Friday, June 26, 2009

The Long Ride

Today was my long ride. It turned out to be only 1 mile short of my longest ride ever.
116 miles.
That's long. That's a long long ride by yourself. At least that's the attitude I started with. However, by the end, I realized it wasn't so bad!!!!
I think that might be a sign that I'm ready.
One month from TODAY!!!! Did you hear that Mary??? 1 month. Time's up.
Here's how the day went down:
3:50 a.m. Beep. 3:51 Beep.
This was NOT my alarm!? How annoying. Mark's blackberry received an email from spam! He had his phone on in case I called from my ride. Except I was still in bed.
4:20 May as well just get up and get going. Beat the alarm by 5 minutes. That's sad. I beat my 4:25 a.m. alarm. What's become of me??
I hurried through my typical ritual: coffee first, wash face, brush teeth, eat oatmeal, top bottles off with ice, decide 3x what to wear on a humid + foggy morning that would turn into afternoon, and finally pump tires and off I go.
5:10 I'm on the road. I'm psyched there's no rain but the fog was SO thick that my glasses covered wiht droplets and I feared for my life. My quiet rural road was busy busy today!!! Do you guys All need to go to work Now?? Just kidding. But seriously, the traffic was baaaad and I am Not used to that. I'm spoiled with quiet roads in Western Maine. I truly worried that the giant log trucks hammering up behind me couldn't see me in the fog since I couldn't see 10 ft ahead. I was sure they weren't keeping their eyes out for little me on my "pro racing bike." (explanation comes later.)
Well, I didn't get killed. Phew. I did however attack the hills as Jen told me to. And the hills were plentiful. I decided to do my super hilly route x 2 and then add an out and back to make 115. (loop is 50 mi) So, up and down I rode. I was also determined not to mess up the nutrition. I had a plan and I stuck to it. Like clockwork. I felt full. I think maybe I ate more calories than I burned. I mean seriously. I was consuming Something almost every 30 minutes, at least! I never do that. I realize I was burnign calories, but it seemed impossible that my calories burning was keeping up with my consumption. Whatever. I know it's necessary. I did it. And it worked. Glycogen stable. Energy stable. NO bonking. No cramping. No GI distress. All good. Got it.
Loop one felt a little scattered. First, my husband called as Soon as he woke up. Just to check on me. "yup. I'm fine. Ok. Call when boys are up. Ok. Gotta pee but otherwise fine. bye!" Off I went. I have a favorite spot in teh know why. I was desperate. there was a guy walking his dog!!!! he was stopped Right at MY spot! the Nerve. I pedaled on. Now what. I was totally distracted by this. Finally I found a decent place but then at the wrong moment, a car started up! There was a driveway Right there adn a guy was about to drive by me. Oops. I made it quick and acted innocent. Twenty more minutes and the phone Again!! I had to stop and say goodmorning to all the boys. I am glad I got to do this. I woudn't see them until after lunch.
Ok, all that was done and it was time to focus again.
Just before my pit stop, I rode past the house where my son was playing for the day. His friend is moving to Germany next week so this was their final playdate. It's sad for the boys. I missed Tommy this morning so I stopped in for a hug. The 3 little 7 y.o. boys ran up. "Mrs. Bancroft! Your bike is weird."
Tommy:. "its' a PRORACING bike!!" Andrew, "yeah? How fast does it go?" Tommy, "LIke 40 miles an hour!" :)
I finished up the first loop at Marks' office. He had a cooler with the next round of bottles, some other 'practice snacks for special needs bags' and ahhh, a real bathroom. Cant' pass that up! Off for loop two. My legs were tired but I was on a mission. 10% in z4-5. Okaaaay......that's scary. I have to kill myself to get there on the bike. So off I went to kill. I passed all the spots I noticed on the first loop...the dead porcupine, the single boot in the road (what Is that about?), the totem pole with cats on top of each other (I'm serious, the glove, the mini dumptruck that says "Buckfield" (Patrick Dempsey's hometown I'll add), and finally route 4. Route 4 is a busy busy highway-like road. But it's flat. My 7 miles of flat in the middle of this long hill ride. I was ready to focus. To hammer. HR here we go! I was in the zone.
And then, ring ring ring. OH my gosh. Again???? I see the window says, "home." Must answer. You never know! they were with a sitter.
"Hello. Hi hun"
Cameron, my 9 1/2 year old, "Hi Mommy. Um Mommy, sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 the tooth fairy came!"
(Cam had 2 teeth pulled yesterday. He put them under his pillow and failed to see the quarters I snuck under him in the night.)
Me out loud " oh that's great CAm. I'm so glad you called. " In my head, "Ok, this could have waited. gotta go!!!"
Cam, "one of the quarters is from Hawaii so I put it in my book. And Tommy left for Matthew's and they're going to the lake. Can we go to the lake soon."
ahh!! why am I talking about this at mile 77?? The challenges of mixing training with parenting doesn't alwasy involve time.
We finished up and I worked like a dog to get back in the zone and kick the HR back up there.
I was feelign good. I was moving along. No problems. Knee ok. Nutrition good. Still stuffing my face. Oh I forgot to mention that I ate 1/4 peanut butter & jelly sandwich on my half way pit stop. It was a nice treat to have real food for a minute! I'll remember that.
Up and over the 5 mile climb...again. Streaked Mountain. It's steeper than the LP climb into town but a few miles shorter. I think it is a good one to train on though. This was my third time up and over the beast this week. I was feeling like a tough Mama. :-)
The hardest part was the final 16. My two loops covered 100.4. I had to do an out and back to cover the final miles. I was feeling good...but ready to go home. The best part, because I was so ready to go home, I went fast. And I love that after 100 miles I could even consider going fast.
It's a good sign.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ready to rock

Here we go. The final push to Ironman. I think I've been doing pretty well with the training. The season has been a bit hard to judge since I haven't raced too much.
Mooseman came together I think my fitness is on target.
5 weeks left.
That's not too long. I remember when it was 5 months....and that seemed close. Oh boy.
The past few weeks have been busy and intense. Starting June 7th with Mooseman Half Iron. I raced hard, put out good spilts and a 3rd place spot, and then ouch. I was so so tired after that. My body was extremely sore. I tried to swim two days after that race. How bad can swimming be? I mean, you're floating around in the water! And I'm a swimmer! Well, let me tell you folks. I couldn't even push my legs off the deck to dive in--- I just fell! I am not Kidding!
It was comical. I was sure the guard (whom I've known since I was 14) was going to stop me to see if I was ok. Of course "stop" is not the rigth word. Because I wasn't moving. I was pulling my way weakly to the deep end where I floated to the wall. There-25 yards. Only 1475 to go. Ha! I couldn't kick. I absolutely couldn't kick. I couldn't push off the wall. So I just floated away and attempted more pulling-but even the arms were weak. I stuck a pull buoy in and wiggled my way through several hundred yards before I gave up. There. What a workout. Way to get back at it Ange. Totally worth waking up at 4:33 (remember I said before-those 3 minutes help) and driving 35 minutes. Oh god. Training camp in 2 days??
Ok. Wednesday was an easy bike. I can't even remember the workout but I ended up pushing my legs around-barely-on the trainer. I did this so I woulnd't have to climb the 2 mile hill up to my house after the ride. Pathetic! But, I think smart. I have made peace with the need to recover after hard efforts.
My last post acknowledged that I did in fact survive training camp. It was so much fun, I performed alright, not great, but alright. I was definately still feeling the fatigue of racing hard. I race 100% when I race. And I paid for that. But in my head I knew that almost 5 hard hours of swimbikerun did help my long term fitness level. It was in the bank for July 26th.
During a few of those weeks I was feeling worried. Worried that I wasn't tough enough for 140.6 miles of swimbikerun. I was going through those feelings that I imagine many athletes go through-'what have I done?' "why am I doing this?"

It's Sunday June 21st. Father's Day. First day of summer.
And the day I am BACK! I wasn't really gone but my head is now in a fresh new place. I am not bored with the training---I can see the end. I don't have "time away from home guilt"-kids are home from school and I am spending ooodles of time with the little guys. I am rested. That is key. I have had a big training week but I also got tons-o-sleep. People talk about how key this is-and I agree-but sometimes it's tough. you all know the drill. Busy with life= parents up late! Or atleast too late for a 4:33 wake up. This past week I made a big effort to put other stuff aside (like free time after kids go to bed) and climb between the sheets myself. Ahhhh
It's like I flipped a switch. I feel great.
I am so excited. I am so excited to KICK MY ASS for this final peak training period. I do love to work hard. I thrive on the feeling of pushing past the pain. It fires me up. It makes me feel strong. I feel untouchable. I feel confident.
Yesterday I had a 20 mile run. I ran hills. Many many big hills. Up and down for 13 miles. The final 7 were flatter but I was already fatigued. Regardless, I was able to push the pace for the end. Sure, I had moments of "pain." I had moments of heavy legs and feet. But it passed. It didn't seem too bad. I was ready to stop-don't get me wrong! Somehow the imagine of passing through those IM arches gave me extra motivation to keep running.
I felt great the rest of the day. I was moving around the house like nothing had happened. My husband was incredulous. He kept saying, "you are so ready for this." "Think how you have felt after other 20 mile runs." He's right. I am ready.

I can't believe we are so close. This has been something I have thought about for so long. It was an unattainable goal just a few years ago. Just a few years ago I had a bike wreck that almost killed my swimming forever. Just a few years ago, a Half Ironman was a Huge goal. Now, I'm weeks away from attempting a Huge endurance event.
Hang on Ange.
Hang on to this'll be time to put it all out there soon.

Good luck to all at Coeur D'Alene today!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lake Placid Training Camp

Last weekend was so much fun.
Four days away from real life responsibilities.
Four days with great friends.
Four day of swimbikerunning.

Just what the doctor ordered.

Re-entry was a big tough this week. My systems was thoroughly shocked. The last week of school was filled with lots of errands, a myriad of appointments, a trip out of town for my husband, hours of swimbikerun pre-dawn, and we must not forget picking up the pieces from being gone for 4 days!!!

All worth it however. Camp was the perfect transition into my final phase before Ironman USA. Peak Training. Here we go.

Last Thursday I wiped away my tears (yes, always cry when I leave my kiddos) and headed North West with my friend Mike. We actually met an hour from home at a grocery store. We loaded up on food for the trip and off we went. We had a good 7 hr ride-including a nice 30 min ferry ride from VT to NY and before we knew it we were hugging Mary in Lake Placid.
Ready to go.
FIrst up: easy run. I hadn't been able to move all week. Racing Mooseman left me feeling spent. I left my heart on the roads of New Hampshire. Now, I was ready to see what I could do in New York. A group of 5 of us trotted around Mirror lake at an easy pace and I was relieved to see my legs Did actually work again. Phew.
Dinner at a pub with more friends who arrived later. Great way to end day one.
Day two started with us all excited to SLEEP IN! But...7:00 and we were up. Oh well. That is pretty late for most of us I guess. When the alarm goes off at 4:33 most days (the 3 min past 4:30 make me feel better), 7:00 is late.
We had a long breakfast at a nearby diner and chatted strategy & nutrition with one of our team coaches. It was odd to start the day this way. Usually hours are logged in training peaks by 8 a.m!
After much debate, we decided on an easy 40 mile ride. I wasn't into this. I was hoping for an extra swim. I felt 112 the next day was adequate. But I was overruled. Turns out this was a good thing because at mile 10 I flatted. Mary and Kiely decided they wanted to turn around at this point and that was fine with me. We headed home where I changed the whole tire on my bike so it would be ready to roll on Saturday. Glad the flat was out of the way--in the end good that we rode.
The next few hours were nice and lazy. Mary and I even sat by the pool!! More team members arrived and started to prep for the first official event.
The swim.
I love swimming in Mirror lake. Following the buoy line is perfect! No need to sight! Now if I can only get myself to it on Race day!!! That's my goal. We'll see. I'm sure I'll get clobbered more than usual since there are 2500 people at once in a skinny lake.
I felt great in the water but it was looooooong!!!! My goggles were still tight from racing at Mooseman and by the 2nd loop my eyes were bugging out. They hurt! Anyway...I did the swim in about 58 min or so. Not sure. Under an hour is all I know. It felt good.
Mary and I ran a little loop around the lake after then hurried back to prep for dinner.
Then bed. Unfortunately, I did Not sleep that night. Not sure why. I just layed there thinking about all sorts of things. I could feel how tense my shoulders bed...this is not good. Finally, Saturday rolled around and it was time to ride. And ride. and ride. One of my biggest "fears" about IM is losing my mind from boredom on the bike. Ugh. After 80 miles I'm done! I just get so sick of it. Gotta get over this.
Mary and I rode and rode adn rode and from time to time we had others with us. It was nice to chat with people from time to time. that's one bonus about trainign in a group!
I was tired. I felt the need to close my eyes while riding. Bad sign. I also got a late start with my nutrition. I am not sure what caused me to hold off for the first 45 min-hr but this was a mistake. But hey, we learn from our mistakes and that is that.
The ride was fair. I had some pain in my knee after mile 54 or so. It tweaked a few times and then I did some easy spinning while climbing back to town for the 2nd loop. Spinning and climbing-interesting combo. We refueled at the hotel for the 2nd loop and had a nice boost from all our supporters there. Love that...imagine a training ride with people telling you "good job-have some more Heed" the whole way through. CAnt' beat it.
The 2nd loop was pretty good. The terrain isn't as bad as I had remembered. There are actually flat areas on the course. This is good. I thrive on flats. I faltered towards teh end and really felt the fatigue from the night before and my caloric deficit. That's ok...lesson learned.
We prepped to head off on the run adn I couldn't imagine how I'd feel. And the thought of a marathon. Ouch.
But hey....I felt good! How is that? Who knows but I'll take it. Mary and I cruised along sub 8 min pace--desperate to get back to Real Food!! We fantasized about burgers, frozen margaritas, and well, that's all I remember. that's what I wanted anyway. Ended up with yogurt, trail mix and water-but I'll take it!
The group coaches were there to give us high 5s and fill our ice baths for us!!! Literally! they ran into our rooms and ran the tubs and dumped ice for us. That was great. Felt like a spa for triathletes. To be catered to like that-to be reminded to take time to nice. For a Mom of 3 who is "ON" the second I return from long training days...that was a real treat.

I nearly tipped over from exhaustion at dinner that night. My eyes were bloodshot and I could barely focus on a conversation. Bed by 9:00. Lesson learned. Course examined. Long solid workout only one week post Half Ironman. Success.

The final day was a half marathon. we were entered in the race so we could run the course. The roads were clogged with the racers so we figured we'd join them. I ran slow. I felt ok but did not push it. I just took a long aerobic run pace. I needed to have legs to attack this week of training.

Now, my legs are back. I have had several great nights of sleep. I am feeling strong and ready to head into the final push.

I'm getting excited. And nervous. But mostly excited. I can tell I'm almost ready. Almost.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mooseman 70.3 Race Report

I had a great time yesterday. It was just what I needed. I got my game face back on, renewed my love for racing, and regained my confidence. Perfect.

My final time was 4:44:46
The Breakdown:
26:45 Swim (3rd woman, 15th overall)
2:40:02 Bike 21 mph (3rd woman, 107th oa)
1:35:15 Run 7:17 pace (6th woman, 99th oa)

Finish: 3rd overall woman, 1st age group, 67th overall

I drove to middle of nowhere New Hampshire on Friday afternoon. Seriously, there is nothing over there. It's beautiful. That's about it. I met my friend Mike at our Inn and started to get settled. Mary, (Ironmatron) met us a few hours later. Seven of my teammates (Team NorEaster) were staying at this Inn together. It was fine. It was Great to have us all together...the accomodations were just a little...small. I guess that's the best way to put it. We did fine however.

Saturday we got up super early for the day before a race (5:30) so we could watch the International distance race. We had a lot of friends racing. It was fun to see them and it's a good way to get excited for our own event.

The rest of the day was spent shuffling gear, warming up,attempting to rest, eating neurotically (I swear I get crazy about everything that goes in my mouth the day before a long distance event), registering and finally-racking our bikes.

This didn't go as smoothly as someone with the Maiden name Small would like. (personal joke-we Smalls aren't always 'go with the flow' types-we try but we like our plans...) Just as I was about to stick my bike # on, I realized it said 530. Stop. Chip was 529, envelope 529. All the rest: 530. Not good. Back to the registration desk I went. I was basically forced to wait until race morning to resolve the issue. I didn't like this. I like all logistics dealt with Before race morning. I was forced to 'go with the flow.' A few deep breaths and I was good to go. Right Mary? :) I think I did ok. But honestly, I wasn't feeling so hot on Saturday. Nothing specific. Just off. My head hurt, my eyes hurt in a tired sort of way, I wasn't all fired up about the race. This worried me. Typically I am nervous. Here's the thing, the other half Ironman races I've done were my Big races of the year. I have been so focused on Ironman Lake Placid that I didn't have time to get worried about Mooseman.

It took some real self-talk to get my head in the game. I had been there on and off during the week, but I had to gather myself back to race mode on Saturday night.

Around 6:30, I started to feel better. I was eating dinner with Mike, Mary, Kim, Tina and Tim when my husband and little boys flew overhead. My hubby is a pilot and has a small plane he useds for business. He flew the kids over for the race. yeah! I was so happy to have them there. They landed at the airport up the road from the pizza joint. Airport---it was 1 uneven runway surrounded by woods, fields and cows. that's it. Pretty funny.

Enough pre-race babble. Time for the fun stuff.

I got my number issue resolved quicker than expected. Off to Transition I hurried. We had arrive at the site about 45 minutes later than I would have liked so I did feel a little hurried. Oh well. I had to 'go with the flow' again. It's good for me. I got myself 95% settled and then off to the beach we went. I did miss a few things because of the time....hopefully it didn't cost me too much.

The water was cold but not like last year. I wasn't worried. The wind picked up as soon as we hit the shoreline. The water was a little rough because of this. Again, no problem. I'm comfortable in the water so this really works to my advantage in the end. The waves of men started. Jeff ( my bro) was in wave 2 and I felt nervous for him. His first half. I knew he'd do great. He's an incredible swimmer so I imagined I could see him out in front.

Our turn. Wave 5.

Mary and I positioned ourselves on the left, out front, next to the buoy. GO GO GO GO GO!!! that's it. I finally had it. I followed coach Jen's advice and Hammered for ~200 yards. I put my head down and got my lead. After that it was all about digging deep. pull pull pull lats lats lats sight -repeat. It was a long swim. After about 5 minutes, I saw a pink cap pull up next to me. Ok. I can deal with this. She stayed within sight for the entire swim. This was good. On the way back into the shore, I caught many many men. It was hard to navigate through them but I don't think I lost too much.

I sighted on the arch and pushed hard. I really didn't kick too much. My legs just moved behidn me in a rhythmic manner. I would need them more later. pull pull pull pull

I swim in as far as possible. the day before I notice how many people stand up when they're still chest deep. If you do that....take my advice and don't. Swim until your hands hit the sand. It's much faster to do that then stand and waddle in. So I stood up and immediately heard Mark. "GO BABY" He always says that. cracks me up. I was moving well. felt in control.

Flopped on the wetsuit stripper mat and hollered for help!! pull it! I made sure they knew I meant it. Off I went.

The announced was saying, "first women age groupers! Here we go!..." It gets me revved up.

I headed off on the bike and tried to breath.

This is where it starts for me. Easy part is done. My heart rate was rockin'. It took miles for me to settle down. And there were many hills to climb on those miles.
The bike was uneventful. And this is good. My mission for this ride was to 'take risks.' Jen has encouraged us to do this. I have completed a Half Ironman and raced two. And I was ready to race this one. I was determined to push hard for the entire bike and see what I could do with the run. I really worked the entire bike. I passed men and I played cat and mouse with others. At one point, I found myself riding alone. I realized if I stayed that way for too long the ride would feel like a training ride. So I had a new mission to catch more men. I would do anything it took to get back into a pack. Another 10-20 minutes went by and I had people to race again. There, back in the game.
This was a 2 loop bike. I wasn't sure I liked this but turns out it was perfect. My parents, my husband and 3 kids, my sister in-law and her 3 kids were all at the 27 mile mark. From mile 20-27 I looked forward to it, then I had the fast happy burst of cheers and waves and of course "GO BABY!" from Mark and then for the next several miles I worked off that little push. Big push Actually!! Again from miles 50-55 I anticipated seeing them and then mile 55-56 it was all about adrenaline and preparation for the run.
I really do feed off the crowds. Pulling back into the park, hearing the announcer say my name and that I was one of the first females to come through, well it's extremely motivating. I fumbled my way through T2 (my socks were rolled backwards...had to turn it around because the heel was on top...hope that wasn't the 14 seconds I lost by) and headed out for 13.1 miles of who knows what!
I ran up the little hill out of T2 onto the road and was greeted by my 8 family members. I was SO happy to have them there!!! thanks guys!!!! Cameron and Tommy were standing there, "Hi mommy." Leigh and exchanged smiles and a little nod and Mom and Dad were there with cameras. I'm sure Mark yellled too..... as I said...he always does. He's not a quiet guy.
Off I went. Moment of truth. Hmmm....well.....OUch!
My shins were tight!!! The muscles on my shins were so so tight and sore. Strange. I just hoped they would loosen.
The run is out and back and out and back. We run along the lake with tall cliffs on our left. Beautiful. I do love this run. You can see far in front of you. I spotted my brother not far in front of me. I came upon him within a few minutes and told him to go easy for a bit, to get his groove. Take his time. He said it was all about 'one foot in front of the other.' Me too. I assured him, me too. From there I could see 2 more Nor'Easter tri shirts up ahead. I could tell by the gait it was Mike and Tim. Ok, good, catching the boys. :0)
Slowly but surely my legs loosened up. I climbed the first big hill and the second. Feeling good. Feeling Great for that matter. Time to go for it. Take more risks. My plan was to hold the pace until mile 11. At that point I would throw it all down. That was Plan A. I was learning to 'go with the flow' this weekend though.
Miles 1-5 were 7:03, 7:13, 7:23 (hill I think/hope), 7:15, 6:57. I was psyched. So far, so good.
As I neared the turn around, my male team members were also making the turn. Time for some teasing. As they headed back I gave them each high 5s and told them, "I'm coming to getcha!" :0) I'm not sure if they appreciated my humor or not but I couldn't let that opportunity pass me by.
Heading back to the half way mark I felt excellent. Legs were loose and strong. I held my pace. 7:11, 7:36, 7:26....
The dreaded middle 3. Miles 7-8-9. Ahhh. These almost killed me. I swear they were all uphill. The biggest hill is around mile 8 or 9 and I almost fell down. walked. Tipped over. It wasn't pretty. I was doing the ironman a half ironman. Well, I told you I was taking risks. My tank was almost empty. I was laying it all out there.
At this point I was replaying the words in my head: " accept the pain-embrace the pain." I was reminding myself that I was not the Only one climbing this hill for the 2nd time. I was not the only one suffereing. But I would handle it as well as anyone. I would feel the pain and rest at the finish line. You don't push hard for 66 miles to stop with 4 to go. Up and over the hill I went and down towards the final turn.
8:06, 7:49, 7:29 coming back to life a little-just a little
the quads were burning-shuttting down. That's ok. I had enough.
And then with about 3+ miles to go-she appeared. I might have seen her before that. I am not clear now. But she was 38 y.o. and Ripped. this woman was tall and very strong. Her back was cut her legs were muscular. She was running well. We were running step for step. Where did she come from?? I had my work cut out for me if I was going to beat her. I was hanging on but she appeared to have a little bit more than me. I was going to stay with her, maybe 5 steps back, but I would get her at the end. I had to. But oh...I hurt so bad.
We ran and ran. Step for step. My friend Melissa ran with us for a bit and I could tell she noticed this dual. I ran directly behind her, then next to her, then in front, and then behind.
Mile 11. I took some coke. I hoped it would give me that super powered kick I thought I might need. 7:33
Mile 12. Time to rock. Um. Guess I had to go with the flow again...I was on empty. The legs were barely moving...closer and closer. 12.3, 12.5. 12.6 I could see the end.
Down over the bank--she was 10 steps ahead at thsi point. Oh no. To the right for the 2nd loop, to the left for the Finisher line. WAIT?!!!!!!!!!
You can see what's coming here. She headed off for another loop!!! ha!! I clobbered her! how funny is that. No wonder she had more left.
I was jumping with happiness already. Down the finish line I went. I love that moment. The family was all there and I was smiling so so big.

I watched all my friends and my brother come in. We were so happy. I am so proud of all of us.

I woke up this morning and realized that train had run over me in my bed. I am unbelievably sore. That's ok. I put it all out there. I am on recovery mode today. I am forcing myself to sit, ice, take a hot bath, and just chill.
Next up: training camp in Lake Placid. We leave Thursday. I hope these legs can move by then!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Now it's starting to Look like race week

As I said yesterday, it's race week.
The house is starting to show signs.
Zipps are leaning against wall. spare tires are on the chair. Race belt is well, on me right now. I didn't want to forget it while I carried the armfulls of boy clothes up the stairs.
wetsuit is folded and in the bag. Team tri suit is out. Ugly aero helmet is in the bag. The speed laces are laying next to the shoes--waiting. I do hate speed laces.
I become a little neurotic before these things.
why do I feel the need to totally clean the house before I go? I alwasy like the house in order, this is very true. But it's worse before races.
It's like I'm nesting. I nested before the babies were born. But this....this is a Half Ironman! Not a Baby!!
I am even more conscious of every little bite I eat. I am usually very good about this but now, it's "worse." It gets to the point that I will avoid eating anything if I don't think it's the right thing. This is never good. And, no worries everyone, it doens't last more than a few hours. I always manage to find something that will do. Actually, I even managed to take a small bite of Nick's peanut butter cookie today. It was big. He got it at preschool. I think he needed help, just a little never hurt anyone.
The nerves are slowly but surely catching up. I feel ready.
The taper is kicking in. I have more energy and feel a lot less 'beat up' than I have in recent weeks. I actually feel super in the water. As I've said before, I do wish this mattered more! oh well. I'll have my final run tomorrow morning. I hope that feels as good as the pool did.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Race week

I have a Half Ironman on Sunday. This is hard for me to believe. I have only done 3 in my life. Each time, they have been a MAJOR focus of my season. THE focus for that matter.
Not this time. This time, I am all about 140.6 on 7/26/09.
And yet, 70.3 is Nothing to take lightly. And of course, I dont' take any race lightly.
So this is race week. I am slowly but surely calming my thougths for Sunday. Getting ready. Phsycially. And mentally.

That's not what this post is about. I will save more race chatter for a later in the week.

I had some intense training last week. It wasn't that it was so Hard....but it was just intense.
Let's just say that during the middle of one of my rides, I had to make a conscious decision to focus on all that I was Feeling.
I was surely alive that day. My senses were on overload.
It was a cold rainy week in Maine. Spring is either glorious here in the Northeast, or, quite frankly, miserable. We had a miserable week.
I went for a 2 hr ride towards the end of last week. No big deal. I was in my hometown...ready for a nice moderate ride. I know how to dress for runs at every temperature. I have been trying to learn this for biking. I typically overdress. Not This time! I would not be crazy layered Ange. I left the bike shop in town with short, a thin shirt and a jacket. About 10 min into the ride, I knew I had messed up.
First, it started to pour. And then the wind howled. I coudn't wear my glasses. They were covered with water and fog.
It poured and poured and poured.
One hour into the ride, my feet and hands started to burn. I was wishing they'd go numb. Instead, pain. I could feel the water splatter up my back. I was so wet, at times I felt like I was naked. I even checked to make sure my shorts weren't ripped! They were just so wet! I felt every single pellet of water on my face, splashing into my eyes. There were rivers in the roads. Cars sped by me splashing me even more. I felt sorry for myself. I could barely engage my leg muscles to pedal they were so frozen. My left quad stopped working.
Then it hit me.... I was feeling every thing. And for that, I felt lucky. It wasn't a comfortable feeling. It wasn't the pleasant pain of a hard workout. We all love that. This was something different. It might have felt better to be in my warm sweats with a cup of tea, but instead I chose to feel lucky that I was experiencing this intense misery and getting through it. That sounds dramatic. Intense misery. Of course it wasn't That bad. But by the time I got back to the shop, I was at the end of my rope. I couldn't use my hands to put the key in the car door. It took me about 15 min just to get the wet stuff off and the bike in the car. My feet were 100% numb. Hours later, I wwarmed up.
Not all workouts can be done when it's 70 degrees and sunny. In fact, perfect conditions are rare. I was not a happy camper out there but do still feel lucky that I can get through nasty moments well enough to feel all the feelings and savor the next beautiful day even more.