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Family time before Ironman Championship
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Autor: US today   
Nedjelja, 07 Studeni 2010 20:03

Editor's note: Triathlete Chris Lieto is documenting his preparations for the Oct. 9 Ford Ironman World Championship (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2.-mile run) in an exclusive online diary for USA TODAY. This is his third entry:


Tuesday, Oct. 5: With the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship only days away, the themes of the last few days have been rest and sharpening. Each day is different, with one day really easy, then a day with some fast short efforts and then a day off. The goal is to keep the body going, but make sure you get the necessary rest. Much of this time is also spent sharpening the mind and getting race-ready as I walk through the race in my head and visualize it unfolding the way I've been dreaming it will. It is very important to get the mind as fit as the body. This is not just something to do race week, but something I intentionally incorporate throughout the whole year to keep me motivated. Since I finished second last year, I've replayed the race over and over again in my head. Each time I visualize the race, it spurs me on to make sure that I am doing everything in my power to improve upon that finish.

These mental exercises have now become second nature. I've made a habit of thinking positively through each workout and giving myself rewards after key training sessions throughout the year. The rewards can range from words of encouragement to actual physical rewards. I find it important to make each workout session fun and enjoyable, always taking away the good as well as finding areas for improvement. It's rewarding for me to identify certain quantifiable aspects of my events, for example power output on the bike, or stride length on my run, which I can compare to years' past and see improvement. These small victories keep me excited and I am looking forward to how these changes materialize in my next race performance.
The biggest source of inspiration for me now is having my family with me here in Kona. My wife Karis has been my biggest supporter along this journey and my two kids, Kaiden and Kayah, truly inspire me to compete and follow through on my goals. Though racing is my passion, they are what's most important to me and through my dedication to training and competing I hope to live a life that is an example to them. I want them to look at what I do on a daily basis and get inspired by hopefully seeing the passion, health and balance it can give you. I want to teach them through example to never give up on their passions and goals in life, but at the same time to do that with love and balance. I may fall short at times, as no one is perfect, but I hope that through it all I communicate to them what it looks like to persevere whole-heartedly. This year, racing for a cause beyond the race accolades has added a whole new dimension to my sport for me. Being out there competing for children in need and those that are supporting those children is going to be an experience that will help me push through the pain and the difficult times while out on the course. My family sponsors three children in Kenya and just a couple weeks ago I received a conch from one of the children we sponsor. It is used as a water jug that this 6-year-old boy uses, walking miles each day to fill it up. Receiving this gift made child sponsorship come alive to me, and reminded me what an amazing opportunity it is to change the life of a child living in poverty. As I write this, I've been placing decals of the names of those children on my Trek bike and helmet to remind me when I am out there hurting of the lives I'm impacting.
I have raced here in Kona since 1998 and have seen many different conditions from 60-plus mph winds blowing people right off their bikes, and temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. Every year it can turn out to be anything or even everything in the same day, so you have to be ready for the worst of it all. I am prepared for whatever the day may bring. The work is done, the equipment is dialed in, and now I just have to go out and do my job. I will race my heart out and race for the win. I plan to put everything out there and risk it all. My training and fitness has improved from last year, and I have learned a lot from previous mistakes. I believe I am ready for the challenge. I will spend the last couple days relaxing and really trying to get myself in a place of peace and contentment surrounding myself with my family and closest friends. I feel that I have done everything right with all of the help from my support crew and now it is my turn to put it all into play. My prayer is that I will have the opportunity and the strength physically as well as mentally to have the race of my life.
Thank you to everyone that has sent me prayers and well wishes for the race. Be sure to follow my progress on race day (Saturday, October 9th) on I will be thinking of you all and your support while I am out there for 8 hours finishing the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and the 26.2-mile run.
See you at the finish line,

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