I know it's an Ironman year because I spend 6 days a week training.
I know it's an Ironman year because people are avoiding conversations with me, knowing full well its always going to come back around to, well, Ironman.
I know it's an Ironman year because my bike toys are piling up already and its only January.
I know it's an Ironman year because I am graduating with my PhD and the ceremony is in June and the first thing I think is its going to interfere with my taper.
I know it's an Ironman year because I smell Garlic all the time, emanating from my skin, my breath, heck, even my hair.
I just completed the first full week of training. Its not momentous, seeing as it was only the first week and I planned it to be purposefully uneventful. If I can make it consistent that's the best result possible. And consistent it was. I did not escape unscathed, however. My neck is hurting (I DID crack the "Ironman is a pain in the neck" line this evening, to which I received a chorus of BOOO!) because I seem to have strained some obscure little muscle with a very strange name that sounds more like it should connect my eyelid to my scalp, and yet is debilitating. For that there is hydrocodone...
The first week is behind and I made progress. Not as difficult as I expected, but we did not bite off too much hard stuff, either. I feel as though I am in better shape, as well... which might be because I have raced much more before in the last two years than I did before Ironman 2007. I am entering this year well prepared, mentally. I am now familiar with the requirements. All of the above.
Always in my head I have this number... and its not random, there are reasons for it. I finished Ironman 2007 in 12 hours 44 minutes, and felt ridiculously happy at the end, and remarkably healthy. This time its a different beast, a very very very scary proposition.