My first Century Ride is in the books and I really couldn't have been happier! While there were many great things about this ride, the best part was that there was a group of us doing it together. For me, Stew & Michelle though, we were Century Virgins. I know it sounds super cheesy but to be able to experience a milestone like this with others is just awesome! I'm not going to give you a detailed play by play about this ride, just hit the high points as I saw them for the day. Today I feel a lot like I did the day after my first 70.3....just plain proud of myself for doing something I never thought I would do (at least in my pre-IMTX life).
We would be leaving from Terramont Park at 7:30am. I went to bed early so I could be sure to get up early, eat & do a last minute check of my gear. All was going well until I couldn't locate my phone. To make matters worse, I couldn't call it from my home phone b/c my home phone died due to a crappy battery. Hmm, where could it be? Duh, in my bike jersey pocket. Crisis avoided and I was on my way. After getting to the park, I got my stuff ready to go and tried not to look like a huge geek. This kind of stuff just gets me super excited! Anyway, there was some chit-chat as we got ready. For those of us who were new to this distance, our instructions were clear: stay in zones 1 & 2 and practice focus on nutrition. Easy breezy! Coach is a bit of a stickler for being on time and true to form, she got all of our butts moving and out of the park pretty darn close to 7:30am!
We rode about 45ish miles to our rest stop in Richards. Once there, we had an opportunity to take a bio break and make any purchases. I wanted to buy a few cups of ice to make sure my sports drink stayed nice and cool. Ironman Perform is noticeably saltier (to me) than other sports drinks so I need it cold to make it go down easier. Other than that, I came prepared with all my fluids and nutrition so I didn't need to buy anything just yet. With that, we were back on our way. The first half had gone very well and we were able to stay together as a group. The second half brought wind and rollers and Michelle & I began to hang back b/c we had strict instructions to monitor our HR zones so that's what we did. It was nice that we were in the same boat and so able to stay together. We were out on the IMTX course so I was trying to take it all in and making mental notes of where the tough parts were and think about my plan of attack on race day. We've been on this route many times as it's also part of the Iron Star Half Ironman course
For the past 3 long rides, I've hit a type of wall at mile 60. Not near mile 60, RIGHT AT mile 60. Maybe because this is roughly the 1/2 way point. Or maybe it's just because by this time, you're getting kind of sick of having a bike stuck up your you know what. Whatever the cause, thoughts creep in my head that I can really do without. I find myself thinking I need to drop out of IMTX and that I'm crazy for signing up and who do I think I am signing up for an event like this....I'M NOT AN ATHLETE! The last time these thoughts crept in, they lasted 15 miles. This time, they only lasted about 5 or 10 minutes (thank goodness). I had to remind myself that I am OK and I am doing just fine. "Stick with it JJ, (a nickname a guy at work has given me that I use when I talk to myself) you aren't a quitter". As we came upon 70 miles and 105, we spotted our teammates at a convenience store so Michelle & I pulled off. This time, I needed to buy water in addition to ice as the temps were defintely rising and my water wasn't as cool as I would like. We got back on our way and knew we were pretty much in the home stretch as we had 30 miles left. Yes!
With the exception of one steep hill and one scary road (149), the last 30 miles came & went with relative ease. 149 has basically no shoulder and there is lots of traffic. My HR would start climbing not b/c I was pushing it too much but b/c I was scared of the cars that seemed like they were right on my shoulder. Yikes! Michelle & I continued to stick together and look out for each other. Just as I was thinking this scary stretch of road would never end, we hit 1488 and the left turn I had been dreaming about for a few miles. Once we were on 1488, we had a very short distance to Spur 149 which is really the home stretch and is a very familiar stretch of road. By now, the sun was shining with all it's might and Michelle & I were loving it. Yes, we were getting warm and we were ready to be done with our accomplishment but we were both feeling good. I looked down as my Garmin hit 86.6 miles and I let her know we had officially gone further than we ever had before. Yes!!!!!! Once we hit 90 miles, it was basically a count down. Every couple of miles we would take turns telling each other things like, "only 8 miles left now" or "we got this, 6 miles left"! We were getting pretty excited.
As we turned on to 2978, we talked about the fact we knew this route was going to be a little short and there was no way we weren't riding a full 100 miles. This was our first Century and therefore our Garmin HAD to say 1-0-0. We decided that when we hit Terramont Park, we would pull in and then right back out. We passed our cars and kept on cycling. We only had to add on about 1 mile and we were hootin' & hollerin' back down Terramont. We saw Stew who was finishing his run and he cheered us on as well. We saw Coach G, Vanessa & Lynn who were also adding on mileage. When we turned back into Terramont Park for good, our watches said 100.35 miles. WE DID IT. Hopping of our bikes, sweaty & smelly, we high fived and hugged. Colin rode his Century the day before and was up there congratulating us.
You might think this is where the story end but you're wrong. You see, we're dedicated and focused triathletes training for a big race. After our 100 mile ride, our sweet Coach was kind enough to schedule us for a 30 minute run. We were so happy to have finished our ride, we hardly minded having to run in the hot sun. Michelle is a MUCH faster runner than me but was kind enough to slow her pace way down so we could run together. We talked, laughed and got our run done together. It was the best brick I've had in awhile and I couldn't have done it without her!
My longest training workout was a huge success! I did it! WE did it. I stuck to my nutrition plan and so had no issues with muscle cramping or feeling like passing it out. Huge! I listened to my coach and stayed in the correct HR zones even if it meant letting go of the "pack". My legs felt very good coming off the bike and I was able to replace the evil 60 mile thoughts with the visual of me crossing the finish line and hearing, "Jenny Miller, you are an Ironman"!
Galveston 70.3 is 2 short weeks from Sunday. Wow! IMTX is 8 short weeks from Saturday. What will become of my blog when these races are done? :(