I can hear it over and over in my mind: “Stacey Parisi, you are an Ironman!”
My brain is starting to repeat this line.
When I think about it, it’s a mixture of extreme excitement and sheer panic. There are so many things to be excited about, like actually seeing the starting point of the swim.
What am I actually going to feel as I’m waiting in line for the swim to start? Am I going to be cool and calm? Or totally panicky and nervous about swimming in that giant river?
I’m eager to see all of the racing areas set up loaded with the Ironman logo and going to the athlete dinner with all of the other athletes that are racing. I can’t wait to see all of my family and friends out there supporting me the whole day and hugging me as I cross the finish line.
But with as much excitement that I have, there is also nervousness.
There are so many things to remember to bring with me — all of my race day nutrition, clothing, accessories (ex. Garmin watch, racing belt, etc), and equipment. I have already begun a list with the three sports and a list of items for each category.
During the race, we have to have our items in certain bags that are stored in the transition area. It is so important that I have all of my things in those bags. I can’t imagine riding a bike for 6 to 7 hours without my sunglasses or going out for a 26-plus-mile run without my visor and racing belt.
Or what if I forget my cycling shoes or helmet? I can’t race without those.
When I actually really start thinking about my day, I panic.
Going 140.6 miles? Really? Can my body do that?
In my mind though, I’ve worked through this race a million times. I’ve pictured myself jumping in the swim start. Swimming long and strong.
Coming in from the swim, changing into my cycling clothes, and hopping on my bike. Easily riding up all of those hills and nailing my nutrition.
Finishing the bike and grabbing all of my running gear to head out for a 26-mile run.
I know that it’s going to be hard; and at some point, I’m going to want to quit. I’m sure that my whole body will be in pain and telling me to just stop, but I picture myself just continually moving forward.
My body may question if it’s all possible, but my mind says that I can do this — and I will.
I will hear those famous words as I cross the finish line.
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].