Thursday, April 14, 2011

1/2 Iron Man: Reality Check

I think it is time for a serious reality check.

Race Date: May 14, 2011 exactly 30 days from today.

I’m scared. Who wouldn’t be though, really? With one month until race day I figured it was time to check in and see where I am….

Well here it goes, the reality is:

  • It is going to be hard.
  • I do not feel prepared.
  • I am nervous about the swim. Sure I have swam the distance in the pool but in the pool there is the wall. I can touch the wall, and if I do flip turns I push off and so I would say out of a 2000 yd swim I probably push off and glide 500 yds. That may be too high of a number but still…open water swimming is different. There is no wall. It’s just me and the water.
  • It is going to be HOT. Like really hot and humid by the time I get off the bike and start running. I need to seriously prepare for heat and come up with a method for cooling myself.
  • The bike has me nervous. I have relied heavily on spin class to prepare me for the ride. While I know it has helped, spin is only an hour long. So I am conditioned to ride hard for one hour. 56 miles on a bike is going to take me longer than one hour.
  • Transitioning from Bike to Run has me worried. In spin yesterday I was imagining the race, that is what I do if you haven't caught on. I am big on visualization. I visualized myself coming off the bike to transition to the run and I fell down. Yep, in my own race day visualization I made myself fall down. I know. Sounds absolutely ridiculous. But you see, in my last sprint I came in the shoot and got off my bike. My legs were like jell-o and they were moving way faster than I was prepared to move. My legs literally outran my body and I almost bit it. So part of visualization is seeing everything about a race, so I can be prepared. Preparation is HUGE and now that I have been reminded of what it is like to come off a 14 mile bike ride it is even more clear to me that I need to be prepared for coming off a 56 mile ride. 
  • Fuel and Hydration-How!?!?!? I need to get some sort of hydration system in place on my bike. I know for a fact that I cannot reach down and get a water bottle and hydrate without killing myself. I need a system that is up front and center. Hydration during the run is a must as well. It is going to be hot and my handheld Nathan water bottle will not suffice.  I am sure there will be plenty of water stops but still, a mile can be A LONG WAYS when you are between stops. RED and I learned that the hard way on a lousily supported 1/2 Mary once. We almost died. I don’t want to relive that.
  • I have been seriously slacking in the running department lately. What ever you do, DO NOT look to your right and see my lousy weekly mileage. It will horrify you. I keep saying I need to run more, I’ll start tomorrowI’ll run 4 or 5 times a week…But I am so tired and my legs are worn out.  I have been sick and injured seemingly constantly. But now, I have motivated myself to go for a run as soon as I finish this post…
  • I have never endured over 6 hours of physical activity. The Hubs enlightened me of this fact.  I have endured 4 hours and 32 minutes in a deluge of rainfall during the worst marathon of my life. But I know this will be different. Putting your body through physical exertion for that length of time is not easy. Am I prepared? How will my body respond? I am fully prepared to cross the finish line and need to be drug back to our cabin (we have rented a cabin at the park where the race is held). I am fully prepared to finish with an empty tank. I have never finished completely empty before. Don’t get me wrong, I have finished and felt empty and tired, I know I had something left. I know because I was able to walk, hobble or scoot through the shoot.

And the biggest reality check:

  • I have trained. But not enough I fear. Sure I have 30 days left but after adding in a week for my trip to OK I have 23 days left (of course I will be able to run but swimming and biking are out for that week) and then adding in a week of taper I have 16 days left.  So there you have it.  I have done enough to cross the finish line. I hope. 

I am excited and nervous at the same time. I haven’t been nervous about a race in a very long time!  I seriously underestimated the amount of work, training, blood, sweat and tears (literally) that would go into training multi-sport. I now know that I would need to dedicate a longer amount of time to fully prepare for a 1/2 Iron Man. But I am committed and I will do this! And depending on how it goes I may continue much of my training throughout the next year so I can complete a full iron next summer. But lets not put the cart in front of the horse….

And now, Laura was the first to guess that we have 8 bikes in our garage!!! She is correct-a-mundo!!! So congrats Laura! When I get the Allied Running Medal Display  giveaway up and going you’ll get an extra entry!!



Also, thanks for the vinegar advice! A lot of you suggested it so it must be true!! I haven’t tried it yet but I will!! I sure hope it works!!


  1. You are going to do great! You have trained and you can endure 6 hrs. I know it! I have a friend who is doing the olympic distance at White Lake (She's done the 1/2 before) and she says it's a great course. I can't wait to hear what you think about it, I might just sign up for it next year.

  2. You can totally do this and do great! On the other hand I can see how you could be nervous! There is a lot to think about! At the end of the day though you have trained for this and you are a strong athlete! Go out there and kill it!

  3. I wish my friend Brenda could help you! I did two triathlons last year and I couldnt have done it without her. In saying that, maybe ask around and see if you can find someone near you that has experience with this! They're advice can do worlds for your confidence and they have tricks of the trade that can be priceless!

    You can do this!

  4. I have a way to make you feel slightly more prepared - a friend of mine and my husbands (LT..well, not captain), is doing a full Ironman in June. He doesn't swim. At all. I mean, he can swim, but he doesn't feel the need to really "prepare" for it. Yes, he can run a 3:30 marathon and bike just fine.... but the swim is the first thing and if he drowns, well then it's over for him.

  5. Look that self-doubt in the face and knock it down. You are going to rock it lady!!! You've got this!

  6. It's always good to have a reality check before a race. While it's awesome to have high lofty goals (most of mine are), it's necessary to know what you're really up against. A half iron IS a long distance, you can't ignore the fact. But I don't doubt if it was tomorrow, you could finish it!

    Just relax, have fun, and be flexible. You've done enough training to be ready for six hours of FUN. Now it's just maintaining it and prepping your mind.

    And I'm already putting you down for a full for next year. If I'm still in the Northeast, I'm doing Lake Placid.

  7. Good news is it's NORMAL!!! Being a little scared is good it will give you the adreniline you need. You will do awesome!

  8. A few suggestions:

    Hydration: Have you considered a Hydration pack. You can have it ready and filled up and just get it on and you are good to go for bike and run. You can also carry some of the fuel you need. I use a Nathan pack and love it.

    One of this things I've learned while trail running in hot weather is to have a bandanna or something that you can wrap around you neck or put under your cap if wearing one. You soak it in ice cold water and it'll do wonders to cool you down. Oh and pop ice cubes in the hydration pack or water bottle a well.

    You will do great!! Motivation and determination will do a lot f work here too :)

  9. You sound like me regarding your half. I did my first one last summer and I had not been running-at ALL due to an injury. It turned out to be 95 degrees that day also =)

    Swim-stay calm, think soothing thoughts, NO panic!

    Bike-Get in your fuel as much as you can and if you need to pee, pee!

    Run-Just hang in there. If it's too hot, walk. You CAN do this if you keep yourself mentally stable =)

    GOOD LUCK! Expecting a great race report!

  10. You are going to do great!! I'm nervous too. Just got back from cycling. I need to start doing some bricks. The swim has me nervous too with no wall to push off of and no line on the bottome to follow. Yikes! I so remember the jello legs after the bike. I remember being amazed at my run time since I felt like I was going super slow but the time was pretty good. So looking forward to meeting you.

  11. Part of the challenge of moving up to the next level in any race is the fear of the unknown...did I train enough, what about this, what about that. I'm going through the same thing with my first 50k. It's all part of the adventure!

  12. You got me all nervous with your run down on why you aren't prepared, but I bet you'll kill the race anyways...
    some people are just like that :D

    p.s. I'm not one of them (gulp)
    I'll be over prepared and still have trouble.

  13. Don't doubt yourself. Remember what you HAVE done and keep visualizing! Could you try a CamelBak or other hydration backpack for water?

  14. Think positive! You will do great!

  15. You will do AWESOME. I think it's normal to have a little doubts.

    I was talking to a woman who has ran the marathon I am running on May 14th. She said it gets really hot so her friend put wet sponges in her sports bra and would wet them at water stations and squish on her head to keep cool, or she would just squish them in her sports bra to cool down her tatas. That made me laugh but if it is hot I am kinda considering it haha.

  16. Hey Stop freaking out and call me! I think what you need is an Official Race Crew!

  17. You SO got this girly! You have trained long and hard and it may not be beautiful, but you WILL finish it!! I'm starting to freak out about OKC! Its my first half...and I have sucked at following the training plan, I've just been running...sometimes long runs sometimes short runs. I did 8 miles the other day, 2 in the morning, 3 in the afternoon, drove home and ran 3 more...who knows if its benefiting me at all? We'll find out in 2 weeks!

  18. Camel back ? Something you can attach to the bar of your bike with goo, or bars etc. Can you run with a camel back too, so you can drink as needed also store any fuel you need there.
    Sounds like things are better. Any places to train outside I think it's a good idea to get some open water swims in.
    Miss you!

  19. 30 days!! WOO HOO! What a an accomplishment to check off. Your mind has been to tough places with marathons, so you will be able to draw from that for this half ironman! I am in awe of you and your training--I bet you have a great experience!!

    Think: this will be your first sig pose as a triathlete!


You're pretty much awesome!!


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