Such was our Saturday T3 ride and last century ride before Ironman! It was a gorgeous morning and great day to be out cycling, but it ended up being a strange ride indeed. Up until Mile 65, we were averaging over 18mph. The wind was coming from the North so we definitely felt the benefit of the tail wind heading towards San Marcos. It was the “slap in the face” on the way back towards Austin that served as a grim reminder of what is probably to come during IMAZ.
I faired well during the ride, but others didn’t have the same luck. There were a couple of minor back crashes that led to broken elbows and severe road rash. Katy had a flat tire about 70 miles into the ride, but had it changed in a matter of minutes.
It was a such a good indication of how my race will go in less than a month. The damn coaches encouraged us to do 115 miles! Yes, you read correctly. The IM bike is 112 miles, but we sucked it up and completed 115.2 miles according to Katy’s odometer (mine read 114.7. I like hers more) We were exhausted, hot and completely worn out, but we both felt so great knowing what we had achieved. My speedometer had us at a final average of 16.8 mph for the ride and hers read 16.6. Either way, this is exactly where I want to be for the race. Not too fast and not too slow…just a steady effort that will keep me confident and capable of running a marathon afterwards.
As much as I didn’t want to, I quickly loaded my bike, slipped on my running shoes and went for a 30 minute run off of the bike. Surprisingly, it felt great! (getting my ass and vah-jay-jay off the saddle certainly helped after 6:45 hours) With the exception of being a bit thirsty (it was close to 90 degrees yesterday), my legs and lungs were rarin’ to go. I did my usual 30 minute Circle C loop for 3.5 miles–8:23 pace!! Woo Hoo!! Awesome pace after 115 miles of riding! It’s definitely a lot faster than I plan to go during the marathon, but I’m happy I still had it in me.
As I’m prone to do, I went out to celebrate my awesome training day at Mandola’s Italian Market with Shawn, Richard and Stephanie. We shared a pizza and I slammed on some gnocchi pasta and a couple of glasses of red wine. YUM! (oh yeah–and some gelato)
Sunday, March 16th
My body had atrophied overnight! I woke up naturally around 8am this morning with my cat Brutus totally sleeping on my back. I could barely move! Last night, I had visions of starting my long run at 8am. Oh well…I clearly needed the rest. It was my last 16-mile “long” run before the race. Sometimes I take for granted that my body will just do what I tell it to do. My quads felt trashed and my tummy was in slight revolt from dinner/dessert/wine from the night before. I was honestly questioning whether or not I could accomplish this run. I know that if I didn’t have this looming obligation (and guilt), I probably would’ve blown off the run and taken the scooter down to Mozarts for some coffee on this leisurely morning. Alas, at 9am, Shawn and I left the house and ran the mile down to the Hike and Bike Trail. My plan was to do two 7 mile loops. Shawn would run one of those with me. Immediately into our run, we saw plenty of T3 teammate jerseys, making me even more jealous that they appeared to be finishing their first loop and I was just starting mine. Shawn and I kept the pace at a very comfortable 9:00min per mile. I finished my first loop, chatted for a minute with Joe and Coaches Mo and Logan (who were finished!), kissed my husband goodbye and started on the final 8 miles. Again, my HR was comfy, but my quads were feeling it big time. I still think running the marathon immediately following the bike ride will be easier than running on “dead” legs the day after. Still, I consciously put myself in race mode and gradually started picking up the pace. I put myself mentally on the course and began running a virtual marathon. I swear at one moment I didn’t even recognize where I was running because I was “in the zone.” So while I was tired and sore, I was still aware that I was one step closer to crossing the finish line. I could hear the cheers. I could taste the chicken broth and flat coke (that I’m sure I’ll need). With two miles left, I felt the frustration of being so damn close and yet so far away. When I hit my driveway, it was 16.1 miles of running and a final average pace of 8:42 per mile. YES!! Now, that’s what I’m talking about. A great accomplishment and a huge negative split for the run.
When I came in the house, the cold bath water was running so that I could soak my aching legs.
I learned SO MUCH from this weekend’s final long push. I put in close to 21 hours of training this week. My most ever. 4 runs, 3 swims, 3 bikes and 1 hour of core.
I learned I am capable of breaking many barriers I didn’t think I could ever break. I have done the work and now the taper can officially begin!!
Hot damn and hallelujah!