It's now T-minus 9 or 10 days to Ironman New Zealand, depending on your day counting methodology (any other litigators out there know that day counting methodology is not an insignificant question) which means my training volume is gradually decreasing and the taper crazies are increasing.
Some people like tapering. I am not one of those people. Maybe it's the decreased endorphins from less working out, the additional free time, increasing nervousness about the race, or just the physiological changes that come from shedding fatigue, but tapering makes me feel lazy, sluggish, fat, and more than a bit cranky. I find that even though my workouts are a little shorter, I'm less motivated to do them. Nor am I terribly motivated to do much else. I know, wah, wah, wah. Poor unemployed-by-choice, vacationing-in-paradise, winter-dodging baby. I know.
But I also know this taper stuff is a necessary evil and it'll get better and I always feel this way before big races, so I'm just trying to ride the wave and maintain perspective. I've been reminded by multiple people this week of the importance of keeping everything in perspective. I shouldn't need the reminders, but they help, and I will say, as much as I have loved my big traveling adventures (especially the time I've spent in New Zealand. I've said it before and I'll say it again-- this is a special place), I'll confess that at this point, my perspectives are a little off-kilter. I know that a lot of people are able to handle the anxiety of big races and what not by reminding themselves that in the grand scheme of things, triathlon's really not that big a deal. Something like: even if this race doesn't go great, I'm still a great [girlfriend, wife, parent, lawyer, [insert other occupation here], pet-owner, etc., etc., etc.]. Due to the own choices I've made, I don't have a whole lot (any) of those descriptors to insert at this point, and triathlon takes on a little bit more importance in my life and self-identity than I feel is appropriate. Frankly, as much as I'm enjoying the sun and the lack of responsibility, I'll be happy to eventually get home and start filling in my own non-triathlon-oriented descriptors again.
But not too soon. I've still got some time here in paradise and things to see. Today was a good perspective day. I headed out to Devonport, a small, seaside village not much more than 20 minutes from where I'm staying. I'm not sure why I haven't visited Devonport before, but I should have, as it's absolutely charming. After a morning of workouts and pre-race worry, it was so nice to just sit in a cafe with a soy flat white (my New Zealand coffee concoction of choice), overlooking the harbor and people watching, and ridding my mind of all things triathlon. Then, I headed to the top of Mt. Victoria, where I was treated to these views of Auckland:
The sun was out, the wind was blowing but in a nice way, and I laid on my back on the grass for almost an hour and just stared at the clouds and the views. As cheesy as it sounds, for that hour, I was a bit overwhelmed with the feelings of just how lucky I am. It's summer and sunny, I've had the means and the support to be here experiencing this country, I'm healthy, fit, and physically able to be ready to do an Ironman next week (knowing three people who had major bike crashes in the past few days, I do not, at all, take that for granted and my heart goes out to them), and when I head back to the U.S., I'll still have family, friends, and (eventually) a home that make me happy. It's a good life. Taper crazies be damned.