After finising the stick and one loop on Saturday, I felt pretty good. I also thought I had an "easy" workout for Sunday: a simple six mile run along parts of the marathon course that is generally pretty quiet and where, in the past, little nagging demon voices have chattered in my ear about how nice it would be to just stop and have Starbucks. (Which, unfortunately, I did do in 2011, right after passing mile 14.....iditot me.)
But no. By the time I got back to my hotel from Monona Terrace, my Coach had sent me a text with a revised training plan. Sunday now called for a two loop bike ride and a 40 minute run.
"Two loops and a 40-minute run".
Strangely, those little demons found me at the Residence Inn! "Hmmmmm. But I have to check out of the hotel! I have to drive all the way back to Minneapolis! I only HAD a one hour long thing and now I have a several (much harder) hour long thing!"
Enter stage left: The good demons: "Time to nut up", they said.
So I went to the Front Desk of the hotel and extended my stay for one more night. (I had no intention of staying on Sunday night, but knew that I would not be back to the hotel to shower and change before check-out time (even late check-out time). A nice feature of staying at the hotels out in Middleton is that, when you check in for Ironman, you get a coupon that is good for 11-months after Ironman. If you go back to Madsion during that time and stay at one of the participating hotels, you get a room for 50% to 65% off. It was worth it to me to spend very little money to extend my stay past check out time so I could get in my ride and run, have a nice shower, a little nap and then head back to Minneapolis).
I started my ride from Verona on Sunday. The first loop was pretty uneventful, which is always good. As I was headed toward Midtown Road (that last yucky hill), SOMEONE (either me or my demons) was yacking at me about how nice it would be to just do one loop. "Why did I have to do two? I knew the course... I had a successful day yesterday and the loop this morning was fine. Why not just call it a day?"
The good demons responded: "HEY! is the bike course just one little loop? NO. Think of how great it will be to complete 150 miles of biking over the weekend. Think of how strong you'll feel! How confident! Nut up!"
This little tete-a-tete went on until I got back to Verona. I got off the bike, listened to the arguments for a few more minutes while I refueled and refilled water bottles. Then I got back on the bike and started loop two.
HURRAH for good demons!
The second loop had a different set of challenges:
1) I got stung by a bee. It flew under my helmet. At first I didn't realize it was a bee. I thought I got clunked on the head by an acorn. I kept peddaling and the bee kept releasing venom into my head. I finally stopped and pulled my helmet off. There the little bugger was...dead as a doornail. Fortunately, I am not that allergic so nothing horrible happened that day. (The next following days, however, my forehead swelled, then the swelling sunk in to my eyes and nose. I eventually had to see the doctor who perscribed an antibiotic and Claritn....).
2) My pace slowed down quite a bit. DRAT. I am blaming some of this on heavy training on both Friday and Saturday. But I also know that this will happen on race day. I am just not hoping for a big drop in pace.
3) My tush got plenty sore (again, nothing new).
4) I did not want to run after the ride. Uh oh.
I got back to Verona, got off the bike and my legs were not happy about having to run. Very not happy.
Then it hit me. I've been here before. I remember what this is like. This will be a challenge.
Trust me. I've done plenty of bricks. I've done plenty of training races. My legs start turning over just fine (eventually).
This was different and yet strangely familiar. This is my Ironman challenge. Getting to move on the marathon course.
I got my shoes on and started my trot. Got about 100 yards and walked. Uh oh.
Walked for a bit and then tried to run some more. Nope. Walked.
I finally did my body check-in. Were my legs really tired? (No.....no, not really). Was I really tired? (A little but not really). Then what was it?
Oh....... my brain. My silly brain was telling me that it was time to quit.
"Nut up, brain."
I just clunked along for the 40-mintues. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't fast, but -- finally -- it was done.
I loaded up the car, got back to the hotel; showered, ate, napped and got on the road about 7:00 pm.
Over the weekend, I completed 2.4 miles of swimming; 150 miles of biking and 2 hours 10 mintues of running. Go me.
This was probably the best dress rehearsal I've had for race day. I'm glad that I went back to that old, familiar "give up" place and didn't. I now remember what I'll be up against on race day, and I've been working on mental strategies to get past it.
Physically I'm ready. Those nagging demons don't know what they are up against this year.