While I certainly didn't follow my training plan to the letter - in fact, I gallantly started at the "Competitive" level and quickly dropped through "Intermediate," and am now somewhere closer to "Just Finish" - I think I put in some quality training this IM cycle, and am proud of myself for sticking with it. I've no doubt put in more pool time and hard cycling miles than I did prior to IMWI '06 or IMAZ '07, and my running is probably at a similar level. Hopefully, when we're all floating about on September 13, waiting for the cannon to fire, I can be confident that - for once! - the "hay" really is "in the barn," and just let the day unfold.
On the way back from Madison (more on that later), my beautiful wife - out of no where - started to sob in the seat next to me, happy and joyful that she had made it through this IM training cycle without getting hurt. As I may have mentioned, Cath had a nasty crash prior to IM WI in '06, and the injuries that resulted kept her from the start line. She has also had set-backs over the years due to various strains, pulls, breaks and other physical issues that either kept her out of races or at least hindered her performance. The relief she felt to realize that the start line is just a short taper away was emotionally powerful and the tears just ran out of her.
And it got me thinking - it really *is* a huge accomplishment for any of us to have gotten this far. Twenty-seven weeks ago we started this latest adventure, which works out to several hundred miles, laps, and intervals, six days a week. That's a ton of effort, both physical and mental, over a very long time. To hold it together - even on cold, rainy days when no one else is stupid enough to be out there - shows an incredible resolve and focus that deserves a bit of congratulations in and of itself.
Regardless of what happens on Race Day - and a lot of crazy things can happen on Race Day - the fact that we've all gotten to this point in one piece is something that no one can ever take away from you. All those early mornings. The sweat in your eyes. The rain on your sunglasses. The skinned knees. The bee stings. All of that "hay" is in the barn because you moved it there. And that, by itself, is reason to celebrate. Take a minute to do just that. You deserve it.
On the training front:
Saturday, Drew and I ran 18 miles along the lake path in about 2:40. The weather was fantastic - cool at the start, and then sunny as we finished up. Probably around an 8:40 pace throughout (I don't have my Garmin in front of me, so I'm guessing a bit).
After Cath finished up at work, and took a short nap, we blasted up to Madison for another crack at the loop. Talk about night and day. Whereas two weeks ago it was hot as all get-out, with high humidity and wind for added pleasure, Sunday morning was c-o-l-d, like, in the 50s cold. I actually had to wear a t-shirt under my jersey for the first loop to keep out the chill. There was fog in the lower valleys, but that burned off pretty quickly. Our friends couldn't make it up, so it was just Cath and I, and the course was unusually quiet - I had expected a huge turnout for one of the last weekends before most folks begin a taper. But the parking lot at Fireman's Park was almost empty when we arrived.
Anywho, I felt much, much better this go-around. The first loop was challenging, but not demoralizing, and we were back at the parking lot in no time. The weather could not have been better - lower 70s, with little or no wind. It doesn't get any better out there. Oddly enough, I felt even better on the second loop. Knowing where the turns were, which section of rollers were coming, and where the tougher climbs started, was a huge mental advantage. I recovered well after the climbs and we finished both loops in just under 4 and 1/2 hours. Cath's legs were pretty beat, so we just bricked for 15 minutes afterward, but I felt vindicated and much more confident about taking on the bike course. Hopefully, I'll have just as good a day on the 13th.
Welcome to Tapertown, kids - let's be smart about this final training phase!
Ironman Wisconsin 2016: My Ticket to Kona
11 months ago