There was more Madness on hand last weekend. Saturday was the first open water swim of the season and the first time swimming in 3 weeks for me (the fishy tattoo was finally done and healed). Got out the wetsuit and headed to Red Top. My goal was to see how I felt and hopefully get at least a 1200-1500 m swim done. Best case scenario would be 1.2 miles (~1900m). I started swimming and did not feel the usual butterflies I get in open water. Ninety nine percent of the time I can calm myself down and just get on with my swim. It's just a weird adrenaline thing mixed with shoving your face in the water that causes momentary anxiety. This is always heightened on race day when you think of the enormity of what is ahead of you. Anyway, it was all good and I just swam.
Now that it's my 4th year doing this I can just swim without really thinking about it any more. Sure, I will concentrate on my pull or my stroke but for the most part I can just mindlessly swim and get there in reasonable time. I have come a long way from when I was drinking half the pool. It's kind of a nice feeling. Of course weather and other swimmers can always ruin your day but I pretty much got this swim thing down. So much so that I was able to comfortably swim 1.2 miles after no swimming for 3 weeks and barely any swimming prior to that for almost 6 months. I was quite happy! Now to get back in the swim routine, build up the endurance and get a little faster.
Post swim we changed and headed off to run the trails. I chatted with Teesha for 6 miles and we both felt a little tired and were not looking forward to the second loop. I decided to skip it since it was a hilly run and we had 56 miles of hell awaiting us the next day. The rest of the crew thought this was a good plan and we all called it a day after 6 miles.
The Madness continues..... On Sunday I headed up to Carters Lake with the No Boundaries crew for a second look at the Mountain Madness bike course. Originally, I was supposed to head to Athens for the Terrapin Brewery Anniversary party Saturday night and then go straight to Carters Lake. I thought this was too much packed into one weekend so I let John go without me. He decided to go to a swim clinic Sunday instead and I caught a ride with Harry (fellow IM MOO training partner) and Adrienne. This time I brought Fiona Felt the tri bike and no granny gears to help me through. I was at the back of the pack all day but as Harry pointed out I was consistently only 3 minutes behind. I guess that is an improvement.
The ride was tough but Fiona and I made it. The mountain climb even seemed a little easier. Here is the profile of the ride.
It's really not that Fort Mountain climb in the middle that gets you. It's those climbs at the very end of the ride. By the time you get there you want to throw your bike in the lake NOT hop off and run 13.1 miles. I did finish a bit faster than last time and did a 1 mile brick around the parking lot.
It still is questionable if I will make the cutoffs. The cutoffs are not very generous and this is a tough, tough course. I am not alone in my fear of not getting to finish. In the end it is a training race so I will try my best not to stress about it too much. No matter what I will be stronger for doing this bike ride multiple times.
Not too much else going on right now except work and training. Training is going well so far and work has calmed down a bit, thank God!! Also, the extra stresses seemed to have subsided so its just train, work, eat and sleep until Louisville!!
Here are some pics from the scenic overlook near the top of Fort Mountain:
Picture of the No Boundaries crew at Red Top
It's not all training - we find some time for some beer if only the ones matching our bike jerseys. I look like I have had a few too many!