Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summertime in DC...I Mean Swamp Land

Just like every other summer in DC, the summer of 2013 is living up to the usual hype of high humidity and high temps. Unfortunately, I have felt the wrath of DC summer once again with my training and racing. As I get older, I definitely don’t respond as well to the heat as I used to!

Crazy hot day in July!

The Race (er Races) That Were Just Not Meant to be

My first race of the season was originally going to be the Kinetic Half back in May. If you follow my Facebook posts at all, you know that this was the time Ron was battling his illness from Cancun. The weekend of Kinetic, he was not doing well at all, so I stayed home to take care of him. Getting Ron better and healthy was my primary focus of course and racing would just have to wait.
Then, my next ‘first’ race of the season was Rev 3 Half in Williamsburg, VA the end of June. I had been feeling off a few days prior and experienced some light headedness a few times the day before the race. Even though I had been hydrating, something with my body didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I just chalked it up to me being nervous, tired and every other excuse besides getting sick since there was no way I could be sick right when I’m supposed to race right?!  
I do have to say that the swim at Rev 3 Half in Williamsburg was the worst swim I’ve ever experienced! Even people who are excellent swimmers and who have been swimming their whole lives said the swim was awful.

The start included a wade/waddle for what seemed like forever until the water actually got deep enough to swim in. Then the chop was out of control. I just thought it was from the wind and the direction we were swimming but found out later, there was a barge that was coming in so it was creating the rough waters. I saw several people stop and have to call out to get some help all around the same time I swallowed about a gallon of water and was dry heaving which caused me to panic a bit. I’ve never been so happy to see the finish of a swim. This swim definitely did not help the way I was feeling, so I decided to call it a day. After getting cleaned up, Ron and I came back out on the course and cheered our friends on to the finish line. A few days later I realized that I had made the right choice to stop racing. I ended up in the ER to be treated for dehydration and heat exhaustion. This has never happened to me before so I know part of why I got to this point was b/c my body was still fighting something off. If I had known I wasn’t 100% still, I wouldn’t have gone out for such a long run in the heat and humidity. I’ve definitely been cautious and have been very in tune with my body since!

Into July, peak Ironman training began. This consisted of several 100 mile rides and 15-20 mile runs for the several weeks build to taper time. A week after my trip to the ER I was well enough to do the Total 200k but stopped at mile 108 knowing that was definitely enough for that day in the heat, and stopped while I still felt good. No sense in setting myself back again! My mom also visited for about a week and we got to spend the 4th together. Thank you mom for your support while I got in some of my training while you were here!
At the top of the 'Newseum'

Since my training was on and off through June, my taper was going to consist of two weeks, instead of three. That meant, I could sign up for Bike to the Beach for Autism! Even though I had to make a last minute decision to ride, I ended up being able to raise $650 for Autism Speaks! Thank you again to all my friends and family who donated on such short notice. I was so pumped when I got to do this ride for such a great cause a 3rd year in a row. As of last Friday, Bike to the Beach has raised $398,982 for Autism Speaks! If you’d like to learn more about the event and charity rides click here.

The ride begins near the Capitol at 5:00 am and you have a rolling course for 33 miles into Annapolis. This year there were over 500 riders. It's quite a site to see hundreds of bikers riding through the streets of DC with red blinkers flashing away! Bikes are not allowed to ride over the four mile Bay Bridge (thankfully!) so everyone gets shuttled over the bridge and then another 15 miles or so to the next start point. Ron and I were going to spend the night in Dewey Beach so he met me in Annapolis and drove me over. The rest of the ride was pancake flat. It was nice to get some flat riding in b/c I have been training on hills all summer in prep for Mont Tremblant. I can tell the hills have helped me build leg strength b/c the flats felt real good. Surprisingly, I hit mile 100 at 4 hours 53 min and this included the slow part getting out of DC in the beginning! That’s a first for me to hit 100 under 5 hours and I was pretty much by myself the last 70+ miles!! I was beginning to feel my body peak! I love that feeling! The ride ended up being 107 miles. I met Ron at his car and had to get ready for an hour run. I ran towards Rehoboth Beach and got to run along the Boardwalk then into a nice shaded neighborhood. Ron and I used to have a share in a beach house several summers ago so it was nice to bike and run around some of the old training spots I used to frequent when at the beach. After my run, we hung out at the finish line for awhile, showered up and took a two hour nap! We were watching our roommate’s dog, Chuck (love him!), for the week so we just hung out with Chuck, got some dinner and relaxed the rest of the night.

For my last long run before my IM, I ran 20 miles. I lucked out and the weather was perfect that Sunday in DC! Mentally and physically, I wanted and needed to see if I could hold 8 min. pace comfortably. My training session was to do 2 min. 30 seconds faster than marathon pace, 4 min. steady marathon pace. I wanted to simulate the IM marathon course as best I could so chose a hilly route that included crushed rock. I ended up averaging under 8 min. pace for the 20. Once again, I surprised myself since my body has caused me to second guess my ability several times this summer. After this last long weekend of training, I felt I had peaked and was ready for my taper to begin!
It is now race week and tomorrow morning I leave for Montreal. I am so freakin excited!! I have so many friends who will be racing and there will be so many of our friends and their families out cheering on the race course. Ron is flying up with me and we are staying with our good friend Alejandro right in the village close to the finish line. Sweet! I can’t wait to share this experience with everyone up there this weekend! I also hope to have a race report to share for my first race (finally!)of the season when I get back! I'm hoping to be able to do another blog post while I'm in Mont Tremblant before race day and post some pictures of the beautiful area.

Oh and please excuse any edits I may have missed. I wrote this earlier and finally posting tonight. I need to get to bed and get on my flight to Montreal at 6am tomorrow. Woo hoo!

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