September 10, 2012

Gaining Confidence

First, thank you so much for all of your support on my last post where I was FREAKING OUT about my upcoming 70.3 triathlon.  I got lots of encouragement on my blog, dailymile and twitter, and I truly appreciated all of it.  I know it's normal to feel scared about taking on such a huge endeavor, but I was nervous telling the world my fears. However, I'm glad I did.  I'm in a much better place now.  My race is 3 weeks from yesterday, meaning I have two more training weekends.  This past weekend was my peak weekend of training, and it's all downhill from here until the big day.

For my peak week, I decided to do a huge monster brick. For those of you who don't do triathlons, a brick is when you do two consecutive sports, usually a bike ride followed by a run, but it can be a swim/run, swim/bike, bike/swim, etc.  Usually what I've been doing is my long bike rides followed by a 1 mile transition run, making for a short brick, just to get my legs used to running after biking.  But I haven't done more than a mile run off the bike in quite a while. A few months ago I biked 30 miles and then ran 5, but I really wanted to up the mileage.I wanted to know that I COULD DO IT.

Saturday morning I got up early and headed to Coronado, which is where my half-Ironman will be.  My goal was to bike 50 miles, then run 8. I've been doing a lot of bike rides there...I can't quite ride the course, as the course will actually be on the highway, but I've been riding the bike path alongside the highway, along the Silver Strand, so I'm mimicking it the best I can. The course is pretty flat but has a huge headwind, making it hard to ride.  The Silver Strand is boring, and quite frankly, pretty ugly (at least to me).  Sometimes you can see a pretty view of the San Diego Bay and across to downtown San Diego, but for the most part the view is desolate.  It takes a lot of mental toughness for me to get through riding (and running) there. In fact, I did the Silver Strand Half Marathon there last November, and even then noted it was the most boring race I've ever run.  Two weeks ago I did my longest bike ride ever there, 60 miles, and it was pretty torturous for me.

Anyhow, I got the 50 miles done.  It was slow (it took me 3:33) but I got it done. I think I nailed my nutrition; I've been trying to eat about 250 calories per hour on the bike, and I came pretty close.  I was tired at the end, but I could have gone an extra 6 miles (the race will be 56 miles on the bike) if I had needed.  I wasn't fast at all, I never am, but although I could have gone a tiny bit faster, I knew I had to conserve my energy to run 8 miles.

Afterwards, I transitioned in my car and went out for my 8 mile run.  This was really hard for me. It was very hot by this time, and I felt like I was slogging through the run. I ended up doing a run/walk:  I would run for 0.4 mile, then walk for 0.1, so each mile I would end up running 80% and walking 20%.  I would take an occasional extra walk break here and there, but overall this plan worked for me.  I figured out that if I have an overall average pace of 13 min/mile, I can finish in 2:50. Most of my half marathons recently I've finished between 2:29 and 2:45, but that is without swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles beforehand.  I am giving myself 3 hours for the run (and let's face it, I could totally implode and the wheels come off and I have a 3:30 half marathon) but I think I can do it in less than 3 hours, if I'm smart on the bike and do this run/walk combination. I finished the 8 miles with an average pace of 12:18.  Yes, it was hard. Yes, I was exhausted and my sciatic nerve pain was flaring up, but I did it in a decent pace for me.  If I had to do another 5.1 miles after that, it would have been hard, but I would have done it, running 0.4 miles at a time and getting it done.

I came home and felt good all day. I was proud of the monster brick, which was not too far off of the 56 mile bike/13.1 mile run I'll be doing in a few weeks. The next morning, I woke up early to do an open water swim with my friend Steve, who is also doing SuperFrog.  I was sore, but not terribly sore.  We did a 1.2 mile swim, doing two loops (which meant two times each of entering the waves, which were bigger than I've ever swam in, and two times exiting the waves....this mimics SuperFrog, which is also a double-looped ocean swim).  The swim was good. I wore a sleeveless wetsuit that a friend lent me, which was much easier on my shoulders. I was tired for the first part---swimming out into the waves and the current is very draining--but toward the end I found my energy. And I learned two valuable things on the swim:  I need to wear my tinted goggles, as the sun was directly in my eyes heading back to shore and I was blinded, and also to wear my goggles under my swim cap, as I got knocked over by a huge wave after the first loop and my goggles got knocked off! Luckily I found them, but that could be bad news in the triathlon if that were to happen again.  The rest of the day I felt great, not an ounce of soreness.

I woke up this morning, and wasn't sore at all. Tired, yes, but no more tired than usual. I could hardly believe that two days ago I biked 50 miles and ran 8, and yesterday swam 1.2 miles in the ocean.  I started worrying this morning that maybe I didn't do peak week right, that maybe I should have gone longer, but when I mentioned this on dailymile, my friends assured me I'm not sore because my body is ready. I guess I'm ready! I won't be fast, it won't be pretty, but I'm ready.

Speaking of not being fast, today I read a great post by one of my favorite bloggers, Dimity, at Another Mother Runner.  In recapping a recent race she did, she wrote: "At some point as I battled on the bike, I realized I had to stop caring about not going the full distance. A coach once told me that nobody cares about your times but you, which stuck with me. (Then he added, they do care if you’re fun to hang out with before and after a race, if you support and encourage them. I totally agree.)"  Just what I needed to read. It doesn't matter if I come in under 8 hours or way over 8 hours---I will have finished the race and no one cares about the time except for me....and at this point,  I don't care about time. It's my first time doing this distance, so whatever my time is will be an automatic PR for me (personal record).

Gosh, this post is long and rambling again. I guess what I'm trying to say---in a very long-winded way--is that this weekend gave me the confidence boost I desperately needed. My body is ready. The hay is in the barn. I need to train for a few more weeks, then BAM---it's my time to shine.

Oh--and Lance Armstrong is doing the race too. I hope I see him! I'm sure I will; the bike course is 4 loops out-and-back, so I expect to see him on his 4th loops while I'm out on my 1st.


  1. Don't freak out! You can do this!!!!

  2. You're totally ready. This race will be a huge accomplishment, time doesn't matter one bit. I'm so excited for you!!

  3. Yeah! I am so inspired and motivated hearing stories like yours. This will be me next summer as I will be doing Vineman 70.3 and I'm sure I will feel the same way you do right now; anxious but ready to conquer my first Half IM. Dimity is so right; "nobody cares about my race but me" is my mantra! Can't wait to read your race report. Good luck!!

  4. I know you will do great. I'll be cheering for you!

  5. So happy to see you feeling more confident about it! Your training work outs aren't suppose to be fast, so you're right, just get the distance done and enjoy it!


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