And there you have it...Our last long, heavy weekend of training and now the countdown begins. In fact, if all goes well, in three weeks from right about now, both hubster and I will be Ironmen! I gotta say, it's been an interesting few months of training. It's hard to believe that our first few rides were in multiple layers of clothing, 3 pairs of socks, gloves and ear warmers. Now, we're applying sunscreen and downing water by the gallons. We've all come a long way and I'm so proud and excited for all of my friends (all 59 of of us from T3!) that will toe the shore.
We had our final team meeting today and it was interesting to look around the room and observe people. Honestly, most of us are just plain tired (as was evidenced by a few people who were literally dozing off during the meeting!) Don't get me wrong--Mo's meeting was very interesting, emotional and informative. I'll think we're all just burnt to a crisp physically, mentally and emotionally! On Saturday, we rode 75-80 miles. Some people did the Real Ale Ride, others stayed in town and did the Bee Caves loop, and Shawn and I headed down to Johnson City for our last few loops on the "LBJ Ranch Cruise." Today, Shawn and I were up at 5:15am and swimming in Barton Springs by 6:00am. After our 4000m, we immediately hit the trails for a 12 mile run. I was feeling great except for my right leg and continued quad/hip flexor issues. Yes, I'm going to get it looked at this week. I realize it's not natural for one leg to simply lock up.
Our ride yesterday was such a much-needed confidence boost! For the first time, the wind wasn't a major factor and we averaged 17.4 miles over the hilly 76 miles that we rode. Pretty impressive considering I've not done better than 16.5 mph in previous attempts at the same loop. Am I stronger? I certainly hope so! Again, it was great being able to ride without 20-25 mph wind gusts that deflate egos as well as momentum. Needless to say, we were both happy with our times even though my legs were trashed as usual. I took enough sodium, but didn't drink enough water. My quads were definitely feeling the deprivation of hydration towards the end.
In our usual fashion, we decided to make an afternoon of our trip to the Hill Country and visit three new wineries that we've never been to. Rancho Ponte Vineyard, Pedernales Cellars and Torre di Pietro. All three were dandy and we ended up having our afternoon picnic will listening to the "Almost Patsy Cline Band" under an open air pavilion watching people country dance. It was a great afternoon indeed.
Throughout the course of IM CDA training, hubster and I have visited the wine areas of the Texas Hill Country, Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles. These "mini-vacations" have made the training such a blast...or maybe "less intense" than your typical training weekends. We've seen some lovely sites and cycled/run some challenging courses. Are we fast? Not so much...Are we strong? You bet. Most importantly--are we having fun? Without a doubt. These are the best days of our life and training for an event of this caliber is a gift and a privilege. These trips ensure that we don't take any of it for granted. And, as a couple both logging 15-20 hours a week, these excursions and our long rides have allowed us precious time together. I know it sounds kinda cheesy, but we've just had so much fun training together and racing together. We've just watched each other get stronger and stronger and transform our minds and bodies.
Watching the IMCDA video today, seeing my training partners and watching coach get visibly emotional when telling the story of a long-shot finish, just put the icing on the cake of 6 intense months of training. Looking through last year's entries, I can honestly say that I'm stronger and more prepared this year. I was sick a lot last year and haven't been sick at all this time (knock on wood). Last year, I remember feeling constantly fatigued and this year I feel stronger and more energized (change to vegan diet?!). My open water swim times are slightly faster than last year and my long runs are definitely faster overall. The big mystery of power is the bike. It's hard to say whether or not I've gotten faster because I haven't done a lot of group riding this season. It still takes me about 20 miles of riding before my legs stop aching and I settle in to the ride. That can certainly be frustrating, but as long as I mentally prepare for that, I'll be fine. I still look at most of my teammates and put them way above me on the bike.
All in all, I couldn't be happier and now it's time to recover and suffer through the "taper blues." Hubster and I decided yesterday that once we all return from CDA, we're going to schedule a fun T3 recovery ride in Johnson City and do some wine tasting as a large group. After all, we deserve it, don't we??
This season hasn't had a whole lot of whining, but it's definitely had a whole lot of winin' and I wouldn't want it any other way.