First off, thank you everyone for all your encouraging words during my final push. I’m always amazed at the mental transformation that happens to me right when I’m on the brink of physical exhaustion. Knowing that bad moods, despair, and violent thoughts will happen and preparing for them is key to surviving through the last few weeks. A lot of unnecessary emotional outbursts were had last week, but in a way I’m happy that I had them. Having those outbursts means that I have given my all in my training. It means I’m so invested in prepping for this race. It means I care. And when I care, I race well.
Last weekend I traveled out to Cedar Point, Ohio, to participate in the Rev3 course preview. It was an amazing opportunity to partner up with local riders and get some time out on the course. Since I was doing 100 miles followed by a 6 mile run, I left early (most others were only doing 50 miles). The week prior I did the same workout and went out too hard on the bike and suffered on the run. This time I dropped the power by 10 watts for the first 50 miles, then upped it by 6 watts for the last 50. I came off the bike feeling amazing and then headed out for the run. The result? I was clocking off sub 7:30 miles at my goal race heart rate (150-155 bpm). My legs felt great. I felt amazingly fit. I ended that workout with such an amazing emotional high.
(Some of you were wondering about the bike course. The roads are in excellent condition and mainly flat. The stretch of route 113 was the hardest for me since it is a false flat and I had a headwind, but other people stated that the climb into Freely was the worst for them. The crosswinds picked up on the second loop, so be aware it might get windy later in the day).
Sunday was a travel day and then Monday it was time for my 18 mile run with tempo intervals. I did graduated heart rate intervals to simulate race day conditions. I was nervous about how the run would go since I had put in an insane amount of volume and intensity over the past few weeks. I told myself that no matter what I would stick to my heart rate zones. If paces were slow, I wouldn’t let it get to me. I’d chalk it up to too much training. When I got to the last 6 mile interval, in which I run at race pace heart rate, the first mile ticked off. 7:42. “Eh, I’ll slow down” I thought. Next mile: 7:39. The miles kept ticking away. My heart rate stabilized right around 155 and my run paces stayed sub 7:40. When I was two miles from finishing, I started choking up. I couldn’t believe how strong, powerful and fit I felt. These paces felt effortless. I wasn’t fighting for the run. I wasn’t counting down the minutes until I could slow down. I felt like I could run at that pace for ten more miles. All the training, all the medical tests, all the iron supplementation was finally paying off. I have never felt more fit and more ready to race in my life.
Technically I’ve started my taper, which means I finally get some of my mental sanity back! Tuesday I went on a 25 mile ride with a coworker, Wednesday I did a 5k open water swim and today was cuh-cuh-CRAZY 400m track repeats with my running group. Normally I would be doing some sort of longish bike/run combination Saturday and Sunday but not this week because tonight I head up to Old Orchard Beach, Maine to help out at the Rev3 Maine race! I’ll be working timing for the event, so make sure you come find me at the timing tent and say hi! I’m really excited to go to a race and not be racing—I’m so excited for the opportunity to give back and support everyone else! I hear the course is amazingly gorgeous, and it looks like weather conditions are primed for the perfect race.
So with that, I’m wrapping up some work projects and hitting the road for Maine this evening. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend of training and racing!