Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ironman Wisconsin...My Perfect Day!

What a day I had!  Really, it could not have been more perfect.  I will remember my 1st Ironman as one of the happiest days of my life.  And what a journey it’s been.  A year ago I was volunteering as a bike handler in T1, with the full expectation that I’d be signing up for Madison the following morning.  Last year’s Ironman Wisconsin was the 4th Ironman I’ve spectated, and with each one I wanted more and more to compete in one myself.  So here is my full recap of my 1st Ironman.  Warning…it’s very long ;)

I arrived in Madison mid morning on Friday.  Went straight to Athlete Check-In and got my wristband and myself checked in.  Hit the Ironman store for a little bit too.  Saw my friend Jason too…nice to see a friendly face upon arriving J  Chatted with him a bit then off to shop.  I’m still not working full time so I had to be good.  But I HAD to buy something Ironman after all, this WAS my first Ironman.  OK, so spent more than I should’ve but honestly, who doesn’t? 

After Check-In I went and checked into my hotel.  I have been trying NOT to pack so much but again, I over packed.  And by the way, where I saw the weather was going to be in the low 70’s, I failed to remember that meant mornings and evenings would likely be in the 50’s.  Oops.  Good thing I had my “race morning” clothes to wear at night.  I started packing my Special Needs bags and my T1 and T2 bags, as well as the Morning Clothes bag, packed my Transition bag for my Saturday workout then relaxed in the hotel before dinner.  More Normatec boot therapy for my legs too J

Later I went to the Athlete dinner and after dinner Mike Reilly got up and spoke at the Athlete Briefing.  Other race officials spoke about each leg of the race, they showed a video, highlighted some individual racers then auctioned off the banner that the winners will run through for (I think) $1200.00.  Learned a few things, met some new people, chatted with my friend Mike and his wife Becky, saw a friend who was going to be one of the bike course marshals and finally headed back to the hotel about 9:30 I think. 

Saturday morning I had a short swim and bike workout.  I was still not going to run until the race.  I hadn’t run since Steelhead and was not going to run until the marathon portion…save the leg in case it started acting up.  It was cold in the morning so I stalled starting my workout a bit.  I think it was about 8:30 when I got to Lake Monona to swim.  There I saw Nate, Erin, Steve and Tim and we all went into the water at the same time.  The water felt great!  I swam about 15 minutes then headed out to transition to the bike.  Then it happened…yep, a flat tire.  I started to change it when a man near me asked if I wanted help.  I remembered what my friend Wendy had told me…yes, I’m independent and used to doing everything for myself.  Check that at the door, she said, and accept help when asked.  So I handed him my tire and let him at it.  His name was Mo and he was a local Madison tri coach. What a great guy…he told me what he was going to be wearing on Sunday and where he’d be and I told him I’d look for him.  Flat fixed, I headed out for a quick 15 minute ride to loosen up the legs.  After the bike I stopped at Perkins for my big breakfast.  Bring on the pancakes, and more pancakes.  And some bacon.  And hot chocolate.  And more pancakes.  Stuffed, I paid and headed back to the hotel to shower, finish packing my Special Needs, Transition and Morning Clothes bags and relaxed for a bit.

There is a lot of driving back and forth this weekend, I was warned!  I headed back to the Terrace about 2pm to check in my Transition bags and bike.  Went back to the Ironman store to pick up a few things for the family who have been taking care of Erin during my weekend away races.  Walked around a bit, checked out the Ironman Village, saw Coach Joe and got a Good Luck from him then parked myself on a park bench to relax until I had to meet Mike and his family for dinner.  Dinner was awesome as is Mike’s family & his friends I met.  What a fun time and I was excited to have more people to cheer for me.  Thanks again Mike for inviting me to dinner and to your family and friends for making me feel so welcome!
 Back to the hotel about 6:30 to wait for 2 of my Sherpas who had now decided to come up Saturday night.  Hung out with them for a bit then kicked them about 8:30 so I could try to get to bed early.  We decided Chrissy would be taking me to the race the next morning.  I think I ended up getting a decent amount of sleep before waking up at 4am.

Race morning up and out of the hotel by 4:45am.  Yes, I like getting to races early.  Brrrrrrrrrr it was a cold morning though.I think the temperature was about 50 degrees but the high was only to be in the low 70's so I was going to have perfect temperatures for my Ironman!  I dropped off the Special Needs bags and got into Transition to get the bike ready, while Chrissy parked her car.  Knowing I had the flat the day before, I let the bike techs pump up the tires for me.  Chatted with Mike some more and eventually found my friends to hang out with until it was time to head down the Helix.  Saw some friends and Coach Jen on the way down and she let me know it was going to be windy on the bike and not to fight the wind, to take it easy.  And Chrissy was right…get down the Helix early…people do NOT want to get into the water!  I got in early, floated a bit, stood on a rock a bit, anything so I didn’t have to tread water.  Got my spot to start and waited for the gun to go off.
7am…and we’re off!  What I don’t like about the swim is it’s really hard to tell how far in you are, you don’t know how fast you’re going, etc.  The buoys seemed to be farther apart than I expected, as I had trouble sighting the smaller buoys.  For the most part, I swam inside the buoys then outside and around the red turn buoys.  The swim was pretty uneventful.  I did not get kicked at all, swam over or had my legs pulled.  It seemed to get a bit choppier on the 2nd half and after what seemed like an eternity, I was standing up and saw 1:29:xx.  Woo hoo!!  Official swim time 1:29:47.  I had said I’d be extremely happy with a 1:30 but realistically figured it would be between 1:30 and 1:45.  Happy Cathy!  Before I knew it the wetsuit was stripped off of me and up the Helix I went.  Again, great seeing friends cheering me on as I ran up!  I was a bit disappointed in T1 as there wasn’t anyone to help me in the Women’s changing room.  I was mentally prepared that there would be someone to help me and they just didn’t have enough people.  So after a fairly lengthy T1, I headed out to find my bike.  I love that it was waiting with a volunteer when I got to it.  Ran to bike out and soon I was riding down the Helix and off on the bike.

I had hoped for a 7 hour bike but once Coach Jen told me about the wind and not to fight though it, I knew it would be longer than that.  I’ve ridden the course many times so had no surprises.  Felt good the entire bike.  But the wind was nasty and it did beat me up a bit.  At times, even on the flats, my speed was much slower than I had expected.  BOO!!  Saw friends and coaches on the hills and 3 of the 6 hills had friends run up the hill with me.  Mo (the guy who changed my tire) ran up one of them with me yelling to everyone “this is Cathy, I met her yesterday, I changed her tire!”…LOL  He even “coached” me up the hill.  What a guy!  I will say this…the “3 bitches” as I call them…they don’t seem as long when lined with spectators!  I nailed my nutrition but around mile 90 I was done…I had had enough of the wind and was ready to get off the bike…nothing unusual, it happened in training too, can’t get comfortable anymore, lower back hurts, my left shoulder starts aching…it was time to get off the bike!  At some point towards the end of the bike I saw my friend Wendy manning one of the intersections.  Didn’t see her at first, but saw a sign with my  name on it and I knew it was Wendy.  What a cheerleader you are Wendy, thank you!!  Before I knew it, I was back riding up the Helix.  Still smiling…still feeling good!  The best part of the bike – handing it off to a volunteer at the top of the Helix J  Final bike time was 7:36:47…so much longer than planned, but I hadn’t expected (or trained in) the wind.

Got help from a volunteer in T2 and off on the run I went!  I prayed…leg, please hold out for me and let me run this marathon!  My goal was a 5:30 marathon.  By the way, I had NEVER run a marathon before and the longest run I ever did was 3 hours…so the marathon was the wild card in my race plan.  But the plan was to run from aid station to aid station, walking the aid stations and hills only.  Saw lots of friends as I was running out of T1, including Stacy from the shelter where I volunteer.  That was cool as she gave me a big hug and I hadn’t expected to see her.  I was still smiling and still feeling good.  The run was hillier than I expected, with lots of turns, running in the street, sidewalks, on paths and around Badger Stadium (very cool!).  Sub M was manning one of the aid stations so that was cool to see a bunch of friendly faces and since I was walking aid stations, got to chat a bit. 

Running in to start my 2nd loop I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I think I ran the 1st half in 2:26ish…I could not believe how good I was feeling!  Or that I had finished the 1st half that much ahead of schedule.  I did stop at run Special Needs to change socks and take in some salt but that took only a few minutes and I was off again.  Ask anyone who asked me how I was feeling and my answer was always “I feel good, really good.”  Continued with my plan of running aid station to aid station and walking just hills and aid stations.  I did stop a the Porty potty maybe twice on the run and I think I ran through 1 or 2 aid stations because I just couldn’t take in any more fluids.  By mile 23 or so it was starting to hit me…I was still running but twice I stopped to walk and allowed myself 100 steps to walk, then had to run again.  It worked…soon I had passed mile 25 and knew it was just a matter of minutes.  I was going to be an IRONMAN and much sooner than I had anticipated!  No one can prepare you for how great that final mile or so feels running in.  The crowds were unbelievable.  Having my friends there cheering me in (and Wendy running me in as far as she could), running down that finishers chute…it was the best feeling in the world.  Then it happened…I heard those words I had trained all year to hear… “Cathy Bonich from Schaumburg, IL, you are an IRONMAN!!”  Gotta love Mike Reilly!!  Catherine and Donna were right at the end, hands out for me to slap, yelling and cheering as I ran through and finished.  Final run time was 5:04:29…more than 25 minutes ahead of schedule!  And yep, there was Chrissy yelling “this one’s mine” and how awesome is it to have a friend “catch you” after you’ve finished the biggest race of your life?  So cool…….and even then, I kept saying “I feel good, I really do.”  I just wanted to soak it all up.  I didn’t want to leave.  I wanted to walk around, wearing the medal and let people congratulate me…I know, I was just so happy!  Final race time 14:35:24…almost 25 minutes ahead of my goal time J
So here I am 3 days post Ironman.  As I told Coach Jen yesterday…I’m comparing Ironman to what I assume planning a wedding is like.  You prepare all year long for this one, very long day.  And POOF!  Just like that it’s over.  I’m a bit stiff still.  I had my massage Monday night.  I’m chaffed in places I never dreamed I’d chafe in.  I’m taking this week off.  Today I did go to the gym and just sat in the hot tub.  Erin will get lots of walks this week! 
I have so many people to thank for helping me get through this…if I start from the beginning there’s Lynn and Tony who convinced me to learn to swim 3-1/2 years ago, Coach Joe and Coach Suzy from Experience Triathlon who taught me how to swim, taught me a lot about triathlon and allowed me to have my 1st open water experience in the very lake I did my 1st Ironman in, Kim for always lending me her full body wetsuit (ok, it’s more like she throws it at me cuz she hates it, but you get the point!), all my training buddies that have run or ridden with me this year, Jamie and Holly for also lending your support in your own very special ways, Vicki, Eric and Dakota for taking care of Erin while I was away racing, everyone who came out to cheer me on, my 3 Sherpas Chrissy, Catherine and Donna, Beth for your nutritional help and support which undoubtedly had a huge impact on the success of my race and most important Coach Jen for your extreme generosity, help, support, feedback and passion for the sport for which, without you, I would never have had the day I just had.  It was truly the best day of my life and like the sign said “chafe now and brag forever!”.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Rest assured, when I can, I will somehow Pay it Forward J

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Madison bound in T-37 hours..........

Well, here I am, 4 days (technically now a little less than 3.5 actually) from my 1st Ironman!  Wow, what a journey this has been!!  As Coach Jen keeps saying, the work is done.  I'm ready.  I will be fine.  I still can't believe it's practically here.

So...tomorrow I pack.  My packing list is very long!  Started tonight but only gathering up the little stuff.  Anything that requires thinking is for tomorrow :)  Last minute errands tomorrow too.  Oh, and pack up the dog.  Man, I can't even pack light for Erin.  She gets a mini vacation out of this race too.

I'm tired.  And ready.  And not thinking clearly.  Clearly from the email I just sent Coach Jen a little bit ago, I'm just brain dead.  Or coming off the sugar high from work earlier today.  They surprised me with a Good Luck cake and very cool banner hanging in my cube.  Totally surprised me!  Very nice guys, thank you!!

So that's all for now.  I'm heading to bed.  One final swim tomorrow morning.  Friday up and head to Madison in the morning...Wish me luck!  Next blog, with any luck, I will be calling myself an Ironman!! 


Monday, August 27, 2012

It's officially in Training Peaks!!

Yep...checked today.  Holy sh!&...there it was...Sept 9th...Ironman Wisconsin.  Something about seeing it written down, as in NEXT WEEK, made me shiver a bit today!  This is really happening I thought!  Never in a million years did I ever think I would be doing an Ironman some day, let alone in less than 2 weeks!

I started thinking about what it was like years ago...before I even knew how to swim.  When I was in real estate, a fellow realtor and I discussed doing the Lake Geneva triathlon...she was going to do the Olympic distance.  I looked up the distances (I knew NOTHING about triathlon at this time)...keep in mind, I didn't know how to swim.  At all.  I saw .9 mile swim.  I thought "that's not far, I can do it".  You see, she was a few years older than me so there was no way I was going to be outdone by an older woman...LOL  We ran together a few times.  She was a swimmer in high school.  I remember buying goggles and a nose plug and getting in the pool one morning at Lifetime.  I lasted all of 6 minutes!!  I literally panicked when my face was in the water.  So I tried swimming without putting my face in the water.  Yeah, that didn't last long either.  I then set out to find a swimmer so I could do a relay.  I actually don't remember what happened, but I never ended up doing it.  Not sure if she did either...

Fast forward a few years and I learned how to swim, did a few tri's and I pretty much think I just got caught up in the whole "Ironman" talk.  I had always had friends from the gym who did triathlon, and Ironman, but I never thought I could do that distance.  Like most people, the swim scared me away.  So here I am...about to do my 1st Ironman in 12 days! 

I have so much going on in my mind...the swim still scares me.  I've swam 2 miles in open water, never 2.4 miles though.  And NEVER with 1800 people starting at the same time as me!  That scares the beegeezus out of me!  Knock on wood, I have never gotten kicked in the face in any race yet, but it just happened to a friend at Steelhead...and I pray, not me, not in Madison!  Then there are the snakes...yes, Jen has told me she's never seen any, and my friend Joe has assured me they won't go anywhere near 1800 swimmers...but I cannot get the thought out of my mind!  Hopefully I will find out exactly how many buoys will be out on the course and I will swim from buoy to buoy, just like at Steelhead.  But 2.4 miles...that's a LONG swim!

Then there's the bike.  I've ridden the distance, more than that.  By mile 96 I was saying "get me the heck off this bike!".  OK, well I didn't say "heck" but you get the point.  That is a LOT of time on the bike!!  And I still have problems pacing on the bike.  I feel good, I go out strong.  I ride with stronger bikers, I try to keep up.  I have to continue to remind myself to take it easy on Sept 9th.  When not climbing, keep the HR in zone 2.  Do NOT override this.  I break it down in 40 min segments - every 40 min I take a gel so I ride from gel to gel...LOL

And finally, the run.  Oh boy.  I have run 3 hours.  Pretty close to the "long run" of marathon training.  I've never run an actual marathon, however, I keep hearing training for the Ironman marathon is totally different than training for a regular marathon.  I'm not going into this thinking I will run 26.2 miles.  Especially since my leg's been acting up on and off for over a held up for Steelhead and now it's on bed rest until Ironman.  Again, break it from aid station to aid station.  Take walk breaks if I need to, or take them BEFORE I need them so I do no hit the wall.  Do what I need to do basically.

So there it I nervous?  Absolutely!  I don't think I'd be normal if I wasn't.  Do I think I can do it?  Absolutely!  Is it going to be pretty?   More than likely...NOT!  So this week I continue to mentally prepare, to get organized with my plans, checklists and any other "must do's" before race week.  As Jen keeps saying...the work is done, I'm ready, trust in my plan, relax.  And let's not her!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Steelhead race report...SUCCESS !!!

I finally did it...raced an entire 70.3, Steelhead in Benton Harbor, MI yesterday.  This was long overdue...between the fractured elbow a week before Muncie last year to the high heat index forcing race officials to shorten Muncie's race this year, this was my 3rd attempt at trying to race a 70.3.  I just prayed they would not cancel the swim, as Steelhead's water is Lake Michigan and for the past 2 years, high waves and riptides have caused the swim portion to be cancelled.  Fingers crossed.....

My leg had been bothering me pretty consistently the entire week before Steelhead.  Great, I thought.  I broke one of my runs in half so I could ice my leg 1/2 way through.  Ran on the treadmill for my bricks, not pretty but I got through them.  My mini brick came Saturday morning & I ran 5 of the 10 minutes, then walked.  Ouch!  I was not happy and the thought of potentially having to run/walk or even walk the 1/2 marathon portion was getting to me.  All I could think about was this was my 1st 70.3...I can't walk.  Then I'd think about Madison in 3 weeks and think "I cannot risk hurting the leg even further".  Ugh...this was NOT in my plan for this weekend.

My friend Jamie Van Vuren and I left early Saturday morning.  Arrived at Jean Klock Park and were surprised at how far we had to walk to athlete check-in, bike check-in, etc.  It seemed to be a mile walk and we ended up walking back and forth 3 times.  Checked in, checked in the bikes, hooked up with my friend Pam and then the 3 of us hit the water.  I was told it was 72 degrees on Saturday and it felt great!  I needed to test out the full sleeve wetsuit that I'd be wearing, I had worn it once before a few years ago but needed to get reacquainted :)  Many thanks again to Kim Lind for letting me borrow it, again!!

Jamie, Pam and I then met our friend Chrissy and the 4 of us had a nice dinner at a little Italian place.  Yummy food and I had my traditional beer before race day.  We got everything ready and went to bed early.  Funny how all the "good luck" texts always come in while I'm trying to sleep...LOL.  I loved them all and didn't really care since I don't typically sleep the night before a race anyways.  And we had gone to bed EARLY! 

Got to the race site shortly before 5:30am Sunday morning.  Yes, I'm an early bird at just takes me a while to figure out where to put things, etc.  And I like to allow extra time for "what ifs".  In Muncie this year, I got a flat pumping up my tire race morning.  Plus I was supposed to run 15-20 min to warm up but after jogging slowly to the bike tech guys (this time I was having THEM pump up the tires), I quickly realized I was going to skip the warm up because yes, my leg was still hurting.  We later walked the mile to swim start and again, got in the water.  This time it was 67 degrees but surprisingly, felt good!

7:10am rolled around and it was GO TIME for me!  My wave started with not only the women in my AG but also with the 50-54 year old men so was a bit nervous about that.  Went out mid pack with some of the women.  It's a beach start so everyone was running into the water.  I was finally ready to swim and everyone in front of me was still walking.  UGH  Finally settled into my swim and quickly realized my goggles were fogged.  Left them and swam like that the entire 1.2 miles.  I was still able to see the buoys so didn't want to waste time trying to fix them.  I loved the swim!!  Those who know me will understand how strange it is for me to say that.  But really, it's about 150m out then straight down with the current and about another 150m to the beach.  I was counting buoys and was pleasantly surprised when I looked up expecting to see buoy #6 and it said #7.  SWEET!!  Finally finished and walked up the sand to T1.  Deep sand, by the way.

I had decided I was going to preserve my legs for the run, so walked during both transitions.  I'm not a sand person and my feet were covered in it, so I spent a little extra time trying to brush it off my feet before I put my socks on.  Then walked with the bike down the LONG transition row to bike start.  Of course, first thing I notice on my bike is my cadence isn't working  I look down and yep, the sensor had slipped down the pedal.  I quickly hopped off the bike, fixed it and hopped back on and off I went. The bike had gently rolling hills.  Nothing big but enough so at times, you knew you were climbing. I struggled in the beginning to get to my goal pace but finally got up there.  Those darn rolling hills kept screwing it up though!  And there were 2 stretches of relatively bumpy roads.  I did NOT like that...bump bump bump for what seemed like at least 5 miles.  I seriously kept looking down at my tires to make sure they hadn't gone flat!  Overall the bike felt good.  I had a negative split on the bike and fell just a wee bit short of my goal pace.  But since the bike computer was off a bit, it showed I did nail it, so as far as I'm concerned, goal achieved!!  And I prayed just a bit that my legs would hold up for the run.  Thanks to Lynn, Ted and Tim for cheering me on during the bike.  Always great to see friendly faces while racing, and hearing your name being screamed out!

Coming into T2 I was feeling good and ready to run.  Again, walked in T2 and in what's quickly becoming a habit, stopped at the Porty potty before heading out on the run.  And here we time.  I was shocked.  I started running and felt OK.  Not 100% but NOT the pain I had been feeling all week, and even that morning.  After mile 1 or 2 I was still running slightly faster than I had wanted to.  Normally I would've been OK with it but because I was unsure if my leg was going to cooperate, I wanted to take it easy.  I still had a goal pace but I had room to slow down.  I did walk through the aid stations.  I still have not mastered drinking while running so if I intend on drinking more than the water, I need to walk while doing so.  The weather was great, cool, not very sunny and at times, cloudy.  Lots of turns on the run and 3 big hills (all of which I ran, by the way).  I still say to myself Coach Joe's hill mantra...Hills are my friends, they make me faster and stronger.  That and Jamie's tips on running hills and up I went on all 3 :)  Again, I ran from gel to gel, which was every 3 miles.  Saw a few friends on the run...Jorge, Uncle Phil twice, Dave.  Gave all of them a shout out and one by one, picked off the miles.  We had to cross a timing mat twice on the run and I did notice my "beep" sounded different than the others...little did I know this was a clue to timing trouble ahead!  But my leg was holding up, I had slowed down and for the 2nd half pretty much kept the same pace.  I did tell myself once I hit mile 11 or 12 I can pick it up if I want to.  I think I waited until mile 12 so I could finish strong. Why does the last mile always seem soooooo long?  Finally the finishers chute...and then there was Lynn, Ted & Tim again, cheering me on as I finished.  FINALLY...I practically had tears in my eyes I was so happy!

Overall, I loved this race!  I was most excited (believe it or not) about the swim.  The weather was perfect.  I had a good, steady bike.  My leg held up on the run.  I bettered my run goal.  I am happy with my time!  Now...3 weeks later I get to do it all over again, only twice the distance ;)

PS - the timing omen I mentioned resulted in the finish line mat not recognizing my chip as I crossed the finish line.  So on it appeared at though I got to mile 9.6 on the run and then never finished.  Um yeah, caused a lot of inquiries to me as to what happened.  This has been fixed and my time posted ;)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taper week :)

Another shortie...taper week, short workouts, short blog ;)

Last weekend I had my shortest workouts in a very long time...woo hoo!  Seriously, it wasn't until Sunday night that it dawned on, I actually had time to myself, to relax, to do other things.  So taper week continues as I prepare for Steelhead on Sunday.  Steelhead, my 3RD attempt at doing a 1/2 Ironman.  Last year...attempt #1.  Muncie.  A week before, I fractured my elbow.  Bye bye Muncie.  This year...attempt #2.  Muncie again.  It owed me.  Or I owed it.  Day before...heat index is too high, the Ironman folks shorten the race to a 37.2.  Again, no 1/2 Ironman.  So Sunday is my redemption!  It's either "3rd time's a charm" or "3 strikes and I'm out"...whatever happens, happens.  I know Steelhead's track record with the swim, I'm not even going to say it, type it & I'm trying not to think about it.  The forecast is calling for PERFECT race weather...after a summer of 90's for what seemed like every day, this weekend we're looking at low 70's as a high.  Fingers crossed...I'm going with Jamie, have other friends that are going to be there racing and even 2 more 1st timers like me.  I'm excited!  Next blog...Steelhead's race report!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When I was a kid...

My mom would always tell me not to be in such a hurry for things (I think I've said patience...LOL).  I always "couldn't wait" for something or another, always wishing time would go by faster than it was.  She would also tell me to "wait until I grew up" or "wait until you're an adult"...that "time would go by very fast".  Of course, I didn't believe her.  Really, what kid DOES believe anything their parents tell them?  And quite frankly, as an adult, there are many times that time seems like it's sitting still (my thoughts go back to that last job that I 6.5 hours seemed like an eternity!!).  But in fairness to my mom, every year since I moved out on my own, at some point I stop and think "where did the year go?"...time seems to be flying by!

Fast forward to January 2012 when I started my Ironman WI training with Coach Jen.  I had 8 months until my big race...8 MONTHS!!  That seemed like an eternity!  It was months before my workouts seemed to be anything longer than what I was already doing (yes, I've always been a "longer weekend workout" kind of person).  I still remember thinking, man I still have 6 months before Ironman...PLENTY of time.  I haven't raced much because of my employment status (or lack of I should say) but I've been putting in the time training.  My 1/2 Ironman came and went, an actually went much faster than I thought due to the shortened race :( 

Concerned about doing a full Ironman without ever doing a 1/2, I talked to Jen and we decided I should do Steelhead 70.3 on Aug 19th.  OK, so that's a week from this Sunday.  Here I go 3rd attempt at doing a 1/2 Ironman...THIS IS IT!  If they cancel the swim again, I am done with long distance racing (after Ironman WI, of course)!!  Mark my words!  But that's not really my point, I point is, 4 weeks from this Sunday is Ironman Wisconsin!!!!  Where the heck did those 8 months go?  This can't be!!  I need more time!!  Or do I??

Last weekend was my big, big & big Ironman training weekend.  I was supposed to swim in the Crystal Lake open water 2 mile race and then bike 115 miles on Saturday then on Sunday run 3 hours.  Well, as luck would have it, the bacteria level in the lake was too high and the beach was closed.  So Saturday I biked my 115 miles (thank you Coach Jen for the extra 3 miles...LOL).  115 hilly miles I might add, well, mostly hilly.  And oh yeah, I stopped only to swap out bottles.  None of this stopping for snacks & to chat & take a break stuff for me...LOL  Then Sunday I went down to Ohio Street Beach and swam my 2 miles.  Again, what's with the choppy water?  It wasn't as bad as the week before but it was still relatively choppy in parts and it still made me nauseous.  So swim done, on to my 3 hour run.  It was nice running at the lakefront, especially with all the water fountains!  But 3 hours...oh my, that was a 1st for me.  My goal - just get it done without further aggravating my shin (yep, been dealing w/ a little shin issue that comes & goes).  I really wasn't focusing on my pace, except that I wanted to negative split the 2nd half.  Run done and I saw some friendly faces at the beach before I left.

I'm still in shock that Ironman is literally right around the corner.  Am I ready?  I don't know.  Is my longest workout now behind me?  Good god, I don't know that either!  Jen if you're reading this, I am assuming yes because of Steelhead :)  Seriously, I keep thinking that OK, I've swam 2 miles so what's another .4, right?  (Right........insert sarcasm here).  I've now biked 115 miles so 112 will seem easy, right?  And I've run 3 hours...hmmm.  Well, I've never run a stand-alone marathon and my longest run ever was that 3 hours.  I know for a fact my Ironman run will last much longer than 3 hours...especially when inserting any walking I will be doing.  So putting this all together in ONE day?  Can I do that?  This race needs to get here so I can see!  It certainly doesn't seem so bad when I break the race into smaller parts...but then again, I've done that over 2 days.  So I'm going with...yes, I can do it.  I WILL do it.  And it will be fun!  Now get here, will ya?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Are we there yet?

I think as kids, we've probably all said that at least once to our parents or some other adult figure in our lives.  I know growing up, I had no patience.  Zero. Nada.  Nilch.  Nothing.  I didn't like going out to dinner because once I ordered my food, I expected it to be delivered right away (no fast food comments here).  I didn't like waiting, nor did I want to.  To an extent, I'm still like that.  I don't eat out much and I am impatient in many facets of my life.

So this is pretty much what I've been feeling this past week.  I truly believe, you can "hear" all about Ironman training from others all you want, but I don't think it really sets in until you're experiencing it.  People told me it's a lot of training, it takes up a lot of your free time, all you will end up doing is eat, sleep, work & train.  I heard the words, but it didn't register until a few weeks ago.  OMG, all I do on weekends is eat, sleep, prepare for the training, train, clean up after it then recover and go back to bed, just to do it all over again the next day.  No time or energy for anything else, for the most part.  Or I want to do things, but the idea of going to bed early & getting extra sleep usually wins :)

So hence my question "are we there yet"?  Sept 9th can't come soon enough.  I have to think this is normal what I'm feeling?  I can't be the only 1st timer who is getting tired of training?  These weekend workouts honestly, are sort of not fun anymore.  Well, the weekday workouts are, but the long weekend workouts...blah!  I don't want to spend all day working out every weekend.  OK, so the runs don't take me all day, but I think I'm using more energy to run, plus I'm running on tired legs from biking the day before, and therefore, the runs are leaving me more exhausted.  And just when I'm feeling recovered...I have to do it all over again!  And to be honest, last weekend I didn't even run as I'm resting my shin and I was still pooped by the end of the weekend!  I did have fun in Madison with the JHC group last Sunday...maybe because there was a group of us, maybe because I was on the Ironman course, maybe cuz I met some new people.  But to be fair, I hated getting up as early as I had to and leaving my house at 5am...anyone who really knows me knows, I'm a morning workout person but on weekends, not that early!  So the drive there & back sucked, but the group workout rocked.

Really, someone tell me come race day, it WILL be fun.  That it will all pay off in the end and I will actually have fun in this thing they call Ironman. Cuz right now, when most people are excited about the weekend, I'm dreading the long workouts :(  I'm doing them and getting them done, but dreading them.  Yep...are we there yet???