So, it’s 1:47 am and I am totally awake. In fact I got up about an hour ago. I don’t know what my problem is. I was really tired yesterday after our race on Saturday, so I should have been able to sleep through the night with no problem. I think I’m starting to realize how little time we have until Ironman Arizona (IMAZ). We have five weeks to go, but really only two weeks of hard training, then lighter training, then taper. So, it feels ominously close now. I think all the excitement around the Ironman World Championships in Kona this past weekend also has me inspired and nervous to think that I am going to try to do a race like that.
On Saturday, we did half that distance… at the Waterman’s Half Ironman in Marbury, MD. This was the last big event in our training. We have nothing else on our schedule except training and then IMAZ. The good thing about doing Waterman’s was that the swim was a little cold. So I got to swim again in my neoprene swim cap and full wetsuit. Except for being a little choppy, the swim was easy and uneventful. As for the bike, I knew it would be a hilly course, so I planned to just take it easy. Then, when we had torrential rains leading up to the start, I really decided to take it easy. For me, wet roads + hills = go slow. So, that’s what I did. I also did some things in transition that I plan to do at IMAZ: such as put on warm clothing after the cold swim (in this case, arm warmers and a vest), and I put on totally new socks for the run in T2. This stuff made my transition times ridiculously long, but I didn’t mind. I need to be willing to do what I need to do to make the rest of the race go smoothly. (In faster races, I would sacrifice comfort for shorter time in transition. It’s hard to change that mentality, but for Ironman, it seems important. A few minutes putting on nice, dry socks could make all the difference!) It was also a good race, because the run is three loops – like IMAZ – so that helped us work on the psychological side of breaking down the run.
The bike was not very indicative of how well I can do. Not only did I take it easy, but I also could not get my bike to stay in the big chain ring. Before racking my bike, we discovered that my rear brake was rubbing something awful. Craig loosened a cable and fixed it, so that was great. But then, when I took off on the bike leg, I noticed I was in the small chain ring for some reason. I tried to get in the big chain ring (that’s where I do most of my riding), but it wouldn’t jump up there or stay there. So, I did the first 20 miles or so in the small chain ring. It was nice and easy on the hills, but all the spinning was getting to me. I finally got it to go in the big chain ring for a while a couple of times, but on one big hill, I had to go to the small ring or die. So, I did, and after that I eventually gave up and stayed in the small ring the rest of the ride. It sprinkled some on the bike, and I saw a guy totally wipe out in front of me on a turn. (He was okay.) So, that solidified my decision to continue to take it easy on the bike. In a way, it worked out well that I had decided to take this no-pressure approach, because if I had wanted to hammer the bike course and then found out that I could not get into my big chain ring, I would have been frustrated and disappointed. As it was, I just brushed it off. It felt good not to worry.
Interestingly, when I came in for the final turn on the bike and could see the runners going out, I saw a guy go down on the run also. He wasn’t watching where he was stepping and apparently stepped on something that took him down. I felt bad for him. But I also took it as a warning to myself. Watch the terrain on the run!
The run was not bad at all. The overcast sky and cooler temperatures helped. It was also great to see Craig twice on the three-loop course. He was way ahead of me, as I knew he would be. He can handle himself well on the bike – rain or shine. So, he had a great bike and was a whole loop ahead of me on the run. The run had some decent hills, and part of it was on a muddy, lumpy trail. It wasn’t too bad, but it did slow me down some. All in all, I was happy with the run. I carried my secret weapon with me: Tums Freshers! They are peppermint-flavored Tums that come in a small easy-to-carry container. They shake around and make a lot of noise, but they are life-savers when your stomach is just a little off going into the run. So, on two of the three loops, I picked a water stop where I put a few in my mouth and drank some water. It was so nice – that peppermint flavor and soothing feeling for my tummy! I was so glad I had those!
My nutrition is still a bit worrisome. I have been doing Clif shot blocks and Hammer Perpetuem solids in my training. Every time I take one or the other on the bike, I go through this I-have-to-burp period of discomfort … until I burp. Then, I’m fine until the next time I take in some more. It seems like a necessary evil. I actually don’t think I’m taking in nearly enough calories. This worries me for the Ironman. I just don’t like to eat when I’m exercising. But I know that will mean bonking, so I need to force myself. I’m going to try to work on this some more these next two weeks.
So, in the end, I finished at 6:13, which is not fabulous for other people — but a PR for me by six minutes. That sort of makes me wonder how well I would have done if I had tried harder. I got second in my age group, too. And that would have *totally* been the title of this blog post – if not for the fact that there were only three people in my age group at this little race. Hey, I beat one person! 🙂 … Craig had a bigger field (10 people) and took 3rd in his age group, so that is more impressive. He really rocked it, too. I am so proud of him! And, maybe we both qualified for age group nationals! (I have to admit that I don’t really know how that works…)
So, despite the ups and downs, I was absolutely pleased with this race for many reasons. First of all: no flat tires!!! Secondly, we did the race despite the rain. Yay us! And finally, it was just so great to race with Craig again and see him do so well. I was pleased when he did well at ChesapeakeMan also. Craig had various injuries and issues last year, and I have to admit that when we started training for IMAZ together, I kind of pictured myself catching him on the run. But now that he has done so well in his training and racing this year, I simply picture him finishing his race and waiting for me at the finish line. And that’s just fine by me!
This coming week, we have another massage, and I will go see my primary care physician for a check-up. I just thought it would be a good idea before IMAZ. I am not having any issues whatsoever, and I know my doctor won’t be able to tell me anything new. But since I only have one kidney, I just wanted to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s and check all the boxes.
Now to make it through these final weeks!…