Have you ever had one of those training sessions where everything falls into place and you just feel awesome, strong, and fast? Those are the best. It's nice to experience that feeling every once in awhile. It's especially nice because the Ironman distance itself is so daunting. With that said, that's how I felt last weekend when I went to join Chloe for IM Florida training.
While Scott was playing Baywatch on the beach.....I headed over to Panama City Beach to join Chloe for a ride. We ended up riding about 92 miles of the Ironman FL bike course. It was a perfect day with no humidity and cooler temperatures. We kept a decent pace throughout and I had the opportunity to spend time with Chloe's super-welcoming training group. I felt no bonking what-so-ever and would even go to the extent to say that I felt "relaxed". Afterwards, I joined the group for a post bike 5 mile-ish brick and continued to feel good. The ride was a huge confidence booster for me. I thought to myself ok I can do this Ironman thing. I really can do this!
Going into this weekend I had an Olympic distance tri on schedule: The Alabama Coastal Triathlon. Although I was only doing a 3 day taper, I wanted to PR at this distance. Knowing there was a prize purse, placing top 5 would definitely be a plus. With my past weekend of success, I went into this race feeling a little overly confident.
Things didn't end up working out as planned. Honestly, it turned out just plain UGLY! I won't bore you with the race report, but here is a quick summary of my mistakes:
1. No hubby with me at race=super stressed, wound-too-tight Heidi.
2. Driving late the night before the race=A huge no-no unless you want your glutes to be sore the next day.
3. 3-day taper for an Olympic=Not enough in my book.
4. Never eat a cliff bar for a pre-race dinner. Not enough! I was too tired to eat I guess.
5. Never EVER drink muscle milk the morning of a race. Your stomach will hate your for it (not sure what I was smoking)
6. Sunscreen is a must in September in Gulf Shores. Duhhh!!!
7. Heat exhaustion just plain sux!
In addition to my mistakes, the swim was against the wind/current and was jelly-fish infested, the wind was just as nasty on the bike, and to top it off there was an insane heat wave that went through Saturday. With a 7:30 am start, the sun was beating down so bad on the run I ended up walking a LOT! I went from trying to keep under a 7 min mile pace to just trying to finish the silly thing. With temps well over 100 deg, it seemed like the entire field was walking. It was a humbling-eye opening experience. The run was the most painful 6.2 miles of my life. After the chills and delirium set in during the run, I was simply glad to finish what felt like far more than an Olympic distance triathlon.
It's kind of funny how things work out sometimes. Despite an ugly performance and time, I ended up placing 5th overall and winning some money.
I've learned that not every race will always go as planned regardless of how much training you've put into it. In the words of my great friend Kim, no every day can't be "your day". Looking forward, we can just take these small things we learn and move on. Sometimes your hot, sometimes your cold. I just pray that I'm on fire race day for Ironman Fl. Afterall, that's when it really counts.
Oh and Congrats to Beth and Kim on their 1-2 punch finish overall for the Rev3 Half over the weekend! Rock on girlies!