Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Road to IMAZ.

It's 5 1/2 weeks till the big day. Ironman Arizona. I thought at this point I'd be writing about how I am sick of the training, it's been too long a season, etc. Turns out that it's quite the contrary. I'm actually enjoying this. The long training days, the long runs, rides and seeing myself improve. And as the days go by and it gets closer and closer I am more and more confident that I will in fact, finish this race.

A few weeks ago I did my first century ride. My longest ride prior to that was 77 miles. It was the North Shore Century ride so a sanctioned ride that got to ride with good friends Dan, Hailey, Jean and King. I'm not going to say it was easy, because at mile 80, all I wanted to do was get off the bike. My legs hurt and the boredom of being on a bike for 7 hours sets in about then. But it was the perfect fall day and I knew I was there for a purpose. Plus, these century rides have serious rest stops. Every 20-25 miles you get to stop get off your bike and eat. I ate hotdogs, and cookies, and PB&J sandwiches and chili..I think I actually gained weight on that ride. We finished at a grand total of 104 miles and I got off the bike and prepared for an hour run. The last thing I wanted to do at that point was run, but I bucked up and put on my running leg. Let me tell you that running after 100 miles on a bike is not easy. I started slow and got slower. It was pretty miserable. After an hour I got back to the car and wanted to cry thinking about another 21 miles. My legs were on fire. I headed home, took a bath, took some Advil and spent the next few days with some heavy legs wondering what I had gotten myself into.

The following weekend was century ride #2. Nothing like back to back century rides right? This one was the Apple Cider Century ride up in Three Oaks, MI. This time with my coach and training buddies Stacee, Heather and Beth. A much, much hillier ride and by mile 40 I wasn't that thrilled. 100 miles of rollers is not my idea of fun. But we kept on, enjoyed the plentiful rest stops, the great weather, the scenery and finished up at 103 miles. Like the previous week, I got off the bike and ran. This time, it was so much better. I ended up with about 7.5 miles, a decent average with the thoughts that I was going to be an Ironman keeping me going. And thinking that maybe all this training actually does something.

The workouts will continue, I've had some stellar long runs, some not so good ones, some good time on the bike and logging those miles in the pool. I've got a solid month before the taper starts and I'll keep up the mileage until then. I have to mention that my flexible work schedule is key at this point. To be able to do my long rides and runs, during the week and still have my weekends is the perfect scenario. I am so thankful that Scheck and Siress has been so supportive.

This weekend is both the KONA Ironman and the Chicago marathon so race fever is in the air and it's getting me pumped. I can't wait to cheer on my friend Susan Katz while she races on Kona on Sat. And then on Sunday I get to cheer on Brian (yes, Brian is running a whole marathon!) and many other people as they work their way through Chicago to that finish line. I am incredibly proud of Brian, his first marathon. It's gonna be a good day.

In 5 weeks it'll be my turn. I. Can't. Wait. For the continued training, for the challenge, and for that elated feeling when, after 140.6 miles,  I'll get to that finish line and hear that famous line, 'Melissa Stockwell, you are an Ironman.'

That's what keeps me going. I can do this.