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October 10, 2015

mikesullyMike Sullivan, M.A., LMHC
Family & Alumni Services Director

The air in Kona is electrified!  It is World Championship Ironman race week and the world’s most elite athletes are pouring into town. The streets are packed with sinewy triathletes clad in neon triathlon suits acclimating to Kona humidity and sweltering temperatures.  They pedal machines that cost more than some cars, and can be seen hopping off their bicycles and transitioning into running at lightning speed.  One can feel the intensity in the air.  I can feel it in my blood- as I will be on the starting line with 2,500 other athletes and thousands of spectators from around the world.

The mental and physical preparation I started ten months ago are in high gear.  I have been appropriately “tapering” my physical workouts to allow my muscles to rest and rehabilitate, maximizing their performance for race day.  Mentally, I am feeling confident and excitment.  That being said, I am also hyper aware that I am walking into an unknown territory, and tread lightly with humility.  Despite the significant training I have completed, none of it has tested my psyche to a degree that the actual 140.6 mile race will.  What will my body feel like during a marathon, after completing a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride?  What justifications will my mind conjure, convincing myself of the reasons to give up and not finish?  Interestingly, the body is adapted to do remarkable things to evade danger and promote survival, however, we are not adapted to put ourselves through such strain with no threat to our existence.  The mind will strive to take over and preserve the body by convincing oneself to stop.  One must overcome the body’s natural instinct to preserve energy, and push through to new extremes.

The Kona Ironman will be an exploration into my personal depths.  My training has reinforced and entrenched important qualities, including tenacity, self discipline, and commitment.  I am sure that the race itself will deliver other valuable lessons in the areas of vulnerability, resilience, and trusting in oneself.  I feel lucky to have the support of my family, friends, and my ohana at Pacific Quest.  Because this race absolutely implores people to dig as deep into themselves as possible, it is critical to be surrounded by such love and optimism.   I am eternally grateful.

Please follow me on race day! The official Ironman website has a live “Athlete Tracker” that is automatically updated online.  Follow links from the Ironman Homepage and use my name or bib number 1738 to get a live feed of the race:  http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/world-championship.aspx#axzz3nkqq0oag

I look forward to publishing another blog article following the race.  Stay tuned to hear about it first hand!

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