Sunday, July 28, 2013

Where has the emotion gone?

When I think about my first Ironman I feel...not much, a couple butterflies in the stomach, but no real sense of what I am about to do in 3 weeks.

I think one of the greatest things I've done in this journey is get a coach.  Its let me enjoy the day to day journey so much more, not stressing about what the numbers mean, if I'm doing enough, or if I'm doing the right thing.  I see my schedule and I go do it, unless my body says otherwise. I just enjoy the moment, not thinking much further beyond how my legs feel putting pressure on the pedals, or the sensation of gliding over miles of pavement as my feet pull me forward.  There is no stress or over thinking, which is exactly the opposite of how I thought I would feel, I thought relinquishing some control would be a challenge.  It let me disconnect and just put in the miles and focus on my body.  (Secret to my success coach Lucho)

When I thought about Ironman 10 months ago when I signed up, it sometimes brought tears to my eyes.  The thought of transversing 140.6 miles, intense feelings of fear, excitement and trepidation evoked a serious emotional response.

I don't know if I've lost that, or overcome it.  I'm wondering if I've disconnected the process too much from the end goal.  I'm not training to train, I'm training to race, I can't forget that.

At the same time when I think about the race I have this unwavering confidence that I will finish it, that doesn't bring any fear, but some fear would be healthy right?

I think I need to start running the race through my head, trying to wrap my head around how big of a challenge this will be.  I need to stop thinking in segments and start thinking about the race as a whole, because thats what makes it such a crazy event.

If there is one constant in every first Ironman race report I read, its that things didn't go to plan, problem solving on the go seems to be the norm.  I don't know how I can even begin to have expectations when the single thing that seems to define almost all Ironman experiences is that it rarely goes to plan.

So, next 3 weeks, mentally putting the race together.  I've been working on my mental game in the sports individually but have neglected putting it all together, it seemed so daunting.  It seems between work training and life I haven't taken the time to contemplate how big this really is.  Fortunately (or unfortunately we'll see how it goes) taper is coming and I will have some time to think about it more.

Long run up today, I've been procrastinating because outside there is a torrential downpour (seriously I may as well be swimming with this rain) and crazy wind, was hoping it would calm down, but since it shows no signs of stopping I'll suit up with some old running shoes and head out into the madness.

Wish me luck I don't drown.

Carpe Diem

Friday, July 26, 2013

Assholes do Exist!

Picture this, a stunning day in Scotland, shockingly the sun is shining (yay alliteration), out for a brutal legs are burning, anaerobic run.  When suddenly out of nowhere a foot is in your path, just in time for your neon runners to snag it and cause you fly forward at over 9mph.

Now anyone who is not a total asshole in polite society would assume that the foot was placed there by mistake, not intentionally for the sole purpose of tripping a suffering runner.

You would be wrong.

9 miles, 2*3 miles in zone 3 & 4.  I'm at mile 8.5, HR is well into zone 4 I was feeling it.  I'm headed towards home, a half mile from the finish, and there are two men coming at me.  Note men, not some young punks, guys in their mid 30's.  When I moved to one side to go past them they look at each other and move to the same side laughing, I go the other way they move again into my path.  Then as I come closer they split down the middle, now the road is so tiny here I would be clipped by a car if I went off the side walk.

So I guess I have to go through these douche bags.  Heres the shocker the guy on my right, stops, and sticks his freaking foot out!  Now I'm moving at this point, and I cant slow down to avoid it.  I think his plan was to jokingly put his foot out and pull it back (because I can not wrap my head around someone purposely tripping me).  Well his slow fat ass was too slow if thats what he meant to do because I connected, didn't have time to slow down or avoid it.

Now I'm not the most coordinated person ever, and I have a tendency to hurt myself by tripping over my own damned feet (on perfectly flat surfaces with no obstacles), I don't need this jerk off's help.

By some miracle I was able to stay upright and do a drunken stumble like move and ended up still on my feet.  And of course in true runner style, apparently I hit my lap button on my Garmin as I stumbled.

I saw RED.

I've never wanted to hit anyone so bad in my life.  Common sense unfortunately came into play, since there were two of them I barely restrained myself.

Instead I walked up to this guy, who was laughing, got within an inch of his face and started screaming at him.  He stopped laughing quickly, I don't think he expected a little neon clad runner to get right in his face.  He tried to walk away just staring at the ground not saying a word, so I walked backwards still less than a foot away from his face, yelling at him, asking if it made him feel like a big man to knock a women to the ground.  According to my Garmin split it was just under 3 minutes of yelling (I don't think that is what Garmin had in mind to record).

Now I'm a pretty chill person, it takes a lot to get me to yell or get worked up.  I have never in my life spoken to someone the way I yelled at this man, I was so angry.  I couldn't imagine what was going through his head when he decided to stick his foot out.

After that incident I felt like I could break the mile record I was so fuelled by adrenaline.  Instead ran a few extra miles to cool down and get a clear head before I head home.

Now that I look back on it, I feel sorry for the guy.  That he is such a pathetic loser that this is how he gets his kicks.  Maybe he should start running to blow off some of that steam :p  I don't think he will trip up any more runners though.

Even worse...he scuffed my brand new neon Newtons.  Not cool.

Stay safe out there.

Carpe Diem

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Macca in London & Guinness in Ireland

I feel like I've been living the jet set lifestyle lately, getting to know the UK while I am here and touring around.  I didn't take the time to explore the USA when I was living there and didn't want to make that same mistake this time so any chance to travel I'm in!

First stop London

This city just holds a sense of wonder for me.  So much to see and experience, the people, the pubs, the history and excitement! It seems like there is always something to do and so many people everywhere.  Its been almost 5 years since I've lived in a big city and I forget the feel of that energy.

It was a weekend of triathlon, running, exploring and sunburns.  

I got a chance to hook up with some more members of the online triathlon group I'm a part of and catch up with the man himself Chris "Macca" McCormack.  Love how this group brings together people from all over the world with different backgrounds and motivations.  I've been chatting with them online and it was fantastic to put faces to avatars and to meet a group for the first time feeling like long time friends.  A few beers, steaks and yummy desserts topped off the good conversation that was the highlight of the evening.

A late night turned into an early morning with little sleep between, and a long run with some threshold work.  This should be interesting.  I was definitely not feeling the motivation but had to get my ass out of bed to meet up with Macca and Scott (his manager) for coffee in the morning.  Who knows how long I would have procrastinated without that motivation :p  In London my preferred method of travel is running and walking, since I had to run after anyways they had the pleasure of my sweaty self showing up for coffee.

Hit of caffeine and some tri talk and I was ready to head over to Hyde Park for my long run.  It was a scorcher out there, I loved it until about 10 miles in.  Its been so rainy and cool in Scotland I was happy to be out in the sunshine.  The morning heated up quickly and the run pace decreased, I was hitting lactic threshold HR, but my pace wasn't changing much because the heat was getting to me.  I ended up having to cut it a mile short, I hit the wall, I needed water bad and even though I had already downed 3 water bottles the 30 degree heat was getting to me.  I ran past a stand with water…stopped…turned around and downed 2 bottles, that was the end of my run.

Spent the afternoon sun tanning in Hyde park and enjoying some of the concert that was going on.  And by suntanning of course I mean burning with my Red head skin.  

On to Ireland

I haven't had a break in a while outside of a few days after Cotswold and Barcelona, and Ireland was a great excuse for it.  My mother in law is down visiting and both her family and mine are from Ireland so it was a must do trip.  We decided to pack up the car and drive over to the Ferry and take it across.  We stopped on the way and explored Stirling Castle while still in Scotland, hopped on the Ferry, where I enjoyed most of the trip getting a much needed massage…its a hard life.

Now usually during trips, like London, I try to get my training in.  Not this time, it was a total rest.  I ran less than an hour total the whole 4 days I was gone.  I don't think I've done that little since I signed up for Ironman last year!  It was a great mental and physical break so I was ready to make the final push 5 weeks out from Ironman.

Ireland was a whorl wind, I got to meet up with another member of the trip club that I had met in Barcelona and it was a much more reserved meet up than the Beer fuelled post party in Callela, but a great time.  Unfortunately we had to get down to Dublin or else I'm sure it would have been a party :p  Just starting to realise I only really drink while around other triathletes….

(With the Legend)

Next stop was Dublin where my dads family is from, unfortunately it was a quick trip for me but got to hit up St. Patricks Cathedral and the Guinness Factory.  That Guinness factory was something else, I'm officially certified in the art of the perfect pour, and enjoyed the taste testing :p  

 (Certified in the perfect pour)

(Taste test my favorite part)

During this trip I gorged myself on Guinness, Full Irish Breakfasts (yum), Steak and Kidney Pies and Fish and Chips.  It was awesome!  Back to eating healthy again this week and I actually wanted vegetables after the excess of the vacation (I don't think I ate anything green while I was gone).  

(Full Irish)

(My 1 of 2 runs a whole 20 min in Belfast)

Anyways back into training, Ironman is less than a month away.  I thought I would feel great after the break but its taken some time to get back into it.  Just feeling a bit sluggish, and uncoordinated.  I had a lot less energy than usual when I wasn't training.  Its like my body is either 110% on, or off…completely.  So I'll keep cruising along until its time to taper.

Carpe Diem

Friday, July 19, 2013

Screw Just Finishing Ironman

I'm getting tired of hearing, "Just worry about finishing the race" when it comes to Ironman.  From family, local tri club and friends I've heard it about 50 times. I know that it comes with good intentions, this is something that is so far beyond anything that I've done before, and I'm just a year into the sport.

But I'm going to finish the race. I don't care if its on my hands and knees Julie Moss style not finishing is not even a consideration, has not crossed my mind.

Maybe that sounds cocky, but I know I've put in the hard work, the hours and dedication to ensure my body is more than capable of finishing the race. There is no question in my mind I am physically and mentally capable of this.  

The only question I have, is how fast?  I've put my heart and soul into training for this in the last year, I can count on my fingers how many sessions I've missed in that time.  Its been a year of 15-21 hours of training.  

I haven't just survived that training either, I've craved the sessions, HR up at the beginning of them because I have another opportunity to see what I'm made of, and another step towards that finish line.  I've always been driven when I put my mind to something, but never like this, nothing has held my interest this long.  

I've heard it said in a very supportive way, but I've also had it said in a condescending, practically patting me on the head kind of way from some guys I've tried to get triathlon advice from.  Like does she really think she can race something like this, just take it easy and worry about finishing.  I know I hadn't backed up what I was doing in training in my first 2 Half Ironman races, and hell Ironman may turn out to be the same way, but I am going out there to give it my all without doing something stupid and blowing up.  I can do a leisurely 140.6 swim bike run on my own time.

That fuelled me in Cotswold and pushed me below that 5 hour mark.  I'm a very happy go lucky, positive person in day to day life, not much ruffles my feathers, but when it comes to racing there is a shift.  I'm fuelled by competition, anger, if someone says I can't I will.  Not a side of me a lot of people know.  When I'm hurting in a race I find a target, and I will fight until I'm in front, I've never lost a sprint finish.  The trick with Triathlon seems to be not letting that instinct kick in until late in the run :p

I have a very general time idea of what would be good, but with so many factors over such a large amount of time I'll be racing not by speed but by output.  I've made that mistake before having time expectations, when you don't hit the times its a hard hit mentally, and I don't need that stress.  I'll survive the swim (given myself a very large margin for error on that) have Watt targets on the bike, and some paces and HR stuff to keep me from going too fast in the first half of the run, then its everything I have left.

August 17th, Kalmar Sweden I will be an Ironman

Carpe Diem