The energy is freaking palpable! I can feel it with each and every T3 teammate and coach I’ve trained with for the last 6 months. We’re tired, giddy, restless, slap-happy and in serious need of finding an outlet for all of this pent-up energy we’ve been saving.
On Friday night, we had a team meeting to go over all of the ins and outs of our taper, pre-race preparation, race day and course details. Chrissie and Mo were awesome at explaining everything and answering the silly questions all of we first-timers have like, “What do you put in a special needs bag?” and “Is it possible to pee on the bike?” They had videos and photos from the course and imparted such great wisdom (and humorous stories) from the past three years of doing Ironman Arizona.
Some of the most important pieces of advice weren’t even actual strategies. They were things to remember when your mind goes ape-shit numb.
1.) You will hit at least 10 highs and 10 lows during the course of the day. I mean, c’mon, we’re talking about 12-15 hours of non-stop physical activity. I get tired and cranky when I sit at my desk and surf the net for 6 hours. I can only imagine what my body and mind will be telling me after 6 hours of being on a bike and 3 hours of running. Their advice: Ride the waves and know that a low point will be followed by a high point. Just keep digging…
2.) Don’t let anyone other than a race official stop your race day. Again, it goes back to the point above. There will be times you may want to quit. You may feel nauseous. You may feel weak. You may get 10 flat tires. All of these things are temporary set-backs. Just relax, rest by the side of the road if necessary and then proceed when you can. Only let a race official or a medical person be the one to tell you to stop. Ignore your inside devil voice and tell it to kiss your Ironman ass! (they didn’t actually say that. That was my addition)
3.) Only focus on what you are doing. When you’re swimming, don’t think about the 112 mile bike ride you have to do. When you’re riding, don’t think about the impending marathon. Yeah–easier said than done. What the hell else am I going to think about when I’m on the bike all freaking day?
4.) Of course…the bottom line through all of this…HAVE FUN! Not only am I going to have 20+ teammates out on the course, but my parents, my husband, Richard, Stephanie, Thon and Amy are also going to be there causing quit a stir. Believe me, spectators will know who Carrie “Tri to be Funny” Barrett is after this event!
Saturday, March 29th Rosedale Ride
This ride has unofficially become one of Shawn and my “date rides” that we like to do together. Last year, I was hating life and hating the ride. I barely made it through 40 miles. Throughout this training, I’ve constantly questioned my cycling strength. I mean, am I really getting stronger? Sure, my endurance is peaking at the moment, but could I really go out and ride fast if I wanted to? How do I compare with others who haven’t been training for the last 6 months? Well, now I know. Shawn and I started with the masses at 8:30am and we were riding the 63 mile loop. (Some of T3 started earlier, but we really wanted to ride with everyone else and enjoy the rest stops, etc). The goal today was to ride comfortably, with a couple of race pace pick-ups during the ride. For the first time ever, the wind-gods were cooperating at Rosedale and it wasn’t that bad (relatively speaking!) Immediately, I noticed how effortlessly I was riding compared to others and I wasn’t even attempting to go fast. What used to be considered major hills climbs, felt like small rollers. The training has paid off in a big way. We stayed between 15-15.5mph for most of the ride until I started to pick it up towards the end (and the help of a wonderful tailwind). I had some great conversations out there with other riders and even got a “tri to be funny” shout-out at one of the rest stops! (Whoever you were–thanks for making my day) 🙂 I ended the ride at a very easy 16.3 mph and again, I didn’t push it at all. I’d say my perceived effort as a whole was a “6” on a scale of 1-10…So, I answered my question. Yes, I’m MUCH stronger than I was a year ago. Thanks T3. Those indoor training sessions are freaking awesome.
Sunday, March 30th 13 mile Run
A couple of days ago, I wrote that I was also going to swim this morning at Barton Springs. However, after our team meeting on Friday night, I decided not to do it. I realized all I was trying to do was add an extra workout to make up for one of my sick days. I was trying to “get my hours in” for the sake of doing so…not the smartest thing right now. Less is more. Besides, I’ve done enough long open water swims. I know it’s in the bag. One more is not going to make or break it.
Soooo…with that being said, I set off with Shawn this morning for my 13 mile run. It took a couple of miles to shake the cobwebs loose, but it ended up being a great run despite the fact that the humid skies opened up to a heavy downpour. Plus, the Capital 10k was also going on, so I kept getting views of the thousands of people who were running this annual event. I averaged an 8:36 pace for the entire run and that includes water breaks where I kept my watch running. My running is right where I want it right now for the marathon.
Mile 1: 9:38
Mile 2: 8:41
Mile 3: 8:42
Mile 4: 9:05
Mile 5: 8:41
Mile 6: 8:34
Mile 7: 8:53
Mile 8: 8:22
Mile 9: 8:17
Mile 10: 8:18
Mile 11: 8:24
Mile 12: 8:07
Mile 13: 8:23
Mile .37 : 8:04 pace
All is well…