My Ironman countdown on my homepage is at 47 days. That can't be right...
Ugh... but it is...
We've entered into our first of 4 Hell Weeks in training. To give you an idea of how the week will shape up, here's the plan:
Yesterday - 5 mile faster run
Tuesday - 4 hour bike (2 hours together, 2 hours alone)
Wednesday - 3 lap swim at the lake (a little more than a mile), 3 mile run
Thursday - 100 mile bike
Friday - 17 mile run
Saturday - 5 lap swim (around 1.75 miles)
Sunday - 5 mile run, short swim
What doesn't kill me can only make me stronger right???
This past weekend we were supposed to do Rhode Island 70.3 and from what I've heard, we lucked out by not doing it - I guess conditions were pretty brutal. Since we decided to stay home, we had what Tom called an A.S.S. (Asphalt Suck Session) run of 10 miles on Friday. Seriously, I now know what it feels like to run in a sauna on a treadmill. HORRIBLE. But we managed through it. Saturday we both took it easy, hoping that we'd be a little more fresh for the Olympic we were racing on Sunday than we were last weekend for the sprint. The alarm sounded at 4am on Sunday for our 2+ hour drive. Remind me why I love this so much?
Got to the race site earlier than usual because we had to pick up race packets and because the race director had sent out an email saying that over 700 people were registered and that they didn't have enough parking for everyone. Lovely. We had no problems finding a spot, got our packets, set up transition, pottied and looked at the bike show. It's not usually like that in Ohio so it was fun!
They told us that the water was 73 so we grabbed out wetsuits and headed down to the water. Now, I'm a huge fan of my wetsuit... it's kind of like my crutch when I swim. Lately I've been swimming without it because a) IMKY isn't wetsuit legal and b) because the water at the local lake is like a bathtub. Thinking that Caesar Creek was going to be cool was a nice thing... it was already getting hot near 8:00. And donning my wetsuit made me feel like a triathlete again.
They were wrong...
My wave didn't go off until around 8:40. I was in the women 39 and under wave. I got in and was super comfortable right off the bat. But I was starting to get hot very quickly. Like panic hot. I kept with a pack for most of the swim. By about 1/4 of the way through the first lap of the two lap swim, I thought about taking my wetsuit off. I've never been hot in a swim and I was on fire. I tried to think cool thoughts. The water hitting my face was warm, and the water in my wetsuit was even warmer. The water was DEFINITELY not 73 degrees. I managed through 2 laps and was greeted by a cool breeze when I got out of the water and took my wetsuit off. Yikes. My swim time (which included a run to T1) was 28:22. Oh and I'm super sorry to the girl who I got to 2nd base with on at least two occasions. I really didn't mean anything by it! :)
My rack was alllllll the way at the end of transition. Lots of running barefoot. I was in and out in 1:30 though - guess I didn't mess around.
The bike course was new this year. As we drove into the park, we were on the course and in the car, it looked challenging. The announcer in the morning said that they brought back an old course which was technical and hilly, in case we missed the hills. It worried me a little, but I already was in the mindset that it wouldn't be a PR kind of day. The first 5 miles or so I had a horrible cramp in my butt. It happened to me last year at 2 or 3 races. It's a stabbing pain in my leg cheek (TMI???) and I get it only right on the bike. I'm not sure if it's related to be horizontal in the swim or what, but it's very painful. I tried to push through it knowing that it would eventually work it's way out and it did. Luckily the first couple of miles were very fast. Overall, I loved the course. It was hilly, but definitely rolling. I saw a lot of the people from the sprint tri who were struggling at the end of their ride so I made a mental note of what was to come. I passed a bunch of girls, a handful of guys and was passed by maybe one or two people max. I felt super comfortable, pushing the pace when I could and recovering when I needed to. I was happy. 24.8 miles in 1:12. It wasn't a PR for me, but I was happy with a 20.7 average. Plus I think I was 7th fastest woman on the bike out of 61, bum butt at the beginning and all!
T2 was a little bit of a cluster. As I was coming in off the bike, I had to again, run my bike all the way to the end. Of course all of the racks before mine were sprint people and they were lallygagging about transition, packing up their stuff. The announcer finally yelled that there were bikes coming in and some of the moved. Again, I was happy with my time though - 1:15 in and out.
I had looked at my watch and saw that I had a chance to PR. My previous best Olympic was a 2:42:15. I had a goal of going under 2:40 this year. I felt great going out on the run. My mind was in a good place. I hit the first mile marker at 7:20. What? Better pull back (I later learned that the mile marker was very short... thank God!). The run is a two loop, over a dam, in the sun run. The first lap I felt comfortable, but I could tell I was getting hot, and hadn't eaten anything yet. When my second lap started, I slowed waaaaay down. I took my visor off because it felt like it was going to make my head pop off. I stopped for water at every aid station, drinking some and pouring the rest on my head. I ate something. I was passing people, but was sluggish. I knew that I once again wasn't going to pull together a great run in a tri. It's super frustrating because I know that I'm capable of running low 8:00's for a 10k (heck, I ran a 48 flat this year). I just kept pushing to the finish, trying not to look at the time.
I ended up crossing the line in 2:38:33! Not only had I broke the 2:40 mark, I PR'ed by 3:45! I was super excited! Tom was there at the finish line and our friends Tracy, Jim and Zach all stuck around after kicking major butt in the sprint (Tracy was the overall female, Jim won his AG and Zach placed 5th in his AG in his second tri) to cheer us on. It was great!
Tom had a kick ass race too - finishing in 2:28:27. He beat a guy who he's been after for years (the guy doesn't know that Tom tries to beat him every race which is super funny, but it motivated Tom and that's all that matters). We grabbed a drink, some food and waited around to see that we had both placed 2nd in our divisions! I was thrilled with 2nd out of 11, and was only a minute back from first. If I can put together a decent run, I'll be all set!
After we got our stuff put away in the car, we did the only thing people with an Ironman in 47 days would do - we went for a 4 mile run. It was so blasted hot, and we shuffled along, but it was nice to talk to Tom about our races and know that we had left everything at Caesar Creek. I think this picture says it all!!!