Monday, September 22, 2014

It's race week!

I can't believe it's finally here! Race week! This journey started on September 4, 2013. The day I registered with Meghan, after convincing myself I liked hilly bike courses and would take a gamble on a first year event.
My ironmani.
In looking at my daily mile stats from September to now, I've run, biked, and swam a ton! Even though my official training didn't start until May, the ironman was always in the back of my mind. I'm pretty impressed with these numbers, because getting in that much cycling and swimming for me is a big deal.
Swimming - 137 miles
Cycling - 2,786 miles
Running - 1,347 miles
And because I was feeling extra number geeky today, I counted up the hours I've spent specifically training for Ironman Chattanooga, starting in May (20 weeks, not counting this one). In total, I've trained 221 hours. This puts me at an average of 11 hours per week. Do I think I should have done more? Nope. I honestly feel as though I did the best I could with working full time, balancing a life, and getting in as much training as I could. I'm going into this race feeling as though I did the very best I could. I've learned a lot about myself and how I'd train differently in the future IF (notice that "if" is very large) I ever decided to go after another full ironman.
I'm really excited for this weekend and this is probably my last post until my race report. If you want to track me, I'm number 912. I cannot thank everyone enough for the support and cheers along the way. It's been a long training cycle and I'm thrilled to be able to toe the start line on Sunday. I'm so grateful for my health and that I get to do this sport. Race day is a victory lap.
I leave you all with this young man that I happened to catch on Good Morning America today as I sipped my coffee. I may call him to come to the race start to get us all going. I'm going to keep smiling!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ironman Chattanooga Goals

I know this race journey isn't complete unless I figure out some goals. I've been told countless times not to have a time goal for my first ironman and I think it's the right way to go for me. I do much better at first time distances if I have some general goals that aren't related to a clock. I do have an overall time goal but I'm not married to it and the ultimate goal is to finish. The goals below are very modest and I know some may think they are namby pamby but I don't want to finish and feel in any way shape or form that I didn't meet X, Y, or Z goals and detract from what a huge accomplishment finishing is.
Let's start with the swim.
I'm feeling good about the swim. I probably feel the most comfortable about the swim in relation to the run and the bike. I suppose it's because it's the first thing you do and you aren't tired or swimming nearly as long as you are running and biking. That being said, I am not out to "crush" anything and certainly anticipate being a middle packer during the 2.4 mile journey down the river.
Swim Goals: Remain calm and swim at a steady effort. No crazy kicking and breathing every stroke. I want to relax and set up my day right with the swim. Resist the urge to breaststroke as sighting (I do this far more than I should on long open water swims).
Onto the bike... 
The bike is making me the most nervous. I've never ridden the course due to time constraints and travel but I've heard it's similar to Augusta 70.3 in terms of hills. I know I can handle that (I did Augusta in 2012), but I'm nervous about riding 116 miles of that. And I'm nervous about 116 miles in general.
Bike Goals: Take it easy the first loop. I keep hearing how people may take the first loop too hard and then pay for it. Honestly, I don't see myself falling prey to that because I'm just not that fast and I'm not a hammer on the bike. Ever. That being said, I want to try to stay around 16 MPH, but if that doesn't happen NBD. I want to try to enjoy this ride as much as I can as I've heard it's a beautiful course and I'm going to try to stave off the "GET ME OFF THIS BIKE" thoughts as long as I possibly can. That right there is a tough goal for me. Heh.
The run is a big, fat question mark.
Run Goals: My biggest run goal is to only walk aid stations. I 100% know this is going to be very tough after riding forever but I'm going to keep this goal in my mind for as long as possible. That way if I have to walk I can try to keep it to a certain amount of time or I know I'll just start walking a lot. (I walked toward the end of the Jacksonville Marathon and I'm ok with it. Ish happens.) That being said, ain't no shame in walking or jogging really, really, really slow. Haha.
Overall Goals:
2. Enjoy the day. I'm not sure I'll ever do this again so I want to get the most out of my experience.
3. Smile. When I'm hurting, I will smile.
4. Positive self talk ALL DAMN DAY. (Just call me Stuart Smalley.)
Twelve days to go.....

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Plan

The countdown to Choo continues and I'm now 15 days away. I've decided to change clothes for each leg of the race because I can't quite find a tri kit that doesn't chafe and that I want to ride 116 miles on a bike in. And yes, as of right this very moment, the Ironman Chattanooga bike course is 116 miles. The Race Director made some changes that made the course safer, unfortunately, it also made the course longer. As we all know, I'm not in love with cycling so I'm being positive about this turn of events. I'm glad the course is safer and I'm getting more for my money. I'll be looking for the 144.6 mile magnets at the finish line.
I've been going over my race plan in my brain and here's what I've come up with so far. This is all subject to change of course and I'm open to suggestions or tips. I can't do much by way of training at this point so I'm just going to trust in what I have done so far. I feel as though a finish line is in the bag. I heart finish lines.
The Swim
As of right now, I'm not sure what's going to happen with the race being wetsuit legal. I know the wetsuit is fantastic for a fast swim but I don't really love wearing one. I'll be fine either way. Obviously if it is wetsuit legal, I'll wear it. I'd like to wear a regular suit underneath. Chattanooga is a rolling swim start so Meghan and I have decided to get to transition first thing and then immediately head to line up. I love that Meghan and I are both very in to punctuality and not being concerned with standing around. I'd rather stand around than feel panicked. I have "late anxiety" so this will help curb that and I can just focus on run of the mill race anxiety. Haha.
Change into sports bra, bike jersey of some sort, bike shorts. My Pearl Izumi shorts have served me well on my long rides and I like to think of them as my lucky bike shorts. They may be a tad thin at this point but I don't think they are at that X-Rated stage yet or I wouldn't wear them.
The Bike
I plan to bike stupid easy and spin up the hills. I'm going to use descents downhill as active recovery and try very hard not to lose my mind and go bombing down them. I love a downhill. I'll eat and drink and eat and drink and plan to stop at Special Needs. I'm carrying Herbalife Prolong and Gatorade and water. I drink a lot. Since I am wearing bike shorts I will probably stop to use the potty. As much as I want to pee on the bike, I just don't think that will be very comfortable in padded shorts. I will eat a combo of Gu brand gels, Bonk Breakers, and Margarita Clif shot bloks (they have extra sodium). This is what I trained with.
I'll keep on the same sports bra and change into running shorts. I'm wearing my Hoka's and hope that none of the volunteers have to touch them because they freaking reek. I've never had shoes smell this bad. What is up with that? They are currently filled with baking soda stuffed socks to try to help them be less toxic.
The Run
The run has been a question mark for me because as much as I want to run the whole thing, I know that's not going to happen. So, I'm going to run as much as I can and if I have to walk, I'll aim for walking aid stations and up big hills. I'll take what's on the course and carry Gu brand gels.
I'm getting more and more excited and genuinely feel ready to go. I had a great trainer workout last night and am pumped to finish up my last long-ish ride and run this weekend. I keep thinking about how awesome that finish line is going to be and I cannot wait to spend stupid amounts of money on finisher garb. I really appreciate you all going on this journey with me. The support and encouragement has been incredible. Thank you and have a great weekend!  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hay's in the barn.

We've hit the home stretch, only twenty days to go until Ironman Chattanooga. I was thinking about it this morning and I realized that while my official training didn't start until May, I actually began training in January. I've worked really hard on all three disciplines but I've focused a lot on the bike. I got to ride with a friend I haven't ridden with since last year and she commented on how much I've improved. That was a huge compliment. Thank you Susan! 
Here's a recap of my training.
The bike: I've done four pretty big rides, with some 60 and 80 mile rides sprinkled in. That's two centuries. One ride of 104 miles, and one ride of 90 miles. In addition to my four big rides, I've done many short bricks and weekday trainer sessions. I admit I've fallen off a bit on the weekday stuff here in the last couple of weeks. My long rides where I didn't draft were a little over 16 MPH average.
The run: I've completed two 20 mile runs and one 22 mile run. I've done three 18 milers and built up to those with some 15 and 16 mile runs. Plus, all of the shorter recovery, brick, and tempo runs during the week. Most of my long runs have been in the 10:00/mile range.
The swim: I'm not sure the 5K swim in January counts toward this training but it was a good gauge for me and helped me understand that I definitely needed to train more for the 2.4 mile swim than I previously thought. I've been really consistent with 3,000 yard swims and have added in several 3,500 yards and a 4,000 yards swim. I did a 2,200 yard straight swim in 38:41 which is about a 1:45/100.
I've learned a lot about myself during all of this training. I've learned what stresses me out and what works for me. I'm really happy that I have gotten this far and feel mostly prepared. I know race day will be whatever it will be and I'm feeling pretty calm. I'm more excited to race now that the "big" workouts are behind me. Nothing to it, but to do it.
How was your weekend? Congrats to all of you who raced this weekend. There were a ton of you! Shout outs to my True North, Katie, for kicking ass at the 70.3 World's, Erin for placing 4th in her division at IMWI, and training friends Chris and Heather for braving the hills of Muskoka 70.3!