Friday, October 29, 2010

The calm before the storm

Port Macquarie half Ironman! Here I come! Come what may!

So today was like any other day, accept no training. So I have energy to burn. I feel fit and strong. I have packed my kit and it sits now by the door waiting to be transferred to the car first thing in the morning. My weapon (bike) sits in its stand. Odd looking as I have removed the front wheel for transporting. It looks like it is on its knees. Praying to Mecca perhaps lol.

No prayers though. Not for me. Just work to be done. My head is calm. Nervous? mmmmm not really. As I sit here reflecting on my feelings I think about the past 6 months and how I have faired. I have ticked the majority of my program boxes. This instills some confidence or at the very least a realisation that there was not much more that I could do in preparation for the event so not worried. What will be' will be.

I am happy with how I have been swimming. My stroke has improved. A lot more 'long boat' than 'short boat' action happening. If I don't improve on my time it is still ok as I will finish less fatigued due to improved form. The bike? again, I have done the work. I have been doing regular 90km rides so I know I can do the distance. Oh but the run......... I have had the ITB injury, I have not done hardly any running, the longest run I have done is 50 minutes. I am not sure if I am going to hurt myself again. Not sure if I can do the distance...... obviously here is the glitch. Oh oh, can the Sammi run? Stay tuned teamsters. This could end in tears. lol. Seriously though, if I have to walk the whole damn way, I will.

The only other area of immense concern for me is my weight! I have only myself to blame. I put on my race kit and felt like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. This is within my ability to control and I have not done it. For every kilo I carry on the run, the more energy I use, the more speed I sacrifice, the more poundage I put on my joints. This team; is where I have failed in my prep. The run was due to injury that may have been avoidable if the weight was gone. I'm talking 5-6 kilos here. Not massive, not enough to lose the loose skin that embarrasses me as I run. The weight will be my major focus after this race. I can not do an Ironman at this weight!

There are 5 of us doing the whole race. and there are two teams of 3. So 11 people in all plus friends. By mest mate and chief "Sammi Catcher" will be at the end waiting for me. It is an awesome feeling seeing her standing there at the finish line. Her arms open wide spurring me on to finish. It is going to be a wonderful weekend. I'll get back to you shortly and tell you how it plays out team. Til then train safe x x

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Feeling a bit lonely

Weird! I am standing in the pool. Lane 1. Coach is standing at the head of the lane calling the sets. In the lane with me are about 8 other swimmers. Same in lane 2 and 3. Lane 1 is for slow, lane 2 faster etc. Of the 20+ people about 10 of us are headed to Port Mac for the half Ironman this weekend. My fellow swimmers range in age, size, ability and gender.

The uni pool where I swim 28.5degrees - girl heat!

I get the sets done, I'm last to touch the wall every time. I get a double thumbs up from coach. Two of the girls in my lane are excellent runners. I'm not exagerating here. 1 girl is a 'preferred runner' that means she gets an individual invitation to attend the Boston and New York Marathons. Wow! They are both 20 years younger than me. Hard to relate to them. What the hell am I doing here? I am crying on the inside. I'm thankful for the goggles.

They are all joking and laughing and I feel distant. Nobody realises that I am off to Port too. I wonder if they don't think I am capable?  I'm headed to the showers and feel the energy draining from my body. Stifling sobs I quickly change and head for the sanctuary of my car. I burst into tears. It hurts and it burns and I want a cuddle and I want someone to take the pain away. I make excuses for the tears....I pushed too hard, its just dinner time and I am hungry. Driving home in the dark, way past dinner time, and other 'normal' people are home after a long days work and hanging out with loved ones, my mind wonders.....

Nobody else my age is doing this that I know. I have friends who run on the weekends and they swim occasionaly. And they go for a group ride out in the country on the weekends. They are all at home with their families having dinner right now. Noone has decided, like me, to do Ironman and take this weekend thing we do sometimes, to a full committment lifestyle experience. Am I stupid? Am I delusional? I am lonely? I am alone!

I do have mates who I ride with. Young guys, older guys, husband, girlfriend. I have mates I run with on the weekends, husband during the week. I have these swimmers standing beside me about to enter the same race as me. I have my coach and my physio who support and advise me. They are all in my corner encouraging me. But I stand alone. Do I need a best friend sweating alongside me 24/7? No. 

Maybe the real thing is that I wonder if I am stupid for thinking I can do this. What if I finish last? Of the 1500 competitors at the Half this weekend. 19 are women in my age group. There are only 18 other women out there like me. Some weekend warrior who got a stupid crazy idea that they could do this just like me. I guess it is self doubt. My inner voice is quiet, you know that voice, the one that usually tells you that your brave, strong and believes in you. She is silent. I seriously could crawl into bed and not do this. Geez I need to crawl under Gazza's arm and disappear in his strong reassuring embrace.

The funny thing is, although the little voice is as quiet as a child's whisper right now, she is relentless in my ear. She never stops believing.

She is my hero. "And though she be but little, she is fierce!" That's Shakespeare team.

Monday, October 25, 2010

6 More Sleeps........

Well, it is Monday morning and my week has already begun. Normally a hard session in the home gym, but today I opted for a Yoga class. Using the P90X set in the DVD my mate and I stretched and chatted about the week ahead.

The plan is in, my Coach sends me my program on Sunday nights and from there I plan my week. This week is taper week. Because it is 6 more sleeps until my race. Race? Yep it's a Half Ironman Triathlon. This will be the 2nd last "Half" to be held by that name in Australia. No biggy really. The same races will be here next year, re-badged to come in line with the rest of the world and call them 70.3. I like that better. I hate saying I am doing a Half Ironman. It detracts from the event in some way. Devalues it, like saying, oh you are only doing half.... Well I don't know about anyone else, but a Half Ironman or 70.3 aint some day walk in the park. It is hard work.

So my race is in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia. Just check out this spot. It is a beautiful place in the world.
See the boats on the left. That is where I will swim, along with 1499 other triathletes. And I will ride and run across the little bridge several times. Am I ready? Well, I hope so. My swim I have been happy with. Last Half I did the swim in 43 minutes. Not great but it was fresh water and really hot murky water too. The ride I did in 3.50 hours. Not great, but this was my first ever half and boy was it hot. Over 30 degrees easily. This time I have been working with my coach and I hope to have a better time. And my run last time was 2.31. The run this time may not be much better as I have had I.T.B problems and it is only just getting better so I don't want to re-injure myself so I am erring on the side of caution there and will walk home if I have to rather than aggravate anything. My eye is on the prize. I am going for the full Ironman and this is merely a step. It is not an end.
So committing my (wish list) times here for the record.
  • Swim 38minutes
  • Bike 3hrs 15 minutes
  • Run 2hrs 30minutes (due to injury) would have preferred 2.10.
  • Total time in the office 6.23
  • Last year (different course too though) 7.04
  • Wish list time - 6.00
Why 6hrs. Because a "friend" of mine did the same race in 2008 and dropped a challenge that she did the race in 6.02. I wish this could be mine. It would so shut her up once and for all. I don't usually get involved with competing with others, usually I compete with only 1 person (ME!) but she has been provoking me for a long time. But I have to remember this race is not about the win, it is the journey.