I almost forgot what it is like to train for an Ironman. Even though I spend my days writing Ironman workouts, fueling plans and preaching about salt and calories and recovery…you *almost* forget what the day to day grind is like until you are put back into it.
I don’t race the Ironman all that often because I know the commitment it takes to do well there. And, unless I am mentally, physically, professionally & personally ready to commit to that race, there is no point for me to do “just do an Ironman.”
The last time I raced Kona was 2006. I chose not to race Hawaii since 2006 because, at the time the twins were 4 and I just did not want to spend my days on my bike. AND, to be honest with you, I did not love Kona. It was hot. So, I put it to bed…..and decided I would come back to it when I was ready.
Between 2006 and 2011 I did not race an Ironman. Then, I finally got the bug to do an Ironman I felt like I could race a little better à IM Arizona. We spend a lot of time in Tucson and I thought this would be a great and obvious choice for me. AND I wanted to race an Ironman….AND, for the most part, I did race Arizona…but I had a niggling Achilles for the ENTIRE training block and it limited my running. I ended up PRing there (not hard after only doing Kona a couple of times) and meeting my goal of going 10:30. But, I was so disheartened with all the work that came with that Achilles niggle that year that I did NOT take the Kona slot at Arizona. I did not want to go through what I just went through. I vowed I would get back to 100% and go back when I was ready!
Fast forward to 2013, I am heading to Kona and today on my long bike ride, I fell back in love with the thought of racing Hawaii. I have been feeling AMAZING. So amazing that I started to get worried – during IM training you get so used to feeling so tired that when you feel so good, you think, “Really?”
We are 2 months out from Kona and the time has flown by! I went to Tucson for a week and that jump started my Ironman training. It was HOT and humid (monsoon season) in Tucson and that helped me sweat a bit and ride Lemmon day after day. We are having such a COLD and wet summer here, that everything is “easy” here now.
I decided to go back to Kona for one main reason: The Island has always gotten the better of me when I have raced there. But, I am a smarter & more experienced athlete now and know how to race in Kona now. And, when I review my “career goals” for Triathlon, accomplishing X in Kona is at the top. I have accomplished my OLY and Half IM goals in my career. However, I still have some unfinished business in Kona. So, that is why I decided to go back this season.
I am reminded mile after mile on my bike that this is a VERY lonely process. Kristin White, the athlete who q-fied at Eagleman with me in my AG sent me a FB message yesterday asking how my training is going. We both agreed that it is LONELY!!
I don’t mind the quiet miles for the most part – but you do forget how quiet the country roads are day after day. AND the pool…..I wish my Masters team practiced in the summer. I miss them!
The other thing I forgot about was my APPETITE! I really did forget how hungry I was during IM training. I cannot eat enough. AND, in order to recover and repeat this cycle daily, I am eating a ton. I am eating almost anything I want and listen to my body – the other day I was craving Salami & cheese. So, I ate it. I am eating Pizza all the time….ice cream….had ribs and pasta last night for dinner with a salad. I honestly think this is the way to train & recover from all this training. The IM is so cumulatively exhausting that between my fueling AND sleep, I can repeat, repeat, repeat.
I am chomping at the bit now that we are 8 weeks out. I feel like I have a lot more work to do and hoping that the weather turns HOT soon? I am racing a ½ Ironman next weekend – and am hoping it is 100F, jungle humid and not wetsuit legal. I am excited to race. That is one thing I do not love about Ironman training….I really miss all the short course racing frequency!
And, in exciting news, my sister, MOM and Aunt are coming out to Kona for some R&R and to watch me race! I am so excited! They have never seen me race an Ironman OR 1/2 IM ever. My mom worries about the whole thing (she has NO IDEA).
I am a little sad I am not racing USAT Nationals this coming weekend – but you know, I always say, “don’t get greedy…” So, keeping my priorities in line and focusing on long course this summer. BUT good luck to all my friends & athletes racing in Milwaukee, the weather is going to be AMAZING!