Friday, 11 October 2013

The Hills are Alive...and So am I

Peak phase of my Ironman training started at the end of August and ran right through September (and sometimes over me as well). 

This is when it gets tough - I mean really tough.  Long swims, long bike rides, long runs = very little time for anything else.  I did have to fit a full time job and husband in there somehow, although both have been incredibly wonderful and supportive.

Training Review - 917.57k / 64:45 hours / 43 workouts

All of the hilly bike rides, conquering Steeles and hilly runs led me to my Half Ironman race - Ironman Muskoka 70.3 on the first weekend of September.  This is one mother of a course - good swim, but tough bike and run.  The pros come here to get ready for Kona...and I'm here why?

My friend Shelley and I travelled up to Muskoka on the Friday and got prepared to race on Sunday.  This was my first official Ironman race, so I was interested in how the process worked (to give me a taste of what to expect in Florida).  It was extremely well organized and in no time, we had racked our bikes in transition, got our race kits and were on the shuttle bus back to the hotel.

During this journey, I have been so blessed with the most incredible support team anyone could ask for and this race was no different.  A car load of supporters left home at the crack of dark to drive to Muskoka to see us race - love my peeps!

Race day was perfect weather and I was surprisingly calm (hoping part of this will translate to Florida as well).  I had a stellar swim (11 minute PB over last year's Half Iron), a strong bike and a strong run.  I said I was not going to get off my bike for any hills - I didn't.  I exceeded my time goals that I had in my head for both the bike and run and finished with a smile on my face.  It doesn't get much better than that...or so I thought.

Once we were done and on our way back to get our bikes from transition, I saw Mirinda Carfrae (who won Muskoka this year) and asked if we could have our photo taken with her.  She was so accommodating and even hugged us (sweat and all!).  This was definitely the icing on my race cake.

So all my hard work definitely paid off in Muskoka.  I had an awesome race and loved every minute (yes, even climbing at 7 km/h and running up that last hill).

I know that if I can finish Muskoka, I can finish Florida.  Coming into that Ironman chute and being greeted with my medal, finisher hat and shirt was a great feeling - can't wait to do it again on November 2.

Learning to Deal Smart

I have been very remiss in posting in my IM blog and really have no excuse, other than training like a fiend and cramming the rest of my life into whatever time is left.

Having said that, I am going to make two entries to get up to speed on my journey to Ironman Florida.

The month of August seemed to fly by with my training in full swing with lots of hill biking, long swims and longer runs.  I registered for the Bracebridge Olympic Tri which was being held the second weekend in August.  This was going to be a training race for me, but I had planned on racing strong and hopefully seeing some improvement over my results two years ago.

Training Review - 768.51k / 58:38 hours / 51 workouts

We travelled to Bracebridge on the Friday so I would have lots of time to get ready to race on Sunday.  The weather was perfect and we enjoyed some time in downtown Bracebridge, shopping in the small stores and having lunch by the water.

Unfortunately on the Saturday afternoon, I began to not feel well.  By the time dinner rolled around, I had been violently ill several times and could not keep any food down.  Needless to say, racing the next day was going to be a race morning decision.

On Sunday morning, I had hardly slept and hadn't kept any food down, so I made the call to not race.  While I knew that this was the right decision (eye on the prize, Kerry), it was very difficult for me.  I am not a quitter.

Once I decided to not race, part of me was relieved that I could get better so I wouldn't lose any training time.  But part of me was thinking - suck it up, it's just an Olympic distance.  This is where my life lesson came in - learning to deal smart.

It was absolutely the right decision for me not to race an Olympic tri and risk getting sicker and impacting my IM training.  Everyone told me I had made the right decision - I had to learn to accept it and move forward.

Even the best laid plans sometimes go sideways and something totally out of our control throws us for loop.  We can't change it, but we do have control over how we deal with it.  I said at the beginning of this journey that one of the things I wanted to get better at ws to accept that I'm not perfect and not everything will be stellar.

Here was my opportunity to see if I had grown (just a little).  While I did have my moments of wondering if I could have gotten through Bracebridge, they were fleeting, and I had full confidence in the decision I made being the right one for me (not anyone else, for me).

Guess who's grown just a