Sunday marked the “two weeks to go” spot on the journey to Ironman Coeur d’Alene.
The taper has begun (hallelujah!) and the nerves are beginning to set in. The constant back and forth of my mind plays out in a “heck yes, I'm ready!/oh-my-gawd-did-I-do-enough?!” narrative.
On Sunday, as a final (mini) dress rehearsal for IM CdA I raced the Olympic distance event at the Victoria 70.3 at Elk Lake. My plan was never to go out and crush it, it was simply to give the body a nice strong training day, mix it up in the swim with a hundred or so of my neoprene clad friends, and have fun. Kick off the taper on a high note and what not.
Overall, I'd say the race was so-so. I did some things right, I had some struggles, I put in a solid effort and (spoiler alert) happily ended the race on a high note.
Standing on the beach as we waited to start, I remember saying something to Shane along the lines of “I'm not sure my competitive spirit is here today” to which he reminded me, that's okay – this isn't the big one. This isn't what all the training has been for.
We gave each other a kiss and he headed off to his wave start.
As I waited for my turn, I decided that I was going to begin the swim out wide and would make my way closer to the buoy line as the masses began to spread out, as I didn't feel like getting right into the wrestling match that the swim can be. I wasn't nervous about getting kicked and clawed and what not, I just didn't feel like being touched.
Of course, this is all good in theory, and of course, I still got grabbed and bumped and poked and swam over, but it eventually thinned out and I found some open water. Unfortunately, my plan of easing on over to the buoy line didn't really happen, and for some reason, I found myself a good 25-50m outside of the course through the whole thing.
I felt relaxed, and like I was swimming at a decent effort. Not too hard, not too easy. The chop on the lake was a bit annoying, but nothing that I couldn't handle. I swam right to shore, popped out of the lake and headed toward transition.
[In that moment, I wasn't upset with my swim, it was only after the fact when I looked at my swim time that I was a bit disappointed with how slow it was. Funny how that happens, isn't it?]
My T1 could have been more efficient, but it wasn't too terrible. It was actually kind of funny... At open water swim practice we've been working on getting our helmets on as we get our legs out of our wetsuits, but on this day, I couldn't put it all together. I found myself with my helmet on and nicely secured, but my wetsuit still very much on my legs. Once I finally freed myself from the neoprene, I unracked my bike and headed out.
I had a pretty good mount and with that was on my way. 45km of a moderately hilly, somewhat windy bike course awaited!
I found my legs fairly quickly and got into a decent rhythm. Up some hills, down some hills, I reminded myself to spin steady and strong and to just stay within myself. For the first 25-30km everything felt great. I was moving well and wasn't being passed left, right and center like had happened at Shawnigan (heck, I may have even passed a few people!).
I leaped frogged back and forth with another woman – me passing her as we climbed the hills (I was feeling really strong on all the climbs, which was a great confidence boost for CdA) and her flying by me on the descents. All was good.
|Early on. Still smiling.|
Also, yes, this is 'borrowed' from FinisherPix.
Until it wasn't.
Somewhere in that 25-30km leg my hips decided they hated me. Both sides. Cramping. Spasming. Every time I tried to go into aero or into my drops I felt like I was being stabbed right in my hip crease (or course, this was oh-so-perfectly timed as the headwind really picked up – oh joy). The most comfortable thing I found was standing up on my pedals and riding like that, but of course, that was hardly efficient. So, I compromised and rode on the hoods and forced myself into aero here and there.
I definitely lost some time in those last 15km or so and started to get passed a little bit more than I would have liked, but what can you do. I tried to remind myself that this was just a trial run and that all of my long bike rides in training have been much more comfortable.
Rolling into T2 I dismounted rather slowly and jogged my way into transition. I wasn't sure how my hips were going to react to running, but I was going to find out. Again, my transition was a bit slow, as I decided to put on socks for the run. Normally in sprints and Olympics I don’t bother, but with only 2 weeks until the big show, I didn't want to risk blisters.
Thankfully, as I started running my hips started loosening and I found myself rolling along at a comfortable but decent pace. I’m going to sound like a broken record between this and my Shawnigan race report, but man, the run was easily my best leg of the day and I was incredibly happy with it!
|Yep, you got it ~ FinisherPix|
I did not get passed by a single person (other than some elites from the 70.3) and actually did a bit of passing myself. My confidence levels on the run right now are sky-high and I must say, I am really enjoying it. There really isn't much else to say about the run, other than it was awesome and super and fun.
Once again, it was great to end the race on a high note, feeling strong.
|"Charging" down the finisher chute.|
I crossed the finish line and looked around for Shane. He came sauntering over a minute or two later, surprised to see me so soon after him. We got some food and drink, changed into dry, warm clothes and spent the next couple hours cheering in runners.
Hard to believe, this time next week we’ll be in Coeur d’Alene. Wowza.
Is it time for more #100happydays? Yes, yes it is.
|Twas a beautiful night for a run commute!|
|This view = much better than bumper to bumper traffic.|
|Pit stop on our last long ride of IM training!|
|The birthday/cancer-free card I made for the Amazing Audrey-Lou!|
|If you live in Vic, no explanation necessary.|
If you don't live in Vic, you should be very jealous that we have Jam and you don't.
|My trusty Nalgene always makes me happy ~ and hydrated!|
|As seen on Facebook.|
|This made me laugh so hard.|
|Packed and ready for race morning.|
|Race swag in the form of a fresh new bunny hug (aka. a new hoody).|
|Treats in the form of black licorice. Yum.|
|Wildlife on my lunch time wander.|