Happy Monday, everyone!
Hope your weekends were fun and relaxing. I actually had 2 days this weekend to recover and NOT have any training! What?! I know...foreign concept to those of you out there who have or are training for a race of any kind.
Well, in my case, I used one of my precious few vacation days on Friday to get my crazy triple training day in so I could actually enjoy a weekend for once and not worry about training! I'm very, very glad I did it that way, too. As you all probably gather from my recent posts, I was more than just a little bit scared to death of this workout! So the quicker I could get it done, the better.
So Friday, I woke up at 4:30am and headed to the pool. My gym opens at 5am and I was in the water by about 5:05. I had to get an hour in, so I had a workout planned that would get me there. I ended up doing 4,200 yards in that hour which I was very pleased with. I honestly had no idea how many yards a 2.4 mile swim equated to, so I Googled it and it told me 4,224 yards. So for all intents and purposes, I swam the Ironman distance in 1:00:07. Now, the question is, how fast will I actually swim it in open water?! Who knows. But at least I have a general idea!
I raced out of the gym to get back home in time for Rob to catch the bus to work. I had a banana and some peanut butter crackers and rested for a few minutes while Julia still slept. Then I went to work getting everything ready for the rest of my day. I had prepared most of my nutrition the night before and had all my clothes ready to go as well. Here's a snapshot of most of the food I brought with me.
A smorgasbord of stuff, right? I hate Gu and all things gels, but thankfully have discovered that there are alternatives that work well for me. So I had multiple packs of Gu Chomps, Energy Blasts and cherry Sport Beans as well as a peanut butter and honey sandwich, crackers, salt tabs, and 2 Luna bars. I also had 2 bottles of Gatorade and 4 bottles of water.
After Sparty, all the nutrition, drinks and my running clothes were loaded in the car, I changed into my bike gear and woke Julia up to get her to school. I got a bagel on my way to the park as well to get some extra fuel.
I decided to do 3 loops around Lake Sammamish which is about 22 miles for each lap- some challenging hills but also some fun downhills. Things were fairly uneventful during the first 66 miles except for getting bored! It's tough being out there with no music and no one to talk to and only having the chorus to a few random songs stuck in my head. I really think the mental challenge with this was 10x worse than the physical! I did a good job of eating often, drinking pretty much all 3 bottles that I had and controlling my heart rate which was key.
I stopped at my car after 66 miles to regroup, let Rob know I was safe and get my second round of drinks and nutrition. It was getting warm at this point but luckily there was a bit of a breeze.
I chose to do the last 34 miles along a more flat path that is an out and back. It actually proved to be more challenging to me because I really didn't have much "coasting" time like I do on the downhills. And I was really tired of being on the bike by this point!
But I made it back to my car with no flats, no running into small animals, no issues at all and was so happy to have made it - my furthest bike ride ever!
I sat in my car in the AC for a few minutes to try and cool down - at this point it was 3:30pm and 91 degrees outside. Yowch. I was facing a 10 mile run and was scared out of my mind. I changed into my running gear, reset my Garmin and headed out after having to really psyche myself up.
I decided to test out a different route than what I had planned, hoping it would be more shaded than my original route- which had zero shade. It turned out to be a dirt path (not ideal for me) that luckily was shaded about 75% of the time which was awesome. I don't know if I could have made it through had I been in the scorching sun.
I took a hand held water bottle with me to test it out. Since I switched the route last minute, I didn't have any water placed at the half way point or anything so I just winged it (wung it?).
My legs actually felt fine as I got through the first few miles. I did alternate running/walking quite a bit though because the heat was bothering me and I felt really tired at times. But I just kept setting landmarks or checking my watch and telling myself to either run to the next fence post, or run the next .5 miles and then walk. When I was actually running, I was still going at a decent pace, but I just couldn't keep it up for very long.
I ran out of water at about mile 6 so the rest of the run was a challenge for sure - I had to just will myself to the end and just break the mileage down into small pieces. That seemed to help me, as I was able to say "ok, just 3.5 miles to go...just 2.75 miles, etc). Made it seem a little less daunting to me and I think I can utilize this strategy during Ironman too.
I thankfully got back to my car and finished in about 1:34 (my Garmin died at mile 9!). Not great, but not that bad considering how much I was walking.
BUT I DID IT!!!
As I reflected on my 112.4 mile day, here are my take-aways:
1) I have confidence now that I can definitely finish Ironman!
2) I would only have 12 more miles on the bike and 16 miles on the run to complete the full Ironman - wow!
3) If I can come anywhere close to the times that I completed during this training session, adding in transitions, I would still have about 8 1/2 hours to complete those last 28 miles before the 17 hour cut off! I can do that!
4) My bike is no longer my arch enemy
5) My running and swimming have really improved tremendously during the last 32 weeks
6) I am really proud of myself for getting this far in my training and accomplishing this goal!
This week brings a bit of a "cut back" week for me, which I'm very thankful for! Rob is going to be out of town starting Thursday too so I'll need to navigate through my training, work schedule and Julia to fit everything in but I'll make it work. I may have to tackle 60 miles on my bike trainer though...not ideal but again - I need to do whatever I can!
Thank you again to all of you who were so encouraging and helped me get through this! Your kind words are truly inspiring to me and I appreciate it so much - it's what keeps me going and enduring to the end.
69 more days!