Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's Time!

   Tomorrow is the big day!!  It's so strange to think that my IMCHOO journey is almost over. I seriously have no idea what I'm going to do with myself next weekend when I don't have to get up at 4:30 to go ride.

Hey - that's ME!

   I wanted to take a minute and thank everyone for being so supportive throughout this experience. Ironman takes up so much of your life, and unfortunately, many things go to the wayside. I've missed many social events because I had to go ride my bike or get to the pool. I haven't even been able to run with East Nasty because it wasn't in my schedule! You kind of think that you're forgotten by everyone outside of triathlon. But so many people have reached out this week to wish me good luck - I'm really overwhelmed. I'm very fortunate to have all of you in my life. I really appreciate all of your well-wishes, and will carry them with me throughout the race tomorrow. 
   I'd also like to thank everyone who has trained with me this year, especially my FTP teammates. Misery loves company, and I loved suffering out there with all of you. Of course, I wouldn't be here right now without Coach Andrew and Coach Jessica from FTP.  Thank you for all of your sound advice and pushing me further than I thought possible. 

Team FTP! 

   My last thanks are for my family. My parents and brother have always been a source of unwavering support, no matter how crazy my ideas seem. I am also very fortunate to have wonderful in-laws who encourage me at every step. And I really have no words to describe how wonderful my husband, Dudley, has been throughout this madness. It would be impossible to have done this with without him. Thank you so much. I love you all.
   OK - that's it! Gottta get ready for tomorrow!! See you all at the finish line (I hope!!)!

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's Almost Go Time

   Well, it's Friday. The race is Sunday. I'm all checked in and have spent way too much money on IMCHOO swag to back out now. I even painted my nails, so I HAVE to race.
IMCHOO colors!!

   Right now, I'm feeling OK, but I'm getting more anxious as time passes. I'm mainly worried about the weather. It looks more and more like rain throughout the day on Sunday, and that's really disturbing for me. Not that I have a fear of getting wet - no, I don't care about that. But rain on the bike makes things exponentially more dangerous for everyone; you're more likely to flat and road paint is slick, which makes it easier to fall. Plus, I have a set of carbon racing wheels that don't work well in the rain. And by "don't work well," I mean - I don't stop. I might slow a bit, but there are some hills on this course and I'm really going to need my brakes. Though I've swapped out my brake pads to some that are supposed to work better, I'm still terrified that I'll crest a hill and start a decent and not be able to stop. Seriously. Terrified. Of course, no one else seems to have this fear. I've been asking people who run full-carbon wheels what they use for brake pads and the reaction has been mixed. Some think my new brake pads (made of cork) should work fine. Some think the brand I used to have are better. I KNOW my old pads didn't work in rain, so I'm sticking with the cork. But I don't feel great about it. Which sucks because the bike is my strength. If it rains, it's taking the best part of the race away from me. I'll have to ride A LOT slower than my normal pace, and that's really upsetting.
   But, what can I do? Not race? I guess I'll just have to make the best of it and hope the rain isn't too bad. If anyone knows an anti-rain dance, please break it our for me on Sunday!
   Two days!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Race Week!

   It's here. Finally. Race week. Is it possible to be excited and terrified at the same time? Because that's how I'm feeling.  Excited, terrified and a little tired.
   Right now, I'm in "list" mode. I'm a huge believer in lists - I love writing something down and then crossing it off when it's been accomplished. I'm currently writing everything down that I might possibly need for IMCHOO. My friend (and Ironman veteran) Marne, was kind enough so share her IM checklist with me, so I have a good reference to make sure I don't forget anything. I've basically taken over the dining room table and made it "Ironman Central." Anything that I might possibly need, I put on the table.
   You know, I just realized as I'm writing this - I put my Infinit nutrition on the table. I really hope that it doesn't have any kind of smell because, if it does, my crazy doxie WILL jump on the table and try to eat it. Wouldn't that be something? To have a dog eat my custom-ordered nutrition a few days before the race? Sigh - I need to call my husband and ask him to move that.
   Anyway, you can probably see where my mind is right now - pretty much all over the place. I actually NEED for this race to be over so I can get some of my sanity back. I do think I have all of the major things covered though: The hotel is confirmed, I got my bike checked out, and I'm having my pre-race massage tomorrow. I even went out and bought IMCHOO colored nail polish so I can totally represent on race day. Hey- it's the little things that make it fun.
   And speaking of fun - look at the amazing bib number my friend Duane made for me! He rocks.

Single digits now, y'all - 6 days!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's Taper Time!!

   Today...I started my taper for IMCHOO. After a year of planning, and months of training - I'm finally entering my last stage before the race - the blessed taper. While my coaches have made it clear that my workouts should still have a high intensity level, the lengths of my workouts are going to be shorter. Well, except for my swim. I have a 5,000(!!!) meter swim on Friday. Yeah - really looking forward to that one. Anyway, the shorter workouts will let my body rest and heal up from all of the abuse I've thrown at it over the past few months. Hopefully, by the time race day gets here, I'll be at peak performance.
   The one question everyone has been asking is, "Do I feel ready?" And my answer is always, "I don't know." This is my first Ironman. How do you know if you're ready? The only way I would 100% know if I'm ready is if I actually did an Ironman during training. And while I'm sure there are people who actually train like that - I'm not one of them.
    This kind of freaks me out because in less than two weeks, I'm going to be swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 116 miles (due to the increase in the bike course) and running 26.2 miles. While I'm feeling pretty good about how things will go for the swim and the bike, I have NO idea how will my body react at mile 20 of the marathon. No. Idea. That's slightly terrifying.
   But there really isn't anything I can do about that now. The bulk of my training is done, and I have to trust in my training. I just need to try to remain calm for the next two weeks. Because that'll be easy...
   13 days!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's Next?

   So, in case you're brand new to my blog, I have an Ironman in 18 days. My first. I should really be focusing on that, right? And I am...believe me, I am. However, I can't help but think about what's next?  I mean, I've been planning for this Ironman for over a year. OVER A YEAR! That's crazy. For that entire time, I haven't had to think about any fitness goals, as Ironman was always there - looming in the distance. But now it's here, and I'm looking at my October schedule...and it has nothing on it. No races, no training. Nothing. It's kind of freaking me out.
   Yes, I'll take some time off immediately after the race to recover, but I know me. That will maybe last a week - two at the most. While I won't immediately go back into serious training, I won't let too much moss grow under my feet before I'm back on the roads or in the pool.
   The question is now - what to do? And how soon? I've toyed with the idea of seriously training for a marathon - maybe try to get into Chicago next year? What about an Ultra? Nothing crazy like a 50-miler, but I might be able to handle a 50k... You don't really run those fast, right? I could probably handle it if I didn't have to run fast. I still want to hit a race in every state, but I've run most of the "close" states. Most of the ones I'm looking at now require flights, which requires taking time off of work. That might be an issue, however, I should be able to cross off a few more states (I'm looking at you Mississippi Blues and Cincinnati Flying Pig). Maybe an endurance swim (5k) or a crazy, long cycling event like RAGBRI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa)? Or dare I say, another Ironman? Ugh - too many choices!! If anyone has a "must do" race or event that I can use as a new training goal, please let me know! I'm open to suggestions!!
   18 days!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

20 Days!

   Today is the 8th. IMCHOO is the 28th. Seriously, y'all - TWENTY DAYS!!  I'd really be freaking out if I wasn't so busy with work right now. While that's kind of been a blessing because it gets my mind off of Ironman, I also kind of WANT to obsess about the race. It's been such a huge part of my life for a year. Now, that it's finally here, I want to freak out a bit. Not in a panicky, hyperventilating, "oh my God, I'm going to die doing this" kind of way, but in a constructive way:  I want to start making lists and packing my gear. I want to double-check my hotel room. I want to play with the "predicted finishing times" spreadsheet, so I know exactly what my best and worst case scenarios are. Sure, some may call me obsessive, but I like to think of it as prepared.

20 DAYS!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three Liters a Day

   I started something new last week - I started drinking three liters of water a day. I know for some of you, that might not be any big deal, but for me, it is. I'm not a big water drinker. Diet Dr. Pepper, I can drink ALL DAY. Hot tea, I can drink ALL DAY (my office is freezing). I have a hard time with water, though. Even though I know how good water is for you, it's just too bland for me. I want flavor! And yes, I've purchased the Propels, the Mios, and other types of water-flavorers (is that even a word? Flavorer? Well, it is now.), but I run out after a few days and then I'm stuck drinking boring water again.
   However, I've been having issues with side stitches when running recently - really debilitating side stitches. They originally started when I was running in New York back in June, and then have randomly hit during long runs ever since. The worst was during Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic triathlon, where I couldn't even get through the first mile of the run because of the pain. I know that if one of these hit while I'm running IMCHOO, my race might be over. Therefore, I'm trying to do everything I can to prevent it. Consistently hydrating everyday is one of those things.
   And you know what? It seems to be working. Granted, I only started this on the 25th, so I can't say for sure that I'm forever free from side stitches, but I've had several long, humid runs without any issues. Even this morning, I had a hilly, eight mile run before work. It was so humid that I was drenched by mile two. But no side stitches. I think I might be on to something here.
1,400 feet of elevation gain on this run. Gotta love my new neighborhood.
   24 days!