This past Sunday was my last race before Ironman Florida. I came into the race without a taper as this was the end of a big training block.
I woke up at about my normal time (4am), got down some oatmeal and headed out the door to Aurora Resevor. As I’ve said before I’m one of those “A” type athletes so I ended up being like the 5th car in line waiting for the gates to open. The good news about that is I got a stellar spot for Black Betty and I!
I wasn’t particularly nervous for this race. I haven’t been feeling like I’m in that great of shape, so I kinda don’t expect much from myself.
As 7:30 rolled around I headed to the swim start. I lucked out and started in the first wave. As we got closer to the start time the wind seemed to decide to pick up its intensity. One of the bouys actualy floated away!
After a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11 and the National Anthem (I always tear up), the count down began and the mosh pit began!
The beginning of this swim was the first time I’ve ever experienced that cluster and flailing arms that so many people have talked about. I don’t know how many gallons of water I sucked down!! I can really say that I never got into my grove as the whole 1.2 miles felt like a struggle. Once I made it to shore I attempted to run up the hill to transition and the most I could get was a messley shuffle. I still did well enough to come out of the water 3rd in my age group.
Once in T1 I geared up and jumped on Black Betty for the HILLY 56 miles of riding. I began the ride shoving some food into my mouth and drinking libations. By the time I hit Quincy Road I was ready to tackle the hills…or so I thought.
I spent the first 45 mins on the bike wondering how the “f” I would ever get through 56 miles! Seriously! I struggled until around mile 25 and then I was in my groove! That is until I hit the run………
Yeap- I hit T2, grabbed my run gear and headed out the other end to start my run. And that’s when it hit me. The how the “f” am I ever going to run 13.1 miles? I once again struggled. To be honest…the thought did cross my mind “if I end up throwing up I would have an excuse for DNFing” I’ve never thought about that in a race.
I passed the aide station at mile 3 and had the thought..”I can do anything for 10 miles” and with that I commenced to stay positive and run run run! By mile 6 I was finally warmed up and hit my stride. I swear that course felt uphill on the way out an downhill on the way back. My Garmin says differently though.
I ran my way to a 7th place AG finish with a slip and slide ending!
This was one of the toughest times I’ve ever had racing. I’m glad I’ve finally had the experience of stuggling to stay in the game. I’m glad I had the opportunity to go within and change the tape rolling in my head. The good thing is my time was only 2 minutes longer than 3 years ago (much to my surprise)!
Now I’m headed into the final stretch to IMFL. I’ve got a recovery week followed by 3 weeks of some kick butt training…and then it’ll be the final taper.