I officially hit my taper this past Tuesday. The 20 mile runs and 112 mile bikes are out of the way. The next time I will hit those numbers is on race day. I forced myself to finally swim 2.4 miles in the pool yesterday - it was the longest swim of my adult life - so I've done all the distances (2.4 mile swim, 26.2 mile run, and 112 mile bike) during the 30 week training plan. So now we'll see if I can do all three of them in one day!
My Race Day Plan
Two weeks ago I was terrified. Now I'm ready to get this party started. I have no idea how I'm going to feel 8 miles into the run. The longest run I've done after a 5+ hour bike ride was a little less than 7 miles. It wasn't too bad, but I wasn't racing on the bike, and I knew that I was only running for an hour.
Time goals? Not really. I guess under 14 hours would be a goal, but since I may or may not blow up in the run I'm not going to hold my breath. And who knows what will happen on the bike... I'm saying a big prayer for no mechanical failures, but I did flat the last time I rode that course.
My race plan is to get in line for the swim early enough that I'm not last in the water -- since it is self seeded that's going to be pretty early. I just don't want to risk missing the bike cutoff, since as stated above, who knows what can happen... no flat tires, no flat tires, no flat tires! As for the bike I'll try to keep my heart rate around 130-140ish, which should be a slower pace than Musselman, and to not hammer on the hills (which I have a tendency to do.) I also know I need to really make sure I drink the Perform drink throughout the course. It looks like it should be close to 90 on race day (much better than close to 100, but still hot) and also remember to do some salt tablets and gels. The marathon -- I just hope I don't crash and burn. This will be my 9th marathon and there have been a couple where I did crash and burn. Granted, one of them I was pregnant with Jack and my digestive track told me it was not having it at the 15th mile so I walked 8 miles. I think that ended up being 5:36. The other one I broke my foot at mile 17 and ended up with 4:53. I'm going to start out with 10 minute miles, making sure to really hydrate and replace calories in the first few miles, and hope I can keep it there but I would not be surprised if I can't.
It's going to be a long day.
Something that has been on my mind
Last week while I was at the beach I saw a news article online about a triathlete in upstate NY, very close to where I did Musselman, who was killed riding her bike the previous Sunday morning. As it turns out, she was one of the women I raced with just two weeks prior. I have no idea if we chatted or stood in the finish shute together. I do know she was, like me, a teacher, a mother of two, and someone who likedsolo long rides at sunrise on Sundays. A couple in their early 20s was driving home from a long night of drinking and partying -- the woman in a car and the boyfriend on his motorcycle. He attempted to pass his girlfriend on the right, where the cyclist was riding on the shoulder. He knocked the bicycle in front of his girlfriend's car, which ended the cyclists life.
What a senseless tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with her, her husband and their two children.
I think of all the solo long rides I have done this summer, and how that could be any of us. I met a couple from near Charlottesville at the Lousiville training weekend and the husband told me he trains almost exclusively on his trainer bike because he is afraid of getting hit by a drunk driver. This just makes me sad. I don't think I'd be doing this race if my long rides were reduced to sitting on a stationary bike in my basement. Although the training has been tough, the beauty I've seen on the 4-7 hour rides is the reason I love being on my bike. I've seen gorgeous sunrises, horses, bales of hay, mountains, fields of flowers, rock quarries...
I guess that's just what it is... every time you get on a bike, you're at a risk, because you and a few pounds of aluminium are no match for a big black SUV . I wear my helmet, I follow traffic rules, and I guess that is all I can do.
Some thoughts on the training
The volume of training in this program is insane. The ONLY reason I was able to do this with two kids is because the peak training came when I was not working and I have a fabulous husband who took the kids during the 4-5 ridiculous long ride/ brick days. Had I been working, my poor children would have been in daycare 5 days a week and then not seen me for 6-8 hours yet ANOTHER day of the week. Even the weekdays were intense since most days had workouts with two disciplines.
I think marathon training is going to seem like a walk in the park, time wise. I can actually finish just about all my sessions before work.
Will I do this again? Maybe. Maybe not. We'll have to see, and if I do, the race date will have to be chosen with this in mind (yes, this the whole reason I'm doing IM Louisville despite the brutal heat factor - the date just was the only one that worked for our family.) I have loved the training - well, most of it -- but it has also been all consuming.
I do think it has increased my mental toughness. Most of my long rides and bricks have been solo. I've done a few 16-18 milers all alone, and many many 8-10 milers in 90 degree heat with only my itunes for company.
Ironman Lousiville, here I come.