It was this race 1 year ago that I told myself that “If I train hard enough that I can win 1st place in Clydesdale.” You can read about it here. It was at that race that my sister asked if you could do portions of the race and if you could can she do the swim? My friend Jojo promptly said yes and she would do the run. That means that I would do the bike. Going into this race I will admit that it felt a bit strange not being the one doing the swimming for a relay since that’s what I usually do. However this race wasn’t about me, it was about my kid sister who set out to achieve a goal and something that I could be a part of her doing. Through my weight loss and race last year it sparked her interest in possibly doing something she might enjoy.
Jill was unsure of the distance and I told her we would do the intermediate distance which meant she had to swim 1500M in the San Diego Bay. She was a water polo player and swimmer in high school as well. Like her brother though she was a sprinter, so the longer constant swimming can be a bit taxing finding the right cruise control. In the end though she finished in 53 minutes and she was proud of herself and proud of the accomplishment. She was all smiles through the whole thing even at the end. I’m proud of her. My bike on the other hand I was very happy with. I hammered out a 1:00:52 22 mile bike ride. It was great to be out there testing out the new aero helmet and cheering on my friends while out there passing them. Not in disrespect but in a positive way saying you can do this, you’re almost there. Thanks to the ambulance that caused me to totally go over the 1 hr mark as well. Jojo finished off the run strong. No podium finish but we were all smiles. My buddy Josh finally got out there and did his first ever triathlon as well. Josh did the TriRock as part of my relay back in 2012 and did the bike portion. It was great to see him out there doing the whole thing.
The best part though was cheering on my friends from the Tri Club and Team Challenge. I honestly had more fun out there cheering for everyone then racing. It was a good reminder to me that triathlon isn’t about winning. It’s about the experience, it’s about watching people achieve something that they didn’t think they could do.
Time is flying by and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my doubts that I am ready for this. The days are slowing ticking away and my mantra lately has been “This Ironman isn’t going to train for itself buddy.” I’m biking longer than I ever have before and enjoying it. This past Saturday while I was out on a 4.5 hour bike ride it was around mile 70 where I thought to myself that man 20 miles seemed so long back when I signed up for IMAZ. Now 20 miles just seems like a warm up. Now with me really having the confidence in not blowing up on the bike I can start getting in more running as well which I’ve totally been slacking on.
I really need to break this mental barrier of running is punishment again. Today after a 75 minute spin class I went out on a 2.5 mile run and had the best times in a long time and surprisingly in the heat and humidity I felt great (Yeah I just said that). I opened up my stride a bit more but watched my cadence go from 79/80 to 76/78 but my HR instead of riding that 147 BPM line dropped to 138/140 BPM. I was lower in my Z2 and my avg times per mile dropped from a 10:30 min/mile to a 9:31 min/mile. Now I did have to walk once to stretch the hip flexor a bit but then chugged along. It kind of has me wondering now if trying to get the shorter steps and higher cadence was back firing for me since I have longer legs. I’ll monitor some of the longer runs to see what’s going on with that.
On another note yes I signed up for IM Canada as well. WTF was I think is the first thing that comes to mind but I must be honest. The course looks absolutely awesome and I’ve heard excellent peer reviews of it. So why not? This is in July so it works perfectly for my St. George 70.3 in the beginning of May. At first I didn’t think I’d like some of the longer IM training but it’s kind of growing on me in a sadistic way.
Maybe it’s been 2 weeks of hills, I’m not really sure at this point as everything is running together. There have been both physical and mental hills that have brought me up and down, but it’s all part of becoming an Ironman right? You learn to juggle the demands of your work, social, and training lifestyles as volume pick up and move you to what you once thought those limits are. Slowly as you approach them you start to feel that you get that anxious feeling in your gut and you press on. You slowly move past your previous limits and the confidence builds as you start to explorer the space you didn’t know existed.
So last Saturday I swim buddied at the San Diego Triathlon Classic. I was supposed to race in this race but after careful thought with my Ironman training it just wasn’t a good fit. Especially since I had a 105 mile ride from Solana Beach up Mt. Palomar the following day. So putting the pride aside I went and rode with this great girl who is also training for IMAZ at a slow pace for a few hours (probably not the brightest thing cause of the 105 mile ride the next day). Either way we had fun and it was great time…… I guess you might call it an Irondate! Then later that night I got my run in… again this was not a good idea. The upside was I ate a TON of carbs!
My athlete Rhonda who just did her first ever triathlon back in May finally reached the podium Saturday as well. She took 3rd in the Athena division which she earned. The Tri Classic was her A race and she even surprised herself. You can follow her journey on her Facebook page “Living Instead of Existing”. She didn’t know it at the time but I decided to stay and watch her finish and cheer her on going across that finish line. I’m proud of her her finding this new found love of not just triathlon but being competitive. As I’ve been a mentor for her the goal for this season was for her to just have fun and enjoy the sport, clearly it is. Next season will be pushing a bit more (like I haven’t done enough of that) for some possible podium spots in the Athena Masters and also increasing 1 or 2 races to Olympic distances in her preparation for a 70.3 early 2016 with possible IMAZ 2016.
So now to Sunday’s fun…it really wasn’t much fun. It sucked and it sucked a lot. Started at 6Am 1 whole hour early and I knew there would be hills and a damn mountain so I used my road bike (I think I should have kept to my tri bike). My road bike is an aluminum frame which I refer to as a tank. I’ve had that thing for almost 5 years and never once had to change a tire or tube. I put thousands of miles on it and it truly is a tank. I knew I was going to be slow and I knew it was going to be a 9+ hour ride. Yes you see that big mountain in the middle of the elevation chart that was a 7-8% grade for 11+ miles? I had to ride up it and the gearing on my road bike in it’s easiest gear was a lovely 4 MPH avg going up it. I’m not going to lie I wanted to quit going up and just go downhill. My brain was telling me to quit and just turn around but my legs just kept peddling up even as I saw friends of mine going down. I stopped and let my HR go back down since the sun was beating down on me and climbing up hill keeps me in my Z4 and Z5 for long periods of time. On these stops I made the mistake of looking at my map on my phone and talk about the longest mile.. I thought to myself man I’m going 4 MPH this is going to take me 15 damn minutes to get to the top this is just dumb and why did I do this. It was about this time that my legs wouldn’t let me turn around that I finally caught up to my buddy Marcus and I thought to myself that if he can do this than so can I. Finally made it to the top with him and another guy named Steve. We caught the girls just before they went down it was a fun quick reunion (I hated all of them at this point because they beat me and weigh half of what I do.) It was at this time where mother nature decided to shower on us.. A LOT! Yeah that wall of rain was what I went through on the way down. My friend Carrie happened to snap this picture as she was going up and I was going down. At the end of the day we all got across the finish line we got our medals we endured mother nature’s 100+ heat and flash flooding. Congratulations to everyone we made it out alive and our legs truly do hate us now.
I heard someone say that after 6 hours of straight exercising something happens to you. They are right and it’s different for everyone and for me it was interesting that it was my legs that kept me going forward and not quitting when everything that I read and listed to told me it would be my body that was telling me to quick and it would be my mind telling me to stop. I felt that urge to want to keep going, that confidence that you can do this. You can finish it. People still call me crazy and say that this is not normal behavior. I would have said the same thing 3 years ago as well. But for me this is becoming the new normal and I like it. One of the best choices I made in my life was losing weight and getting outside of my comfort zone of inside the bar.
I decided against a race report for the AFC Half Marathon. I hated the race and won’t ever do it again. Since I don’t have any nice things to say about it, I’m not going to write negatively about it either. With that said I’ve had one hell of a long training weekend. As the mileage starts ramping up for IMAZ I’m finding more and more things that I’m able to accomplish. It’s not easy and sometimes it’s painful but as they all say… it will be worth it.
This past Saturday was a planned 107 Mile ride from Mission Bay up to San Clemente but due to a late start and some breaks we turned around at the far end of Camp Pendleton which made it an 84 mile round trip bike ride with 2 friends of mine. It was the first time we’ve all been able to ride together. It’s always nice to train with friends even when you’re racing alone on the bike. I only had 1 flat which was good cause any more than that and I’d be SOL. We hit Torrey Pines around mile 71 which really helped suck the life out of me for the rest of the ride. You really do start finding what you’re made out of while you’re out there on the road. Then had a nice 1:30 hour run that Sunday. Legs were tired and didn’t want to do anything.
This last Saturday I went on a 90 mile ride with plenty of hills from the start. We left early to beat the head but I have to say when the sun is out full force it sucks. It’s good training though and I’m getting used to realizing that I’ll sweat over a gallon of water and probably an entire salt container from a fast food place. Nutrition and hydration will be my make it or break it part of IMAZ. Had a 2 hour run planned for Sunday as well which went over well. I’ll most likely be running a 10:30 pace for IMAZ which I can live with.
Monday (Labor Day) was supposed to be a rest day but I did the 85th Annual Oceanside Pier Swim. Just a 1 mile out and back around Oceanside Pier. We recently had a hurricane sweep through to the south of CA which brought plenty of surf and we got a nice taste of it during the swim. It’s always a challenge to swim in the open water but with 3-6 foot waves crashing on the way out and swell picking you up and dropping you only makes for more fun. I finished in under 26 minutes which got me a 3rd place overall in the wetsuit division.