Sunday, July 14, 2013

MISSING WILLIAMSBURG & TRYING TO TACKLE A BEAST

A few weekends ago we road tripped it to gorgeous Williamsburg Virgina for Rev3 Williamsburg. I had planned on this race for months and was so excited, but it was not to be. Abby has hit sleep regression and with her also teething, there goes my sleep once again. Between that and being in right in the middle of crunch time for my upcoming 140.6, I just didn't have the energy. I made the call not to do the race. Rich on the other hand, raced and although not a good day for Mr. Allen, he is glad to be back. We are very much sleep deprived training athletes and most days are hard, but we are managing. I get jealous when I see other mum's posting about their babes sleeping through the night, but so far we've had no such luck.

The race that wasn't :(
Anyway, once back and after missing Rev3 Williamsburg, I decided that I would enter a local race known for being a beast. It's actually been named as one of the hardest Olympic distance races out there. With a very hilly bike course and a massive long 17% gradient hill on the run, I know this would be a major challenge. It has been 3 years since I last raced this distance but I was excited and ready for the challenge. So, at 4am we were up and ready to go. We had an hour drive to get to the race site and luckily Abby slept the entire way. Once there, I quickly got everything ready and had to head back to feed Abby. Yep, nurse the babe right before the gun goes off. Might I add, very hard to do it a tri top as you can imagine. After feeding Abby, Rich was pointing me to the water and telling me to get in and warm up. I hopped in the water with my sweet Blueseventy Pz3 Speedsuit and my Blueseventy Visions. The water was warm and it actually felt nice.
I was able to warm up for a couple minutes and then we had to hop out and get in line for our waves to go off. After a few waves went, it was our turn to go. We were called to the water and I lined myself up in the front on the far right with a straight shot straight to the first turn buoy. I felt ready and eager. The gun went off and I took off like a bullet. Not particularly the best idea but given the fact I hadn't raced in so long, I forgot to hold back a little. Never mind. I led the swim for what seemed ages and I settled into a comfortable pace when it hit. The 'fog' as I call it. The months and months of sleep deprivation definitely take their toll and it's upon exertion when this 'fog'completely rolls over my body and I go limp. I feel like I have nothing in me and that's exactly what happened right there while I was looking great and in the swim lead.

Like a brick wall, the fog rolled over me and I had no choice but to pull back. I went from the lead after 800 or so to getting passed by 3 other women and I had no fight in me. I let them go. 2 more passed, I let them go. I decided then and there to just give it my best whatever that may be and try and enjoy the race or at the very least enjoy the upcoming downhills ha! The swim felt like it took ages and with my current swimming ability I was incredibly disappointed. However, in the day and ages of Garmin, you would think that a race would actually get the swim distance right, but this race was supposed to be 1500, ended up being just over half iron distance swim. Everyone was talking about it after the race as well. The only put the buoys out 10 minutes before the race started, so I guess inaccuracy was to be expected. Even tho, I was still disappointed with my swim performance.

Out of the swim and onto the bike. I had a massive hill to climb right out of T1. My god that hurt. I went anaerobic in about 10 seconds flat. Whew! 

Off on the bike course I rolled. The first couple miles were good. I settled into position and was actually flying and it felt great. Of course it was flat for those first couple miles. Then came the turn onto the first climb. Here we go. Changing gears, trying to find my comfort, up we started to go. Up and up and up. Solid climbing for around 2 miles with no break. That was tough. Reminded me of cycling up Col de Colombiere in the French Alps, only not quite that tough or long. With my tired level though, it almost felt like I was climbing that French Cat 1 climb. The bike was full of hills and some were tough. I was certainly thankful for each decent!! The bike course was longer than a true Olympic distance. The bike was actually 29 miles which we actually did know that going in. Not sure why they call this an international distance with a longer swim and longer bike that any other Oly. At any rate, I was happy to be out there despite any feelings of exhaustion I rolled into T2 and was ready to call it a day, but I knew the biggest challenge of all lay ahead on that run in the form of 17% gradient and an 8% gradient hill. 
I scrambled into T2 shaky. I was pretty much of juice, but knew I could trudge on. So I did. Back up that monster hill out of transition I went. Rich and Abby were there waiting for me and my heart rate was out of control. Rich was saying something positive and I really wanted to run that hill, but I actually had to stop and walk for a few seconds. I thought my heart was going to explode. Thanks Rich for the awesome shot of me walking on that hill. You're a gem....

Once at the top, the run leveled off and I was actually feeling ok for the first couple miles. Then came the turn for the hills. The sun was out now and it was scorching hot and I knew that those two hills would be killer. Boy was I right. Every one I saw was run/walking those hills. At least I didn't feel so bad. 

At first glance it looks as if I'm smiling here, but I assure you this was not a smile, it was a grimace!
On the second lap of the run, I really ran out of steam. I was ready to call it a day but still had 2.5 miles to go and those HILLS! I got slower and slower. I tackled the hills one last time and was so ready to cross the finish. I knew Abby was there waiting for me and I picked up the pace. Entering the finish, I grabbed my baby girl and that was the best feeling ever. I carried her across the finish line and in that moment, I was floating on air. 

Even though I feel exhausted most days, I am happy to just be able to be doing triathlon again. I lost loads of fitness while being pregnant, but each and every day I get a little more fitness back. Some days I feel incredibly strong and other days, I feel like I've never exercised a day in my life. It's all normal and it's all part of being a parent. Being a mommy to an infant is the best job in the world and certainly the most exhausting. Add triathlon in with that mix and you're sure to have ups and downs. I realize that now. I thought that coming back would be easy. Boy, was I in for a surprise. It's all good though. I can and will manage and if I'm lucky, at some point, I will be stronger than ever before.

Since the race, I came home and went right back into Ironman training. I am happy to report that my long run went extremely well and just yesterday I got in my 100 miles in the heat and humidity and I felt pretty good. Sleep is still disrupted. We just have a babe that doesn't sleep much, and we have to deal with that. Louisville is now 6 weeks away, which means 4 weeks more training. The hardest part is yet to come, but I'm ready. I have been down that ole Ironman road before and I know that I will be just fine on race day. Do I want to have a good race? Of course I do. The goal as always is to be better than the last time. Will I have a good race? Maybe. Will I finish....definitely and I can't wait!!!

Cheers~

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Haha. Love that you still posted the hill-walking pic. Nice work out there!