Thursday, November 14, 2013

Are we there yet?

16 days is standing between me and the official start time of IM Cozumel. This will be my only 2nd full ironman but unlike before the first one, I am not wishing I had more time to train, I am wishing the race would be tomorrow.

For one reason or another, I feel ready, READY to go. It may be because I have never trained this late into the year, it may be because the weather outside is chilly and this is the season to put on some fat so I can actually live through the winter without shivering 24/7 (Ya right who am I kidding), maybe because every Facebook, twitter post or blog is about off-season, and everyone seems to be posting pics of delicious food that makes me even more hungry than I already always am, or maybe because there is nothing glorious about sitting on the trainer for 5+ hours at a time sweating away with no signs of air flow in sight.  Yup that’s right – no fan to at least somewhat simulate the heat/humidity of Cozumel which means enormous amounts of sweat for this girl. 

If you look closely, you can see that 20 min into the ride I am already drenched

 The messy pile post one of my weekend rides

I even tried to prevent sweat from dripping into my shoes because turning the pedals around while my feet are soaking in a tub of cold sweat just doesn’t add much to my excitement about these trainer rides. It didn’t quite work, but it was worth a try.

 Although it didn't work I at least looked awesome! ;) 

I know, I know – I think I need some cheese with that wine! I wonder if I could find cheese that actually matches this 4 in 1 bottle of wine J

Try to then put on layers of clothes for that transition run that as weeks go by is becoming longer and longer, while that bike ride is not becoming any shorter and daylight is disappearing faster than I can type.  I love to train, I love to sweat, but I am ready to race.

This past weekend, I finally had it. I had made it 3 hours and 30 minutes into my 5:30 ride, and reached the breaking point. I was mentally done, and all I wanted to do was to just get off that bike and quite possibly never get back on it again. My legs felt ok (not great), and although I was determined to actually pace this ride out well (and I was right where I was supposed to be), it wasn’t good enough for me. I was for the first time in a long time not able to build my power hour by hour, rather I was struggling to keep it from plummeting. I tried to disconnect myself from the numbers and just pedal (not think, just do) but more than anything I wanted to get off that bike. I was hot and I was cold, I wanted to scream and I wanted to cry, I thought I wasn’t good enough and maybe I shouldn’t even race in Cozumel, I wanted to quit all things ironman. I thought about all those peeps out there that routinely ride 5+ hours indoors and never complain about it. They surely must be stronger than me, and who the heck do I think I am trying to even think I can win an Ironman if I can’t even stay on the bike for 3 hours without “crying”.  I issued a warning for those in my surroundings – please stay away before I say something that I will regret!

What did you eat/drink on a Saturday afternoon? Mmmmm - potatoes! 

No movie could get me out of the rut, no music was helping.  I texted my coach and told him I will turn my T-run into a 2 hour run instead of the planned 45 min – anything to get off that bike (If you know me, you know that doesn’t really sound like me – I LOVE to ride my bike), he wouldn’t budge. He tried his best to motivate me and eventually it worked. I may have even cried a little but you wouldn’t know it because I was a sweaty mess. I made it through the 4th hour with by far my worst power average in a while, but through some serious self talk and pure silence (no movies, no music), I managed to crawl back out of that very dark place and finish the ride strong. My overall power in the end was good 10 watts lower than the avg. power for my 4 hour ride last week, but I was just happy I didn’t quit, and finished the ride. Due to daylight savings, it was now dark out. Since I don’t live in the city, the roads around here are very dark and not very well lit, but I knew I had to run. I was looking forward to running! (Is this still me writing this?) I had one of the best transition run I ever had. I felt great, and it was effortless. I tried out my new kicks – New Balance 1400v2 and I am in love! Love the new upgrade to the upper, and these will be my go to shoes in Cozumel for sure!  Super light, fast, and breathable!

 LOVE at first sight!

45 minutes later, I made it home. I sat down, and just sat there. Physically and mentally exhausted, so happy I was done for the day I felt like I just crossed the line of an ironman with one exception: no one was watching.  It wasn’t the best workout I ever had, but it was one that I will remember when things get tough. 140.6 miles is a long way to go and it is sure to be a rollercoaster ride, but now more than ever, I am physically and mentally ready for what Cozumel will throw my way.  

Surely there are goals going into this race, but more important than those goals is how good I feel about achieving them. I am confident in my training. I am very focused, and if I can execute what I have been able to do in training, I am in for a great day. Making it through that Saturday last weekend, and then following it up with a 21 miler the next day with my last mile as fast as it was even though I thought I was done at mile 18, just shows me how much I have been able to grow not only physically, but also mentally and I am very excited to show myself what I can do rested. 

16 days and counting!