Ironman Florida: The Final Chapter

3

It’s hard to believe its been well over a year ago since we all stood in front of this truck, after a day of volunteering, ready and excited for the challenges lie ahead.

r600x600A year later and an easy hundred years wiser, we all gathered again to celebrate the accomplishment…..and to to pay a bit of gratitude to those who were kind enough to TOLERATE us while preparing to go the distance.

993753_10201851087832553_184516242_n

got cake?

Folks, it is not easy being the one that has to listen to this garbage day in and day out so it’s always nice to say a little thank you. Especially if you have ANY intentions of doing this crap again! 😉 But before we celebrated all that was right in the world, I had to attend to 1 looming issue….

a meesly 5k.

Once again, Mother Nature did not fail. A cold front blew in around 2am so the temperatures dropped and the wind howled. No it was not sub-zero and snowing, but just like you northerners have issues racing down here in the deep south come April/May (which really, it is NOT hot), we have issues acclimatizing to 35-40 F in November/December. But at least the rain had stopped!

There wasn’t a lot to this race because I’d had no Zone 4 work in a year. The only Zone 3 I had under me was when I would skate the upper end of Zone 2 during a half-ironman or when I was on the brink of heat exhaustion during summer training. So I really had no idea what to expect other than to not enjoy it one single bit. I find it’s better to just be brutally honest with oneself!

Heading out, I had NO idea what my best stand alone 5k time actually was and I didn’t want to know….I didn’t want it in my head. It wasn’t going to change anything for the better and MIGHT do so for the worse.

As everyone lined up, I picked out a few  people to “follow”, one of those being my husband. The gun fired and we all head out. The advice I was given was to just ease into the 1st mile. From there, instructions shifted to more of a”gimme 2 and make it hurt” approach. For what it’s worth, I don’t know if there is any possible way to ease into the first mile of a 5k, but I certainly kept it in mind.

During the first half-mile, I kept my husband within 100-200 ft, but then he was gone. I was still cold despite a nice warm-up and even though I felt like I was “working” hard, it didn’t feel impossible. Yet! I crossed 1 mile and saw 7:45 on my Garmin. This was unchartered territory outside a sprint triathlon (always run faster off the bike) and since I “eased” into the first mile I told myself, “Carpe Diem! This thing started sub-8 and it now gets to finish sub-8!”

So while I lost my husband (because little did I know he had visions of 22 minute 5k), I did pick out a couple of people who I needed to keep within my sights. There was one person, in particular, that I was keeping closer than normal. When the 2 mile chime went off and I saw 7:51, I was relieved to be holding pace since things were becoming increasingly difficult. Only 1 mile to go! Little did I know, this last mile would be into the wind and up a slight hill…

Ok, maybe it was more of a driveway-ish incline…

The nice thing about completing 140.6 miles is that it sorta gives the feeling of empowerment. That last mile was HARD and I REALLY wanted to stop for a second to reset my stride (excuses?) and catch my breath. In the past, I just might have done it. This time, I was able to think rationally despite both being hypoxic and drowning in lactic acid. I convinced myself that, “NO…stopping is NOT necessary! Its ONE MILE, less than 8 minutes…get over it, get it done!”

And so I did.

Almost a month to the day after finishing my first Ironman, I ran my fastest 5k…..Crossing at 24:29 and surpassing my previous time by 1 minute and 1 second. That effort was rewarded with 3rd in the 40-44 AG, 9th female overall, and 38th out of 200 runners. Consistency is a marvelous thing and I give a ton of credit to my wonderful coach that stresses THAT above everything else.

So what’s a girl to do after a year like this?

400007323544_C-500x290

Naturally!

As of Friday, we will be spending the next 9 days at the most magical place on Earth!

Here’s wishing all of y’all a safe and festive holiday season!

And always…

Run Happy, My Friends!

happy runner

Ironman Florida- The Day Before

6

It’s less than 24 hours out and naturally I’ve been fielding tons of questions…

“How do you feel?”

“Fine, actually.”

“Are you ready”

“Sure am.”

“Are you nervous?”

“Nope.”

The weather is rather questionable right now. There’s a cold front approaching and winds are out of the South at 18-25 mph which is making for 4-5 ft swells in the Gulf. I’m hoping the water calms, a bit, when the winds shift to the north tonight, but more importantly I’d like to see the winds die down for that 112 mile bike ride.

But it is what it is. No point wasting energy fretting about it.

Truthfully, the most irritating part about the gloomy weather forecast is having to check our gear and bikes in the rain.

Mother Nature and I have certainly had our differences this training block that’s for sure. Why should things change now??!!

So what’s a girl to think about for 140.6 miles???

invictus1-1

Race Happy, My Friends!

racer

Ironman Florida- 13 weeks and counting…

6

36018241

 

I have no idea how it’s possible to have even LESS time during a step-back week, but that’s what happened.

It was the week before school and earlier in the summer, I decided to postpone every doctor appointment, dentist appointment, orthodontist appointment, trip for school clothes, haircut…..

You get the point….

There was a lot of running around being done and not, all that much, much resting.

I’m going to spare you the details since there was less volume this week, but “less” is very relative right about now.

Something I was both shocked and a little saddened to learn.

I was hoping for a week on the couch…kinnda….

I got a little over 10+ hours of work done and even had some ridiculous intervals thrown in to be sure my neuromuscular system didn’t develop a sudden case of rest-induced amnesia.

Between you and me, I’m not sure I ended the week feeling all that “rested”….

Maybe rested is the wrong word because, come to think of it, I DID actually feel a bit more rested by weeks end.

What I really wanted, was to feel refreshed and rejuvenated….

I wanted to feel energetic like I did back in May, before my training volume and the outdoor temperature jumped to increasingly obnoxious levels….

I wanted to feel like I could clip in and speed through 90 miles at 20+ mph…

I wanted my legs to willingly climb the stairs, to the 1st floor of my house (oh why did we build on the water???), while carrying those 40 bags of groceries….

HA! No such luck!

Maybe, by Thanksgiving! 😉

We’ll see….

Next week starts a 3 week, bike heavy block. Funny, there’s an awful lot of running in there too??!!!!

Yea, it looks a lil’ intimidating….

But then again, so is 140.6.

One day at a time….

Ride Happy, My Friends!

cyclist_jpg

 

Stepping Stones to Milestones

6

It started as a simple question about 4 years ago.

AquaDoc and I were sitting on the beach watching BoyGenius build sand castles when he poses the question, “So, what’s on your bucket list?”

It took me about 30 seconds to answer.

Ironman

Fast forward to today. After a slew of injuries, over a year in rehab, and another year clawing my way back into the racing world…

I am finally ready to jump over that next hurdle:

Registration Confirmation for:

Dear Jennifer,

Congratulations! You are now registered for 2012 Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas. Please check the event’s official website for updates: http://www.ironmanlonestar.com

Memorial Herman 70.3 on April 1, 2012 in Galveston, TX.

I’m so excited, it was all I could do to not run in the street and scream it to everyone outside, but my neighbors just wouldn’t get it.

I know y’all do.

It’s not the full 140.6, but a big step to getting there and I’m all about baby steps these days.

AquaDoc is racing it with me as well and if we don’t kill each other during training, it will make for one hell of an after party.

I look forward to sharing the journey with all of y’all.

Let me know if your 2012 race schedule includes Galveston as well. I’d love to meet up at some point.

Train Happy, My Friends!