist and is really fast, which makes me a bit intimidated by him.

However, he’s such a great guy and is always willing to share his knowledge about triathlons to help other athletes.

Anyway, this ride was a killer. It was so hilly. I think there were three different hills that I was riding that I just wanted to quit.

I thought to myself, “This is not fun. I don’t want to be here. It hurts and is hard, and I just want to walk.”

Somehow, I was able to get myself through the bike.

I’m not really sure how because I was not in a great spot mentally. When we finished the ride (it only ended up being 80 miles though because Travis crashed with some minor injuries), I went home and focused on getting some proper nutrition to fuel my body for my next two workouts.

Coach Greg (Reasoner) had me going home after my ride and relaxing.

Then around 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. that night, I had to run 10 miles.

First thing Sunday morning, I had to run another 10 miles.

I think this simulates a 20-mile run, but with some recovery in between so it’s not so hard on your body.

I cried three times Saturday evening, trying to muster up some energy and motivation to run. I called so many of my friends, looking for help.

I talked to my mom. I called my brother. But no one got me up and out the door.

This was a pivotal moment for me.

I realized that this is what it’s all about on race day.

It has to be me. No one else can motivate me to keep going.

It has to come from somewhere within me. I have to be the one to get myself on the road. I pulled myself off of the couch and got out there and ran.

It wasn’t fast, but it got done.

And on Sunday morning, I got up and out the door. Sunday’s run was even tougher. But each time, I kept saying to myself, “Just one foot in front of the other.”

I didn’t walk and I didn’t quit. I was really proud of myself for finishing.

I know this was a great mental race day simulation.

I know that I have what it takes to complete Ironman Louisville within me, I just have to dig deep and keep going — and praying.

I need to have the confidence in myself and all that I’ve been through this past year, to know that I’m strong enough to endure.

Stacey Parisi is a Seymour native and resident. Her columns appear regularly in The Tribune as she trains to compete in Ironman Louisville 2015. Send comments to [email protected].