Yesterday was difficult. It was the longest and most challenging race I have ever participated in. It is the first race I have done that I really did not enjoy. I was certainly the most ultimate physical challenge of my life and although I had to wrestle a lot of self doubt all day, I've come out of this race a lot stronger and with a ton of confidence for IMFL.
I finished the Chesapeakeman Aqua Velo in Cambridge, MD. This was a 2.4 mile swim in very brackish, choppy water saturated with slimy sea nettles followed by a 112 mile lonely, extremely windy, flat, desolate bike course. The mental challenges were worse than the physical. I should note, that I could not get more than 30 minutes of sleep at a time the night before due to the obnoxious family in the next hotel room. They were out of control loud until 3:00 am. I had to get up at 4:00. I'm sure that did not aid my frame of mind.
I had a few melt downs, one at the start when we sent my husband on a quick errand and he had trouble and disappeared for an hour or more and nearly missed the race start. I had another rough moment at mile 66. After being "attacked" by the wind and having to ride my bike through flooded roadways on what I found to be a really boring course, I did not want to get back on the bike. The pavement was horrible during some sections and I got off my bike twice thinking I had a flat tire. I wasn't sure where the aid stations would be since they were irregularly spaced and most of the time I was all alone out there, wondering if I had missed a turn. It was not fun, but it was extremely rewarding to finally finish and get off that bike!
However, as hard as it was, I found the inner strength to keep pushing through. In fact, once I set out again, I did the rest of the ride super fast and Nick did not get to see me finish. After witnessing my attitude at mile 66, he was NOT expecting me to pull it together and come back stronger in the end.
Now, I know I can do the Ironman. I am 100% sure my body will be fit enough and my mental toughness will come through. I am not worried about the running part at all. I have enough time in my splits to walk it and still finish! Despite the distance and challenge, I still had plenty of energy after the race. Plus, I believe IMFL's bike will be easier mentally. Its a bigger race, so there will be spectators and many other athletes. There's also an aid station every 10 miles, so I'll be able to focus on getting to each aid station and break the race into mini-goals.
Now, I need to figure out how to fix poor Stella. Her gears/chain ring is just covered in gross salt water.
T1: 9:21 (need to practice transition w/ gear bags)
4th out of 4 in age group...but for me, on that day, just finishing was rewarding enough.
Breakfast: bagel, laughing cow cream cheese, doubleshot expresso, banana, gatorade, water
Pre-Swim: shot block
Bike- lots of gatorade endurance, water, shot blocks, Gu Roctane gels, regular gu gels, power gels, a Cliff Bar- oatmeal at mile 66, a few e-caps.
Recovery: 1 slice of pizza, water. I still can't get an appetite.
Someone told me I should look into "carbo pro" a calorie dense drink so I don't have to carry as much nutrition or slow down for my 20 minute "feedings" as often. I will try it sometime in October.