Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

Yesterday was Epic Saturday....a full day of swim, bike and run up on the Madison IM course that was supposed to serve as a "dress rehearsal" of sorts for race day.  After a high volume week of work outs (the most recent being a 16 mile long run EARLY on Thursday morning), I approached the weekend with trepidation, not knowing how my body would hold up.  Well, as I would quickly find out, you need to be prepared for ANYTHING come race day and your body won't hold up at all if not fueled properly.  Here's a look at my epic weekend....

Swim: 48:13, 1.2 miles (although probably more like 1.4)
Madison Open Water Swim race. Started 1.5 hours late due to thunderstorms. I almost bailed, but some friends convinced me there were loads of benefits to waiting it out and doing the swim. I agreed since mentally I needed to know what the IM course felt like...what it's like to see Monona Terrace from the water...what a deep water start feels like. Once we got going (not until around 10am) I was glad I waited. I had a great start, very calm and confident, and felt okay the whole time. It was just REALLY hard to see the buoys out there....they had blown all over the lake during the storm and they tried to reset them, but they weren't all in straight lines. So I swam all over the place. And it seemed to take FOREVER. Which it did. I got out and was super disappointed with my time, but after hearing it was long I felt much better. All I could think was, "and I have to do that AGAIN?!" I'm glad I did it, but the lack of being smart enough to take in extra nutrition during the delay led to a disastrous rest of the day....

Bike: 4:55, 71 miles
I was riding with a friend from Monona Terrace, so after getting changed and getting our bikes ready, we headed out...down the helix just like on race day! By this time it was after noon, and I hadn't really eaten anything since my early morning breakfast....I started my nutrition on the bike, but since I don't usually eat anything solid until the one hour mark I didn't think to take in anything right away. The first part of the "stick" was slow since we were maneuvering the bike path and parking lot of Alliant Energy Center, but I am so thankful to Wendy for showing me the real course! Once we got on the roads I actually felt pretty great. It was a gorgeous day and I was glad to have someone to ride with. Then we got to Verona and shortly after starting the first loop it all fell apart. I knew early on, as even the rollers in the first part of the course were feeling like mountains, that it wasn't going to be a good day. But I just chalked it up to sore legs from my long run Thursday. But as we continued on, I became more and more frustrated as I had ZERO power in my legs, then I started to feel dizzy and not quite with it. Stopped in Cross Plains and had a quick chat with my coach, told him I needed some new legs, but still didn't think about needing more nutrition. Got up Old Sauk hill, but had some problems on Timber and slowly crept up Midtown. Made our way back to Firemans Park and I stopped to talk to Jonathan (who was just back from a 15 mile run himself) to re-assess. It was while I was there that I realized I had started my bike at noon...not taken in any solids until 1pm...with only minimal calories in my body. So I downed a Pay Day and hoped I would perk back up. Headed out to start another loop, but was so dizzy I just didn't trust myself to be alone on the bike. So back to Firemans, chatted with more friends, then decided I would head out and do part of the "stick" again. I slammed more nutrition on my way out and it wasn't until this point - nearly FIVE hours into my ride - that I started to feel some energy. Ugh! Tacked on another hour and headed back to downtown Verona to meet Jonathan at the coffee shop.

Now that I look back on the day, I can pinpoint the mistake I made with my nutrition early in the day and can't stop thinking how stupid it was! Because now I'm left with THAT being my last training ride on the course. I just kept thinking that if yesterday was race day, there is no way I could have finished. It was SO hard. I couldn't figure out why it was so much harder than the last time I rode it (and loved it!). My confidence was absolutely shattered. I thought about pulling out of the race. And even knowing that nutrition was likely the cause of my problems, when I think back on this ride now I just want to cry. I am going to go into race day scared to death of what I'm going to feel like on that bike course.

Run: 45:41, 4.2 miles (estimate)
I did not walk one step of this run. I regrouped at the little gazebo on main street in Verona, took a caffeinated gel, put on my head phones and set out to finish my day. The trail was gorgeous, and it was sprinkling a little bit. My legs felt like jello but I would NOT let myself quit. I am SO proud of myself for this.

After a long drive home from Madison, I followed up Epic Saturday with 2.5 hours of biking/running today.  The bike was tough, but the run felt awesome (not sure where THAT came from!). 

What a mixed bag this weekend has been.  From the low low of yesterday's bike to the high of today's run.  I can't believe it's only three weeks until race day.  It's probably normal to feel totally and utterly unprepared?    I hope I've done enough.  I really hope I've done enough.  I need to stop doubting and enjoy the rest of this journey because at this rate it's going to be over in the blink of an eye.  Taper officially starts this week, although since we only come down to about 75% of our high volume, the week ahead is still pretty hefty.  We don't really start to cut back until next week.  It's also a super busy week ahead at work so I'm going to be as organized as I can and try to take really good care of myself!  Have a good week all!

- Her

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