Thursday, May 31, 2012

Big Training Days

This past weekend, I had a couple of big days. On Saturday, I ran the Blackfoot baby ultra, a 25K trail race in a nature reserve just outside of the city. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the scenery out there is beautiful. For me, a trail run/race was a totally new thing and it is, indeed, very different from a road race. It was pretty much up and down - the whole race is almost entirely hills! But, I actually felt really good, took it at a steady pace and made it to the finish in 3:28. I had no idea what to expect for time but I kind of thought it would be nice to do it in under 3:30 (a goal that was chosen quite arbitrarily). I finished 75/86 so pretty much a usual kind of standing for me. I'll never be fast but I can get it done and I hope this bodes well for Ironman. Most people at the race agreed that running a hilly 25K on trails is about the same as 30K on the road so this race counted as my longest long run in my training for Ironman.

The next day, I did a six hour bike ride. A friend came with me for half of it and it was very nice to have her company. It was such a windy day, which affected our enthusiasm somewhat, but we both know that rides like that just build strength and character.

This week has been good, training wise. I've had some good runs, one good, long swim so far, and, last night, I went to the hill climbing workout held by my triathlon club. It was so fun and such a nice evening and it was great to see my people. This weekend I will do my longest bike ride - 7 hours. I'll start with the club group ride and do what I can with them before they go back and have coffee while I keep going for another 4 or 5 hours!

Amazingly, I am now doing my longest workouts and looking at the taper coming up in my schedule. I can't believe that June 2012 is upon us and my race is just over 3 weeks away. I still have doubts about it. I still wonder if I can put this all together. But, I am feeling better about it. I feel good and I'm doing what my schedule asks me to do so I will be as prepared as I can be come race day. Then I will just put my head down and do it. It's getting to be time to just do it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cycling Heaven

This weekend was a long weekend and I went on a cycling trip with 14 other members of my triathlon club. We went to Drumheller, in southern Alberta, where the terrain is unique and amazing and the sun was shining. We rode about 100 kilometres per day for three days. Each day, the ride gave us something different. The first day, there was a lot of long, smooth, fast highway, a couple of epic climbs, and a ferry ride. Day two brought about 50 km of some serious roller coaster riding, followed by another 50 km of nice fast straightaways home. At the end of that ride, there was a big screaming downhill. I had been leapfrogging with another guy in the last few kilometres and we raced each other down the hill and into town. On day 3, we rode an almost flat route along the river. Ten of us got into a pace line, tucked up close together, taking turns leading. We had perfect rhythm, perfect communication, a perfect pace and it was truly, truly beautiful. We rode like that for 70 km.

My body did its thing this weekend. I felt strong and good. I wasn't too tired and I wasn't stiff or sore at all. It made me marvel at how our bodies can do these amazing things that we ask of them.

I was there with a great group of positive, enthusiastic people and it was such a wonderful time. I was the one who planned the trip and it made me very happy that it went so well and that everyone enjoyed it so much. It was hard to come home and leave the magic behind.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Something Happy to Report

Yesterday evening, I went to the hill climbing workout with my club. I seriously, seriously did not want to go. My feelings of demoralization were epic and the last thing I wanted to face was sucking at hill climbing in front of my group. But, I am happy to report that the evening turned out very well. There were 11 of us there and it was a nice, happy group of people. We climbed 6 different hills for a total of 14 climbs. As we rode from hill to hill, we chatted and laughed. Nobody was riding like an insane maniac with something to prove on the way to the next hill. Sometimes, when we were climbing, I was the last one up but just by a couple of bike lengths and sometimes I wasn't last. My legs felt strong and I really enjoyed myself. It was a lovely evening. I was wearing a nice new outfit. My bike was a pleasure to ride. It restored my spirit a little bit.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One of These Things

I am in a seriously bad space this week and don't quite know how to get over it.

Saturday was so awful that it has sent me right to the brink. Being behind the pack in that group ride was very hard on me. It's not like I just discovered that I'm slow. I pretty much knew that. What's getting to me is that I don't feel like I have what it takes when I look at other people. As they used to say on Sesame Street, "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong."

There is no triathlete slower than me. I am not being self-effacing. This is the truth. Other people say they are slow but they are not. I am slow. This limits my participation and enjoyment. It humiliates me. It defines me.

I am not gung-ho to get out there and kill myself all the time. I do my workouts, I do them well and I do them faithfully but I don't have some kind of death-defying "bring it on" kind of craziness about me like some people do. I am afraid of new situations and am easily intimidated.

I am terrified of the race I have signed up for, while others are doing several Ironman races this year.

I know that it isn't good to compare oneself to others. But, seriously, at what point should I wake up and smell the coffee?