For the past couple of weeks I’ve been increasingly anxious about Hawaii. I keep thinking, “I hope I can finish!” This race does have cut off times for each stage: 1 hour 15 minutes after the start for the swim, 5 hours 30 minutes after the start for the bike and 8 hours 30 minutes to finish. I’ve also begun to worry about my nutrition. While I’ve been able to figure out what I need to consume for each stage while training, I’ve yet to put it all together. Then reading about Lance Armstrong‘s struggle with race day nutrition reinforced my own concerns. (Yes, I know, comparing myself to him is a little absurd. He and I are in very different categories – actually completely different worlds! He’s a seven time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor who this year returned to triathlons and in fact came in first place last week at Ironman 70.3 Florida, and I’m just an age grouper and bereaved mother who is hoping to simply finish her first Half Ironman.) Oh and my left knee is still giving me issues every now and then.
Nevertheless, one week from today surrounded by 1,600 fellow triathletes (including Lance, Chris Lieto and other amazing professional athletes), I’ll be at Hapuna Beach State Park on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island in my tri-suit with goggles and swim cap on and body marked. One week from today I’ll swim 1.2 miles, ride 56 miles and run another 13.1. One week from today I’ll find out what 19 weeks of the most serious, structured and hard core training I’ve every gone through will do. One week from today I’ll have another opportunity to honor Noah.
So starting with this morning’s training session I made a point to shift gears and focus on getting myself psyched. After all, I’ve followed Pete’s training program. And while next Saturday’s race will be my first 70.3 distance, I do have seven successful triathlons under my belt already. And I did qualify for USAT 2012 Age Group National Championships.
As I prepared for this morning’s workout I pushed all negative/anxious thoughts out of my mind. This worked! During my two-hour ride I actually found myself dancing (as much as one can while on a bike – yes I’m sure I looked pretty funny) to some of the songs on my iPod. I had to do a 10 minute 80%+ endurance effort and boy it was hard. But I kept embracing this challenge more and more; digging deeper and deeper. Towards the end of my ride I even found myself smiling a bit. Believe me I did work very hard for the entire time. With the exception of my 10 minute drill (which as mentioned before was at the 80%+ level), I stayed at the high end of my endurance level throughout the ride. And I finished my session with a strong 20 minute run afterwards.
To continue psyching myself up this week, I’ve decided to think of all of the positives such as:
- I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. I recently hit a milestone. On the bike I noticed it’s now taking me an additional 20-30 minutes to get my heart rate up to my endurance level — a sign that my body is getting into better shape. (Also a sign that I need to increase my effort level!)
- I’m back in CA.
- I’m racing in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
- I have the support of wonderful friends.
- According to my grief counselor I’ve been making good progress.
- I have MLH.
- And of course there’s Noah.