I had a good training week last week. I logged 20.5 hours. A new record. And you know, I feel pretty good.
My longest workout was on Saturday. A 6 hour brick. I was determined to get up and out of the house before everyone else awoke. There are a few benefits to this. Of course, I get home earlier and have more of the day to spend with the family, to do other things, and it alleviates some of my self-imposed guilt about being gone so long. But the other reason is that I can actually focus and get ready within 45 minutes instead of more than an hour. So I was up at 5:30 and almost ready when....boom boom boom. My 7 yo is NOT quiet when he comes downstairs. The boys just walks like an elephant. It's unreal. So, 5:57 and the little ones all appear. Not so bad I guess...I got a few sweet early morning hugs as I headed out. I was almost ready to go so despite the fact that they were "starving" and I had to find a little pre-breakfast snack, I was able to hit the road by 6:30.
The forecast was great for the day. But, it was cold to start. It's nearly impossible to dress for these workouts. I mean, when you start at 6 a.m. and finish after lunch (with all the stops..) the temperature changes dramatically!!!! It was 46 when I started and 77 when I finished.
I was following a map that a friend gave me. He had a route that I would love. Let's just say I was cursing the guy by the time 60 miles hit. You see, I live in rural Maine. Riding 80+ miles either takes me south or east into much more populated areas OR...the other way. I went the other way this time. I am not from rural Maine originally. I love the peace and quiet here. Dont' get me wrong. I no longer have patience for traffic lights that last more than 1 minute. I get irritated with traffic. I love the mountains I run and ride over (usually) and I love the big yards with tons of privacy. But I have my limits. This ride took me to my limits.
After about 30 minutes (thankfully hubby was awake by then and called to check in) I was completely out of cell phone reach. Nada. Zip. No bars. Gone. For hours. Ok, fine. Hope I don't crash, again.
I think I rode nearly 2 hours without seeing a car. Sure this sounds like dream. It's safe. It's quiet. It takes away some stress...but it's LONELY OUT THERE!!!! Oh my god. Nothing. Trees. A pretty lake from time to time. That was nice.
And you know, while my feet were absolutely frozen, my body was heating up as the sun rose. I did have to stop to shed layers...a lot. First I had to lose the leg warmers, then the headband, the coat, the shirt under the bike shirt....it went on and on. And each time I stopped, I got ATTACKED! Now, this isn's a Rural Maine problem. It's widespread. You see, it's black fly season. And they were out with a vengeance that day. Imagine looking up and seeing 1000s of little black things swarming your head. Gross. And irritating! It did make my stops fast I must say. But I also learned to ride with my mouth closed! Yes, I had to spit out a few of the little nuisances. Yuck.
I felt good out there on the bike. I was keeping a solid pace and I was pleased that I hadn't been riding over mountains all morning. And then I ate my words. What is that? I was now in Sweden. Sweden, Maine. Don't ride in Sweden, Maine! Nothing but up and down and up and down. And I thought I already had that in Paris. Nope. Sweden is worse. And the ups are So so steep that my bike was wavering back and forth across the road. I felt like I might tip over a few times!
While I was huffing and puffing up one of the many 2 mile hills, I heard a rustle. I looked over and rigth on the side of the road, 10 feet away, was a big Moose! He had fallen and was standing himself back up from a mucky spot in the woods. I pedalled harder. Just in case.
Finally I made it back to my town but I still had 2 more hours of riding to go. I didnt' mind finding nice roads close to home to complete those miles. I had had enough of no cell phone signal, of roads leading to nowhere, and the final stretch road that was so torn up and bumpy I felt like my insides were being rearranged. I even threw my arms in the air and cheered when I saw Norway Lake....so good to be home.
After my ride it was Hot! But I was excited for my hour T run. I wanted to see how I'd hold up. This was my longest brick to date. When I leave my driveway I climb a 1/2 mile hill. That hurt. It was slow. But on the flat mile after that, my legs came around. I felt good!!! And that translated into relief and happiness which made my legs feel even better. I had a great run.
I am sure I could have kept going but 7.5 miles did the trick that day.
Success. Confidence. That was the biggest gain this weekend.
This Ironman is intimidating. I am training hard. I am doing all my workouts...being consistent and solid. I am working hard on nutrtion. I am focusing on getting to bed earlier. I know I am a strong athlete. I have a good base...
And yet, I would lie if I didn't say the 140.6 gives me major nerves. Can I do this? I remain in awe at all the people who have conquered the distance. I get goose bumps just thinking about my name being announced at the finish line.
I have been assured that I have plenty of time left. I am choosing to take comfort in those words. And yet....every week that goes by, no, every day, I do the countdown. It'll be here before I know it.
USAT rankings came out and those were fun to read through. I knew lots of people on those Honorable mention and All American lists. Congrats to everyone!!! It's kind of fun to see your name in a magazine. I made All American this year after being Honorable Mention last year. I was ranked 37th/2073 in my age group. Not bad. A fun little fact that was cool to share with my kids.