During 14 hours of extreme physical endurance and torture, what do you think about? Your bed? Your mum? Your partner? Your childhood? As you herd your body through treacherous and uncharted regions on the way to your goal, your mind is likely to take unpredictable paths. In the heat of this battle, your entire life may pass before your eyes, but wandering thoughts are likely to head in one direction – toward cold, hard statistics. Numbers, measurements, calculations and ratios.
The devil may be in the details but survival will be in the statistics. How long until the next marker, when will I reach the next stage, how soon should I hydrate, what rate must I sustain to make my legs last a little longer?
A 4km swim, 180km bike and 40km run is taking a big bite of life. To make it digestible, it will have to be chewed carefully, incrementally, piece by piece. This is a huge meal and we don’t want to choke. Our mantra will be self-assurance, our enemy is doubt. But beyond the gauntlet we run (swim and bike) between the two forces, we will have to fight boredom.
Now we’re doing the big crossword puzzle, the mental Sudoku, filling it in square by square with our calculations and numbers. Just past that buoy, around that turn, over the top of that hill, and another, another, one more…
In the end, all questions will be answered, the riddles solved and columns tallied. Whatever number remains will be secondary to the monument each athlete has constructed just by making it to the starting line. And through that long day, as they parse their progress to keep their minds active, we will be thinking of them. Hour by hour and minute by minute by minute, we will wish them success.
But for today, the number we think of is “3”. Three weeks until race day. Maridee, athletes, stay focused. We’re with you.