Thanks to a good friend, I trained in Lake Tahoe this past weekend. Nineteen of us checked out the Ironman Lake Tahoe race course. (This race is the Ironman I signed up for.) It’s a great time to start getting the lay of the land since the race is one year from now. I was able to get a good idea of what to expect on race day as well as a good sense of the altitude and potential issues I may encounter racing that high above sea level. I now know what the terrain will be like and can start preparing for it. Yes I’m still in my off-season so I didn’t push myself too hard nor go the full Ironman distance.
I had an awesome time!
I met some more amazing triathletes. Most of them are Ironmen already, and all of them are racing Lake Tahoe. I enjoyed training and hanging out with them. There were a couple of times when it was challenging. At one point a discussion about heart related deaths came up and folks got into the finer points of heart issues. I tried to zone out and busy myself as best I could. Also I was asked about my silver bracelet which I wear all of the time except when I’m training and racing. It has Noah’s name, birth date and death date engraved on it. I guess I can’t expect to go an entire weekend with the same people without encountering a couple of uncomfortable moments.
My favorite aspect of the weekend was feeling Noah’s presence; we had our special time together as I swam, biked and ran. Climbing the hardest of the two hills — there are two significant hills with one having athletes climb 1000 feet over just three miles — on the bike course, I found myself struggling a lot. It was so hard I thought about stopping several times, and I wasn’t sure if I could reach the top. But as I’ve done in the past, I dug in deep. And with Noah right there with me, I reached the summit without stopping. In fact I was the 4th person in our group to reach it! A few folks commented on how fast I climbed it. I was flattered, especially given the caliber of this group of athletes. I told them as much as it hurts, I really like climbing hills; there’s something about digging in. Several of them commented that having less weight helps. (I’m on the lighter end of the spectrum.) And passing people provides positive reinforcement. I just smiled as these comments were made. While both of these points are true, I know the main reason why I was able to climb that hill as fast as I did. I didn’t tell them because I don’t know them that well and I didn’t want to risk being a downer. As I get to know this group better at some point I’ll tell them about Noah and the fact that I’m not climbing alone.
While my official training for the 2013 season doesn’t start until late January, I’m already super excited about it. And as hard — actually I don’t know how hard because I’ve never trained for an Ironman before but I know it’s going to be really hard — as training for and racing Ironman Lake Tahoe will be I’m very much looking forward to all of it!
What a great weekend!