Greetings from Tempe, where it is 115 degrees. But, you know, "it's a dry heat".
Yeah, like an oven. Yikes!
I'm leaving to go back to the "cool" (humid) Minnesota in just a few minutes, so only have a bit of time to catch up on what's been going on.
The WIBA weekend was wonderful and eye-opening.
I went with Nat and Amy S. The Stenzel's were there too and I had a chance to meet Mike and Jenny Wimmer. I met some other new friends, includig "famous" people like RobbyB and Simply Stu.
Friday night, we all had dinner together and there was a Course Prep talk. I got a lot of great tips, including
- "put your name on every thing" and
- "put a pair of extra running shoes in your Running Special Needs bag in case it is raining and the pair you started out with is soaked by mile 13.5...."
I had already thought about extra socks but did not think about the shoes....makes total sense.
Saturday, we swam in Mendota. The lake felt wonderful and the swim went well.
The only concerns I have for September are that the lake will be too warm to be wetsuit legal and, of course, the chaos of the start. Fortunately, I did that 1-mile open water swim (sans wet suit) and did just fine. I do like the wetsuit for the buoyancy, though and with a big event like Ironman, would like to know that if I get kicked in the head, I won't sink like a stone.
We ran pretty much the first loop of the marathon course on Sunday. The run is great. It winds mostly through the University of Wisconsin campus, which is beautiful. The route took us past my first ever apartment, by my dorm, then out to the Lakeshore path, back in near the Union, down and back State Street, then up Observatory hill and eventually winds back to the Capital.
My run went really well and I felt great. I ran part of the course with Amy S and then finished up with Nat, Rich and a guy who just did Kansas 70.3. I called him "Kansas".
So, so far, so good, right?
Well, notice that I've said nothing about the bike course..... until now.
I had read and heard a lot of things about the IM WI bike course -- and all the stories about the hills are true.
Hills, hills, hills and then more hills. Not Minnesota hills. Wisconsin "hey, a GLACIER carved through here centuries ago and created these hills" hills.
Let me say that again:
I had read some one's blog about the hills at Wisconsin and he wrote: "Learn to love your small chain ring. Buy it presents".
I, of course, pooh-poohed his advice after reading it. After all, I'm a big girl, I like to mash those gears.
Oh no. Not only was he right, he was dead-on right. I'm looking for presents for my small chain ring every day now.
So the good news : I got through the loop (only once and the course will have us do the loop twice). I stayed seated during all the climbs but one. I got to see what I'm up against.
The not-so-good news: I'm very, very worried about my ability to get through the bike course within the cut off limits.
I'm not the strongest biker in the pack -- this, despite the fact that I've been training since December. I am not the best rider up the hills and I get a bit frightened on the down hills, so I tend to brake a bit, reducing the down-hill advantages.
So, the bike ride sobered my IM WI dreams up a bit.
I'm worried that I haven't done enough training or the right training or the "something" training.
My coach says we still have time to get it together (meaning I'll be doing lots and lots and lots more biking on hilly courses).
I'm going back to ride the whole course one more time before taper time... which should help.
But that little seed of doubt and fear has been planted: what happens, if after all this training and all this preparation, I don't finish?
I'm trying hard not to let this seed germinate and grow.
I know that, about this time in a training cycle, we all tend to doubt our training, our bodies, our mental prep. So, these thoughts are probably "normal" and I'm right where I am supposed to be...
I'm just going to have to keep plugging along. I'll have to trust the training, my coach and the work.
Most of all, I'm going to just have to trust my self...