Thursday, August 25, 2011

Race Weekend is Here!

Race day is in three days! Ironman Louisville here I come! I can honestly say, I am finally excited to race. There have been some up’s and downs on my journey to IM Loui, but I think my body is ready to go!  I feel like the last weekend in July was my ‘breakthrough’ weekend. Ron and I did the Bike to Beach Century for Autism ride on a very HOT day! This was a fun ride for a wonderful cause! We left from Washington, DC at 5am, biked to Annapolis for the first 33 miles, got bussed over the Bay Bridge, and then dropped off at route 405 to bike the rest of the way to Dewey Beach, DE. Ron realized that he did not have his camelback with his water and money in it when we arrived at the beginning of the ride. So, he drove back to get it, then realized I had the house key. Ugh! So, he drove back, got the key, and then had to drive to Annapolis to meet up with me there. Despite the annoying and frustrating start of the day, this ended up working out well b/c Ron was just coming back from hurting his back. He could barely walk two weeks before the ride but ended up finishing the 70+ miles to Dewy strong and in no pain!

Bike to Beach

This was a great ride for me as well. I got into a groove and was able to crank out an interval of 10 miles or so around mile 70 and keep a 23-24 mph ave. I surprised myself b/c it was close to 100 degrees with the heat index at that point and all of a sudden I just got this burst of energy. We were holding around 20 mph ave. for most of the ride so I was very pleased with that! Granted, the last 75 miles of the ride were pancake flat and not hilly like all my training rides, (I think I do better on flat courses) I felt this was one of my best long rides of the season. Hmmm maybe I do like flat courses best.
Two days later was my first 20-mile run of the season and I managed to produce negative splits and average 8:05 pace.  The heat/humidity has been tough to train through this summer and for awhile, I felt like the heat defeated me on almost every long run. Just one week before my ‘breakthrough run,’ I had to cut my long run short and called it quits at mile 15. I just bonked and my body was breaking down becoming tired w/ horrible form. The heat won that day. I felt defeated but thankfully, Ron was out with his bike to give me more water at the turn around point. He is the one that talked some sense into me and told me to stop, that he would go home and get the car to come back and get me. After he left me, I did sneak in another half a mile to our meeting spot to get in 15 instead of walking it. I am a Garmin numbers sucker and I couldn’t stop at just under 15 miles. It’s a mental thing for me. ;)
After my great training weekend, I got in my last 6-hour ride. I actually did this ride by myself b/c some of my friends were doing a double brick (hell no I said to that training offer!) and a lot of my other friends were recovering from IM Lake Placid. This will definitely help me mentally on race day. It gets a little lonely riding 110 miles by yourself on a hot day and you just have to keep telling yourself to keep going and stay positive. I kept telling myself that taper was just around the corner! I had a sore throat that day and hoping it would just go away. Well, it turned into a cold/sinus issue and kept me from getting in my last 20 miler that weekend. I took a few days off and then ended up getting in a three-hour ride, swim and Body Pump class. Whoops! That was too much and I was out of commission for another two days. Then it was time to leave for NYC for our work conference for a week of running around and long days. Not really the taper I had planned, but in the end I guess it was a ‘forced taper’ for me and think it will actually help me come race day. I did end up getting in my last 20 miler that weekend in Central Park! What a place to run! The change of scenery was much appreciated and I got to people watch all afternoon!  I even got yelled at by a New Yorker woman telling me I was running too damn long. So sorry to ruin your day lady! Ha
This brings me to the week of the Ironman full of earthquakes and hurricanes. Who knew I’d experience such crazy acts of Mother Nature when I moved out to the East Coast eight years ago?!  Luckily, I didn’t get trapped in the elevator I was on when the earthquake rumbled the earth, and we are getting the heck out of dodge before the hurricane blows through the Mid Atlantic area.  Right now, the weather is looking pretty darn good for race day…a high of 81 and no storms! (I’m knocking on wood every chance I get!) Last year the temps scored to a high of 100 degrees with the heat index, and if that were to happen again this year, I’d be in deep trouble! Even though I’ve been training in the heat, that type of heat is just evil and not safe or fun to race in.
I spoke with Coach Mackenzie last night to discuss my race plan and she gave me some great tips and motivation for race day. Then, tonight I visited my chiropractor, Dr. Beck from Capitol Rehab, and he told me I am feeling strong and my back/hamstring are right where he wants them to be for race day. Yes! Dr. Beck has been my Saving Grace the past two years and with his help, I’ve become a 2x Ironman finisher and have made it through this year’s tough IM training. He works with a ton of athletes and is not your typical chiropractor.  He does ART (Active Release Therapy) on my hamstring each session, sometimes digs deep and massages my hammy/hip flexors, gives me core/hamstring/hip exercises to do, and has this cool trick he does to help release sinus pressure. ;) I also highly recommend getting a deep tissue massage from their massage therapist, George. J Dr. Beck genuinely cares about his patients and wants to help all the athletes he works with achieve their goals. Their office is pretty cool b/c they have pictures of the athletes they have worked with all along their wall. (I still owe them a picture of me oops!)
This post was a bit rushed so excuse any grammatical errors. As always, I have not taken the time (or had much free time) to blog and figure I should probably post something about the past few months before the race is here and gone. Part of the whole Ironman experience is the months of training itself leading up to the big day!
 It’s time for bed! Everything is packed and I stuck my lucky stuffed turtle in my suitcase. My mom gave me that turtle for good luck my first marathon back in 1999. He goes with me to all my races! This is going to be a fun weekend with lots of athletes from High Cloud and DC Tri. The support crew is going to be amazing! Good luck to everyone racing!!

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