Iron Resolve

It was shocking to see/feel my mental resolve fizz away so suddenly. I had experienced lapses in resolve before but never as large as this time, half way through the marathon of Ironman WA.
In the past, my resolve has weakened at the “wall” of a marathon, where my body just seems to get really tired. But here there is definitely more physicality involved where my body is getting to that point where between shifting from the previous way of burning energy and the next.
At Ironman NZ 2005, I hit that point with about 3-4k left in the run, but bust through it knowing that my friends were waiting at the finish line for me and would bust my butt if they knew I was walking to the finish. At Ironman Austria 2006, I was too busy dealing with cramping leg muscles to worry about disappearing mental resolve. Likewise, at Ironman Brazil 2007, my poplitius muscle being really sore made me walk through much of the run until I initiated the Ironman shuffle. But I didn’t feel a lowering of my resolve, perhaps because I was distracted by pains?
This year at Ironman WA 2007, it was really miserable. I got to 20k in the run (about half way) and my mental resolve just disappeared. Poof. Vanished. It was a shocking moment. I could not run at all. I would just run a bit and then resort to walking. And it was definitely mental. My legs were OK, except for some cramping in the right hamstring which seemed to go away later. Every time I did actually run, my pace was quite good, so it couldn’t be a physical thing.
I think it was a combination of factors.
My coach M2 thought it might be because of the long season, and this being my second Ironman of the year. Also, it was on the heels of another key race for me, the NYC Marathon. And not to mention all the other smaller races between IM Brazil and IM WA. These all could have sapped my ability to maintain focus.
I also think it was the bike leg during IM WA. I had to focus so much on maintaining constant wattage output with virtually no breaks that by the time I reached the run, my mental endurance was already lowered greatly.
This being my longest race season to date, and a full one too, I am somewhat not surprised to find such an issue popping up towards the end of the season. I am hoping as I race more, I will get tougher mentally as I encounter problems like these for the first time, and then I will be better forewarned and armed next time around.
Maintaining iron resolve through an Ironman is super tough and I look to train my mind smartly in 2008. I hope to train well physically to remove those barriers where my mind needs to deal with declining physical resources, and then my mind can focus on maintaining physical output through the entire race, especially when I hit the run.