It’s All a Blur (Ironman Training Week 24)

It's All a Blur (Ironman Training Week 24)

This Week In Numbers
Swim:  16,863 yards (That’s a new record!)
Bike: 302.49 miles (Another another record!)
Run: 45 min of pool running
Total Time:   23:31:20 (And I believe another record!)

I am pleased to announce that I am over my meltdown of last week.  Talk about dark places.  That foot injury just took it out of me mentally.  Thanks to some AMAZING friends (who know when to be honest) and AWESOME coaches, I got the slap in the face I needed.  I snapped out of the slump mid-week with a newfound commitment to my training, my body AND IRONMAN ST. GEORGE!  I have to share with you the words that hit me like a freight train from another (AMAZING) athlete who I know and trust:

“If you are really dedicated to doing well in IMSG you need to commit to recovering your injury…..You are an intelligent person so don’t get caught up in the vicious cycle of wigging-out mentally and prolonging the healing process by doing stupid stuff.”

BAMMM!!!!!  Like a tons of bricks my own stupidity was sitting in my lap.  My foot hurts, then why in the world am I trying to run on it………not once, but twice in one day?  What is there to gain from running up and down the hall just to see if the swelling means it still hurts?  I’M INJURED!  IT’S TIME TO RECOVER!  I can’t express how quickly this realization came.  In those words was my answer.  I say that I want to do well………THEN I BETTER START ACTING LIKE IT!  And that is what I’m doing……..

Coach M ordered me off my foot and introduced pool running at the end of the week.  I was commissioned to bike like a mad man and swim like a fish……..I did it all happily!  This week I clocked some impressive mileage.  I actually can’t believe it when I look at it.  That’s a HECK of a lot of swimming and biking!  It all went by in a blur of hours.  Before I knew it the athletes and coaches of HT Training were converging on St. George for what would be our LAST long workout before IMSG.  The problem……..Mother Nature had no intention of cooperating.  Even in the least.

My relationship with Mother Nature is a dicey one.  Some days we are good buddies and the next I am cursing her name and tempting her to give me more.  Every time I have even thought about my bike lately the breeze picks up.  I think she was toying with me before her main event!

A storm front moved into Southern Utah on Friday that dropped the temperature to 40 degrees.  It was windy, cloudy, AND WET!  Our 7 hour bike ride plans quickly went down the drain as our group huddled in the over hang of a local church trying to decide if it was worth it to ride.  We figured a pool workout would buy us some time and we could try again.  Off to the pool……..AGAIN!

Just keep swimming....Just keep swimming....

I seriously was starting to feel like a fish by the end of the week.  I don’t even think my bathing suit was drying in between dips in the pool.  I was running on tired arms from the previous days 4000 straight swim, but when you have all your athlete friends in one pool, nothing can hold you back.  The workout was AWESOME!  I got to be lapped continuously by Coach H and Ian (a new HT friend).  I honestly have no idea how they swim as fast as they do.  I’m pulling and kicking my heart out trying to float and stroke correctly and they blast by me like I am standing still.  I honestly think in our 2000 straight set they passed me at least 10 times 🙂  After drills and a few fast 100s we hit the showers to prepare for the bike.  It appeared to be a bit less wet…………

…………NOT IN THE LEAST!  As I un-racked my soaking wet bike from the car I was DREADING what we were about to do!  Anyone who has trained with me for any length of time knows that I am DEATHLY afraid of riding in wet conditions.  Just in September, I suffered a crash due to a puddle and a corner.  Click here to see the carnage.    I maintain a personal policy against riding in wet weather.  If I were to go to a race (including IMSG) and the weather is wet……I’M OUT!  There is no changing my mind.  It scares me to death to ride in those conditions for safety reasons.  Give me cold!  Give me warm!  Give me wind!  I’ll complain, but I will gut through it.  If there is rain or precipitation involved…….I DON’T!

So there I was in the parking lot of Sand Hollow Aquatic Center about to mount my soaking wet saddle and ride out into the wet and cold 40 degree temperatures.  THIS WASN’T GOING TO BE PRETTY!  The plan was to head towards Gunlock and make it up to the dam.  Snow…..there was going to be snow there……I just knew it!  I crept out of the parking lot and down the road.  I was refusing to go any faster than I was “comfortable” (which I was not at ANY time on this ride).  I didn’t care.  The boys could go.  I could be last.  I didn’t care!  I just didn’t want to crash!  The vision of the thigh-long bruise and the feeling of hitting the pavement from September were right on the surface.

WET!

I road and tried to find some semblance of comfort.  It wasn’t pouring, but it was drizzly rain.  The roads were soaked and SO WAS I!  The temperatures were in the low 40s and this was combining to be a very COLD experience.  As we headed down into the first canyon to the river, my toes were freezing.  The wind picked up in my face, but it seemed like the roads were a bit drier.  It didn’t stay like that for long.  It was wet and I was started to FREEZE!  My hands were soaked through my gloves and it actually felt like the water was coming up through my shoes.  THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY INSANE!  I was not in the least, little, tiny bit enjoying myself.

I finally made it to the dam and luckily everyone was turning around.  The boys were far ahead of me and I was pulling up the rear.  I was mad that I was at the end of the crowd, but too afraid to do anything about it.  I hated the fact that I had to turn around and go  DOWNHILL!  Another thing that you should know about me………..I DON’T LIKE DOWNHILL………..ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S WET!  I was living my biking nightmare.  I would squeeze my brakes and they barely worked because they were wet.  I WAS SO COLD!  My hands hurt and my feet were so painful that I was sure they were getting frostbite.  My core seemed to be “okay” so I figured at least I wouldn’t die.

COLD!

The last few miles were ABSOLUTELY brutal.  These conditions rivaled anything Leadman could have thrown at me the other weekend.  YES!  It was that bad!  My emotions were as raw as my toes and I was beginning to mentally meltdown.  The last mile was TORTURE!  I FINALLY pulled into the parking lot of the pool and noticed everyone’s bikes just laying on the sides of their cars……everyone was inside.  I dismounted and knew that I wasn’t going to be able to hold it together for very much longer.

I walked into the building and all the boys looked at me with giggling faces……My response, “I’m not happy.”  I turned and headed straight to the bathroom.  (Oh yea!  I forgot to mention how BADLY I needed to go to the bathroom….WHILE I was freezing cold!)  I sat on the toilet and started to sob……..

It is such an interesting experience to challenge your body and your mind.  Breaking points are interesting.  Sometimes and in some scenarios you can be as strong as a rock……other times you break like a twig.  I mentally broke!  My feet were SO COLD!  I couldn’t feel them.  I could hardly fix my clothes because my hands didn’t work.  I tried to collect myself after a few minutes and walked back out to where the boys were waiting.  I don’t remember what they said, or who said it……….but the tears started again.  I slumped against the wall and melted into a puddle.  I knew this weekend was meant to “break” us, but this I didn’t expect after a 30 mile ride (THAT TOOK 2 HOURS!).

Matt, one of the kindest men in my book, took my compression socks off and walked me to the pool so I could warm my feet up (in the water that felt SO COLD when I got in this morning).  I sat there and he rubbed my back and my feet.  SERIOUSLY!  He is amazing!  I appreciated him so much, but I don’t know if I told him.  As my feet thawed into red and white spectacled dots, the tears dried up.  I have never been so grateful to be told that a workout was over than at this moment.  After some pizza and motivational speaking from Coach H, I was headed back to the pool for water running while the group headed back out in the cold for one loop of the IMSG run course.  The day was over……..Mother Nature won!

Our long ride was rescheduled for the next morning.  What a difference a day makes?  I typically do not train on Sunday.  It is another one of those policies.  I took this as an exception for the mere fact that this was IT!  This was the last long day.  It turned out to be a GREAT day!

What a difference a day makes?!?!?

We road most of the bike course and I added a bit more mileage by coming back down the long way.  The plan was for 100 miles and I wanted 100 miles.  I knew my total mileage for the week was just over 200 and I wanted to see 300 🙂  After going through my usually 3 and a half hour slump, I perked up and felt like a ROCKSTAR from mile 70 on.  I honestly couldn’t believe how good I was feeling.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t tired…..I just wasn’t wasted.  I was okay.  I saw Ironman.  I saw myself completing a great bike ride with good energy.  OH!  HOW I NEEDED THAT FEELING!  I finished my 98 miles very content with my day.  After a bit of Cafe Rio my HT family drove away………….leaving me with a very surreal feeling.

This was it!  It is done!  There will be more workouts and I’m sure some of them will be difficult to accomplish, but the work is done.   THE HAY IS IN THE BARN!  What was shocking was that, physically, I was okay.  Maybe because I haven’t been running.  Maybe because I really am that well trained.  Whatever it is…….I FEEL GOOD!  My body, mind and spirit are where they need to be right now.  I’m still anxious about Ironman day.  That won’t go away.  But I’m okay.  I’m in a good place.  I’m almost ready to sign up for another Ironman.  I don’t want this to end…………HOW WEIRD AM I?  I love this training.  I love dedicating myself to this sport.  It has been stressful and trying and such a major sacrifice for my children and my husband………but I made it out FEELING GREAT!  Let’s hope it lasts………

I figure I won’t sign up for another event just yet……..I’ll finish this one first 🙂  This last week went by in a blur……..but so did the past 6 months of training.  Here I am at the precipice of something BIG and I’ve never been more ready, nor more excited than I am right now.

 


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