Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Since my last post I had been preparing for the Cardinal Half Ironman in Louisville. The race was supposed to be a great prep for the Ironman seeing as it incorporated part of the bike course and was perfect timing for some racing experience and training. You notice I use the words "supposed to". The race was 2 Saturdays ago and the Thursday before the race we got an email stating that the race had been moved 50 miles away due to unforeseen circumstances. No more swim in the river, no more ride on the bike course etc etc. Well, F***! In fact that was Coach Vader's exact response. 

That Thursday was already shaping up to be a hectic day. I worked and then had some personal stuff scheduled for the afternoon like a long overdue haircut. I also had yet to pack a single thing. I guess that is a good thing since I would have had to completely repack due to the change in plans. 

After much debate and a flurry of emails, phone calls and tense moments the following was devised: We would head to Louisville as planned on Friday. On Saturday I would take part in the Endurance Concepts Camp already taking place and ride the bike course with them. The IM Lou-natics would preview the swim start with the help of Kim's cousin coordinating with some local rowers and then meet Coach Vader for some quality bike time on the course. Sunday we would run the IM course together and head home.

We had all done a century the previous Sunday so this was supposed to be a bit of a drop back week. So much for that plan!! In fact I had been hitting the bike hard the last couple of weeks and this does not include time on the trainer or my weekly spin class:

This chart also does not include the ramp up in swim and a little bit of running thrown in. So, let's just say I was a little tired. 

We packed up the car and hit the road on Friday. The trip was uneventful and I occupied myself working on videos and uploading them using free wifi at fast food restaurants. We met up with Adrienne and Harry at the hotel and then headed downtown. We scouted out the parking situation around the Ironman host hotel and checked out 4th street - the site of the Ironman finish line.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and got ready for the next days ride. I was up and out the door by 6:30 and met up with the Endurance Concepts crew. John then went off to stock up for his crewing duties. My ride was to consist of an out and back on the "stick" (the hilliest section of the IM ride) and then one loop and then rinse and repeat. On race day we would only do the "stick" once but the loop twice. The "stick" turned out to be not bad at all and the first loop went by pretty fast. I observed there were lots of small climbs that could get you into trouble pretty quickly if you powered over them instead of gearing down each time. There will be a lot of gear changing on race day. Some of the roads were not in the best condition and it appeared that every pothole was located on the right third of the roads. Better to see all this in advance then on race day.

The second out and back went well and then we started the second loop with ominous skies. I was behind the group at this point - shocker - but I tried to tell myself that I had 3 big bike weekends prior to this so my legs were just plain tired. Things were fine until I hit LaGrange - the part of the loop that apparently has a huge cheering section. It goes through the center of town and right before that point I got dumped on. It was thundering and lightning but I kept moving along albeit at a slow speed. I tried not to think about the lightning and worried more about cars being able to see me in the downpour. I rode like this for a little while until I saw the EC van pull up so I slowed down and hopped in. Coach Josh said the lightning was getting really bad and he felt it was unsafe. I rode for about 10 miles to the gas station/SAG stop and by then the rain had slowed down. 

I finished the ride without incident but was mad I didn't get to do the whole distance. I ended up with 85 miles total and it felt a whole lot better than the 100 the previous weekend. It was still slower than I would have liked but I am hoping rested legs and taper will make all the difference (Pretty please!!!). I was extremely happy to have had a chance to see so much of the bike course. With the exception of the out and back from town (about 20 miles worth) I rode the entire bike course twice. I felt it was very doable and just hope for pleasant temps and no rain.

Here is a quick recap of the previous disastrous weekend:

This was to be the second century ride of the training season. Two times the 48+ loop at Cartersville was the plan. The day was warm and the start time was 9am to better simulate race day conditions. My instructions were to do the first loop at zone 2 and the second at zone 3. Immediately, things were not going well. I had a hard time keeping my heart rate down and staying in my zone and at the same time I was quickly losing the pack. Grumble, grumble this was not going to be a good day. 

I got through the first loop but felt tired and hot and just not happy. I hoped the bump up to zone 3 would help things but again I was quickly left behind and I was struggling. I was having a hard time staying cool and after taking a few salt pills my drink mix (Infinit) was not quenching my thirst. I wanted/needed water and all I had on my bike was the Infinit. I stopped often and drank from John's water. He quickly figured out I was having a hard time and stuck with me at the back. I wanted to quit a bunch of times but knew this was going to be hard to make up so it was do or die. Dying sounded like a better option at that point. In fact at one point I told John with tears in my eyes that I would rather be told to go run a 50K right now than to have to get on that bike and ride 40 more miles. 

I made it through but it was ugly. That 48 mile loop just seems so desolate and lonely. I was hating Cartersville, my bike, life and anyone who ever talked me into doing an Ironman. About 5 miles from the end it began to rain. I don't know if it was the cooling rain or the knowledge that I had only 5 more miles to go but I am sure that 5 miles was faster than any other 5 miles I rode that day. At least it seemed that way. The plan was also for a brick but thunder and lightning nixed that one. I was all smiles when I got off that bike. Where was that energy and those good feelings 3 hours prior? I was still concerned about my performance and over all speed. Will I ever have a long ride that does not feel hard? Will I ever have an average speed that will guarantee me a comfortable IM bike leg? I am trying to not be so hard on myself since I had ridden total of 131 miles that weekend.

It's all smiles back in the parking lot

Back to Louisville:

We relaxed a bit after the ride and then headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready for dinner. 

There was a pre-dinner excursion to get Terrie some running shorts which prompted a hilarious exchange on facebook:

Dinner was enjoyable and then it was time to get ready for our next adventure. Sunday morning we headed down to the riverfront for the run start. We would not be able to do the out an back on the bridge but the rest of the race course was accessible. We stopped by the host hotel to check out the bathroom facilities and were on our way. We took an easy pace doing 4 min run/1 min walk and chatted along the way. John positioned the car along the way and had a cooler full of water, ice and orange slices. The run was steamy but not too bad and it was an enjoyable 13 miles. We finished on 4th street and John took pictures of us simulating our Ironman finishes. 

While I was riding with EC Saturday morning the rest of the group was practicing the river entry and checking out the water. Since I did not get to do it on Saturday I wanted to at least see the swim start and maybe jump in swim and hop out. John drove us down and Terrie said she would swim with me. I got to jump off the dock and swim a bit and all was good. The swim felt a bit difficult but I was super tired after the run and bike and I was swimming in a run skirt so I will chalk that up to that.

All in all it was a fun weekend with lots of good training and priceless experience with the swim entry, bike course and run course. With the exception of losing out on race experience, the course change turned out to be the best thing ever. Now we can head to Louisville in August having previewed everything and just concentrate on checking in and relaxing until race day. Usually, there is the stress of finding out where everything is and driving the bike course in addition to all the race preparation. No need to do any of that this time around.

I had anticipated getting this all typed and posted before our beach trip but there was too much going on before we left. Instead we were lucky to get packed and out the door to our plane on Thursday night. The week of training post Louisville was pretty light and I was concerned that it might be too light but I am trusting my coach to know whats best. I also knew that the following weeks would be slightly hellish so I better enjoy my time at the beach!

Until then here are some fun videos:

No comments:

Post a Comment