Monday, June 18, 2007

Ironman

I've been trying to come up with the right words for this post for a few days now. I just haven't really figured it out, so I'm just going to let it roll.....

Momo has written a couple of posts about ironman lately; balancing family & training, what it means & does for her, and even some posts about the taper and how she's feeling.

Ironshane has written almost every day for a week. First his 5 goals, now he's working on sport specific goals. He's VERY ambitious, or maybe it's just confidence. He has already finished Ironman.

I've also read a few posts from ironbenny who will also be in CDA. S has been emailing with him so I think we will be meeting up with him and his wife Nytro. It will be nice to meet some new faces before the big day!

I am a pretty calm and rational person. Maybe almost too calm a lot of the time. I haven't stressed out too much about this race. I expected to, but it just wasn't coming. Not that I'm complaining or anything.

I've had a few little speed bumps, the sprained ankle (which by the way is healing nicely, just sore when I turn it inside too far), some shoulder issues (still dealing with, but manageable)...oh, and the most recent bike crash (still wearing the battle wounds from that one).

All in all, my training has been near flawless. I've felt great for the most part. I've seen the expected improvements in my dropped HR, running pace, swimming pace and finally feel like I can actually sustain a good bike pace for such a long time. So really, it's all coming together.

So, people keep asking me how long it's going to take me? You know, it's really not an easy question. There are so many variables in such a long race that I really just don't know what to expect.

For instance:

The swim - In a pool I would be confident in saying that I could do the 2.4mile swim in 1:05, maybe faster if I were drafting. But, this is OPEN water, with 2600 other people splashing around like fish out of water..... So really, can I REALLY expect to swim a 1:05? My best half ironman swim time is :36. Yes, I'm faster now...but 2600 people in your way - that is a LOT of people!!!

Yesterday, I was reading the July issue of Triathlete Magazine. I found this article about open water swimming, and how it will be in the 2008 Olympics. They talk about the challenges of the open water & how different it is from pool swimming.

Article by Richard Martin, "The Loneliness of the Open-Water Swimmer." Triathlete Magazine, July 2007

"The water, as you start to wade in, is cool but not frigid, and you quickly warm up inside your wetsuit. At the gun you avoid the splashing meliee at the head of the crowd and take a few hard strokes to get going before settling into a steady rhythm, breathing on both sides. The pack strings out and you can tell, from raising your head every 10th stroke or so, that you are closer to the front than the rear......... Time passes easily, and soon enough you've rounded the last buoy and the finish comes closer. You're on your way to the best open-water swim of your life."

Now, if I could live my ultimate swim experience for this race - it would be exactly what you read about.

Then, then there is the bike..... My cycling has always gone well. Never anything to complain about too much. Doing the long runs on Friday, then the long bikes on Saturday made for some challenging saddle time, but again, nothing I couldn't handle. Mini-Me and I are a good team. As long as she behaves, no flats, no weird gear issues, etc. Our weekend rides are somewhere between 16.8 & 17.5 AVG MPH. That includes all the stops at lights, bathroom breaks, etc.

So, how to take that kind of average and put it into a race pace for such a long distance? I guess I could compare to my other half ironman paces. My first one, Soma in 05 I did 2:59 - 19mph. I wasn't in nearly as good of shape, but it was also FLAT. Then, last summer I did the Lake Stevens 70.3. This race race was HARD. Hills, hills and MORE hills. I was slightly slower, even though I was stronger. It was 3:14 or 17.3mph.

So, with both of those things considered, I'd like to say I could do the bike leg in 17-17.5mph or 6:20-6:45 including potty stops, special needs(?) and God forbid a stinking flat.

But again.. who knows. It's all about what my HR tells me to do on race day.

Lastly, there is the run. This is the BIG FAT ????. My running has improved. I've gotten faster at lower HRs. I'm still not as fast as I was 4 years ago when I first got injured. I was at the Rock n Roll Marathon in San Diego. I was planning to run a 4hr marathon. S was there to pace me. I hit the 1/2 mark at right at 2hours. Then, something happened. I slowed to a near crawl. I ended with a 4:31 marathon time, and have never been the same since.

So, needless to say, after 4 years, 3 years of PT, cortisone injections, strength training, 3 MRI's and surgery to repair my IT band... I lost my speed right along with my running confidence. Now, over the past few months I have gained some of those back, but I still... just have NO idea what to expect from my run time.

My biggest battle when running is heat. My body heats up so damn fast my HR sky rockets and thus no more sub 10min miles. HOWEVER, I've been training in 80degrees (at the coolest) and 105 at the hottest conditions. Right now CDA forecast is about 72 for a high. I'm really hoping this helps me significantly. So, with that said. I think a realistic run goal for me, including potty stops, nutrition, etc is 5hours. I would love to do it faster. I think somewhere in there I've got it in me. Yet, at the same time..... I just have no idea how my body will feel.

So, add all of those times up. Puts me somewhere around 13hours finishing time. It's a good goal I think. It's possibly things will happen and I won't meat that goal. It's also possible that my body and all this hard work will pay off, and perhaps, I could BREAK that goal.

Yes, I have some more specific and faster goals in my head. But, those are my goals and at this time... I want to keep them quietly packed away in the back of my head. If I meet them, then fantastic. I will feel like a superstar. If I don't, well then... no one will feel bad for me or try to make me feel better if I don't make them! It will be my quiet little secret. My own personal achievement and or disappointment. Either way.... I will be an ironman, regardless of the time.

I actually started this post wanting to write about how I was feeling, tell you about some crazy ass dreams I've had, including a specific finishing time at IM. I wanted to write about how my usually calm self has turned into a nervous wreck, which will only get worse as the date approaches. But, then I just started typing away at my goals, etc... so I guess that's what this ended up being.

So, tomorrow.. tomorrow I will write about my nervousness. My neurotic non-existent ability to pack like a normal person... and then, then it's off to the airport to catch our flight to Spokane!

Crazy......

1 comment:

Benson said...

I'm righ there with ya sistah. All things are coming together for you and the forecast is great for you. You're one tough lady, show yourself, and them, what you're made of...IRON.