A half ironman isn't easy, why would training for one be?
I had high hopes for my long ride this weekend....50 miles on the Ironstar bike course. This would be my chance to scope out the course and see how I might handle it. I had been looking forward to this ride all week. I WANTED to ride this course.
The morning started off well enough. We had a huge group heading out which was a lot of fun to see. After a short warm up, the super fast group took off. We started at 105 & Walden Rd. and pretty much stayed together to Richards. I did my best to stay with the pack but was having a lot of trouble pain wise due to the bruised crotch I was still sporting from last weekend. I wasn't too far back so wasn't really worried about it at this point.
Heading back out on the road, I drifted back a little further. I was frustrated with myself for not staying closer to the pack so I was probably letting in some negative talk but still didn't think it was too bad. As I approached the turn around point, I saw the pack and my coach let me know I didn't have far to go. I made the turnaround and got down about a mile or so when I decided I wanted some Gu chomps. I opened my aero bag and was pulling out some chomps when my truck key flew out of the bag. One bounce on the road, second bounce in the grass. I turned around as quick as I could do so safely & easily and started looking for my key. 10 minutes later, key was in hand but teammates were long out of site. Damn. I got back to 1486 and it was time to decide: left or right. I went right and went & went & went & went & went. No site of teammates, nothing. I second guessed myself and decided to start calling someone near a computer to pull up a map. Long, long story short, I turned back and went the other way on 1486 assuming I had gone the wrong direction. Little did I know but had I gone a few more miles, I probably would've run into my teammates who were waiting for me. At this point, I was just getting angry & frustrated. Angry at myself for not remembering my map. Frustrated that this ride was quickly going down the crapper. I tried to just take it easy & not stress out b/c at this point, there was nothing I could do but figure it out.
I made it back to Richards where I stopped to refill my fluid and check in with my mom. I had decided at this point to just get back on 149 and head to 105 where I would then be 2-3 miles from my truck. Easy enough. I get back on the bike and the negative talk starts again. Why are you here? What makes you think you can actually finish a 70.3 race? You do realize as bad as this is, you'll be on the bike WAY longer during Ironman. I finally said, "SHUT UP" out loud. I was tired of the self-doubt and knew I had at least 20 miles back to my truck. 20 miles of wind & hills. Now was not the time to doubt myself. YOU CAN DO THIS! After that, it was like a switch had flipped and I knew it was going to be fine. I had told my mom I would check in with her periodically just so somebody knew where I was. I had been on the road since 8am and it was not approaching 12:30pm. A 50 mile ride had long exceeded 50!
As I made my 2nd venture of the day through the Sam Houston National Forest, I decided to just take it all in and enjoy the fact that I was healthy enough to bike for 4+ hours in a day! Sure, I ran out of fluids but I was prepared and bought more. It could be WAY worse. 12 miles to Montgomery, 19 miles to Huntsville. Yes! Almost there. I pull in to Montgomery and by this time, traffic has really picked up and it's time to cross a pretty big highway by myself. Yuck! The good news is I did it and did it safely so GO ME. My car was about 2 miles away at this point. I pedaled my little heart away paying no attention to the remaining hills. Wal-Mart was in site and so was my truck!
I got back to my truck, the only Team sTRIve person still out on the road long after an 8am start! While I had done a good job cheering myself up on the ride, I was done. It was time to go home and shower and relax. I had biked approximately 70 miles....my longest distance to date! So what if it was unintentional? :) A little while after being on the road, a teammate (and friend) called to check in on me. Lynn's really helped me out by helping me understand this stuff happens and it's ok. We had a good laugh about my adventure.
After being home a few hours, the negative talk creeped back in & I really started doubting whether or not I should be signed up for these long races. I broke down in tears. After about 30 minutes of self-pity, I knew I needed to put on my big girl panties and chill out. All workouts aren't going to be good. All races aren't going to be good. That's life. What's important to remember is that I've done the training. I'm healthy, I'm ready and I'm determined. If you ask me, those are 3 things that are really going to help get me though Ironstar Half Ironman in less than 2 weeks. The key is to come away from a "bad" workout with lessons learned & a good attitude.
For me, the lessons are easy. (1) Don't forget your map! (2) Review your course several times before heading out. (3) A bad training session is one you never attempt, not one that you finish!
Today is a much better day and I'm starting to feel back to normal. My body is tired and so is my brain from having over analyzed everything yesterday. I'm back at it tonight with a swim workout (that will have to be easy) and then mile repeats at the track tomorrow. I've got less than 2 weeks to race day and I am READY!