Last week was a big training week for me...my last build week. The two workouts I was most anxious about were my 100 mile ride and my 2.4 mile open water swim. In my head, it was do or die!
Due to a ridiculous schedule and the March of Dimes Walk (which I'm in charge of for my company) being Sunday, I would have to move my 100 mile ride. Saturday was no longer an option due to the OWS and a post swim clinic with Team sTRIve. I decided I would take part of a personal day from work and ride on Friday. I knew I would be doing it alone but felt comfortable with the route I had mapped out. I set off around 6:45am and headed for Richards. While windy, the ride out was great. I was making excellent time and was feeling bueno! I was a little nervous to take some of the backroad portions of the IMTX course in the event something happened or I stumbled upon a banjo playing redneck but decided I would be fine. Before I knew it, I was pulling into Richards and checking in with my mom & Kelley Golden to let them know I was doing fine. As I headed back the way I came, I spent a lot of time visualizing IMTX and what I would do come race day. I played back in my head all the cruddy rides I've had and all the mishaps and formulated my gameplan for overcoming on race day. In a blink of an eye, I was coming upon my turn at Lone Star Pkwy! I decided I would stop at a Shell station off 105 to buy more Advil and use the facilities as I was hydrating like a champ. I checked in with mom & Kelley only to learn Kelley was very nearby and had goodies! It was SO nice to see a happy, familiar face along the course. I was at the 70 mile point already and was really excited to see someone! This is typically the point in my ride where I start feeling like getting off the bike and question my sanity/ability. Not on this ride though. I bid Kelley farewell and set back off on my ride. As I crossed 105, it occurred to me that I hadn't had a tailwind once! I was climbing a hill, facing a nice headwind and was annoyed. Just then, Kerry & Dan came riding up (fellow sTRIvers). Yay! I was going to get to draft for a bit. :) Besides the drafting, it was nice to see more familiar faces. After they dropped me like a bad habit, I was on my own to face the wind the rest of the way home. I added on some mileage at Woodlane and thought, "hmm, I think I might go 112 miles". I headed towards Terramont Park and realized it was time for a pit stop. It was hot, I was tired but feeling good. There was no point to go 112! I decided to head home and get cleaned up as I didn't want to jinx what had been a wonderful day on the bike!
Saturday morning the alarm (annoyingly) went off at 5am so I could get some breakfast before heading for my longest open water swim yet....2.4 miles on the IMTX course (but not THE IMTX course). In my head, I didn't really want to swim the full distance but didn't know why at first. Later I realized it was just a fear of what I might encounter on the swim. Keep in mind, my swim in Galveston was horrible with more cramping than I've ever had in the water and it took me a lot longer to swim a distance I had already covered once before in a much faster time. Having gone 105 miles on the bike Friday, I was concerned I would have cramping but knew I had hydrated plenty and would hopefully be ok. I started the first loop and made a very conscious effort to swim steady. I wanted to avoid leg cramps so that would mean I would need to limit the kicking and not try to go too fast. I set into a nice pace and just held it. Before I knew it, I was making the turn around the red buoy and heading back to Northshore Park where I would start my 2nd lap. On my way back I thought about hopping out for a minute to get some water but decided to just swim. On my 2nd lap, I was surprised by how good I felt. Nothing was terribly sore, I was breathing easily and sighting well. No issues. I thought about finding a piece of wood to knock on but wasn't sure that was going to be possible. The time was flying by and I once again found myself at the red buoy where I would be turning around. Yay! I glanced at my watch and realized my pace had been picking up and I knew that was good! I looked up and could see the bridge going over the lake getting closer & closer. I could see some tents in the distance on the left and I knew I was just about done. Before I knew it, I was climbing out of the water in just over 1hr 46min. While deep inside I was feeling beyond thrilled, I think I was more in shock that I did it and that I felt good. My pace was about 2:30 per 100 which is the pace I want to maintain for IMTX. I was very, very happy. I now knew what the pace felt like and better yet, knew how it made me feel coming out of the water.
All in all, this was a great training weekend! I had two major confidence boosting workouts and just couldn't have been more happy with them. While I would (not so) secretly love to finish the swim in 1hr 30min, I know that it's far more important to finish the swim feeling good. And I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I CAN finish the swim feeling good. :)
The taper has begun. This doesn't mean no workouts, just different workouts. I'm excited and anxious to be entering this phase of training. IMTX is coming up quickly and I know the time is going to fly. I've printed off old emails from various folks (coaches, teammates, etc) and I'm in the process of taping them up to my bathroom mirror or other places in my house. I want to be reminded every day between now and May 21st that I can do this and that I will do this.
Many thanks again to Kelley for being sooooo sweet and looking after me Friday. I know she gave my mom some peace of mind that I was ok! I want to really enjoy these last two weeks of training and keep the calm feeling I have for as long as possible! OMG I can't believe it's almost here!!!!!!!