visions of sugar plums (well, Ironmen, really)…

Where the heck does the time go?  Seriously.  6.5 weeks to go til IMCDA and I can’t believe it.  It will be here before I know it and that’s no joke.  On Friday I leave for a 10-day trip to Italy, come back for literally a day and a half, then get on a plane to fly to the Pacific Northwest to meet a friend for Memorial Day weekend.  I get home on a Tuesday and that Sunday will do the Tour de Cure (you can sponsor me – see the link on the right) century on June 3 – 3 weeks from THE day. 

It’s amazing to me how having a date circled on the calendar can either speed time up or slow time down.  I can remember as a kid looking forward to school being out for the summer – those last few weeks seemed to take forever.  And don’t get me started on how Christmas Eve was way more than 24 hours… As a grown up, the last week or two before a much needed (and deserved) vacation creeps by ever so slowly… For some reason race training seems to be the opposite.  Time flies by and as race day approaches, altogether too quickly, I’m left wondering if I’ve done enough, if I could have done more, if I’m ready.  I question everything I’ve done and am often reminded of the expression, “the hay is in the barn.”  I’ve gotta trust the work I’ve done will get me where I want to go.

I’m staring down the barrel of Ironman number 3.  6 weeks.  Wow. 

As you know my running is a work in progress but I’m so happy that it’s getting there!  This past Monday I did an 85′ run (kinda by accident, was supposed to do 75 but I managed to screw up my Garmin, accidentally hitting stop at some point).  It wasn’t super fast (it was humid, I was tired, and I had a heck of a stressful weekend serving as volunteer director for a 200 person destination triathlon), but I got it done and my legs felt good!  So, the run will be what it will be for the IM.  And what it will be is some sort of a run-walk plan devised by my coach.  I’ll be as ready as I can be… and the IM marathon will be a great foundation for the rest of my race season, capping off with the NYC marathon in November!  I probably won’t have  a PR day in CDA because of my run, but I am confident it will be a good day and that because of the smart training I’m doing I’ll have many more races in my future… and lots of PRs!

So far I haven’t done a ride longer than 4.5 hours (or even close to 100 miles) and that is a bit troubling to me but that will change very soon.  Yes, my trip to Italy is a vacation, but it won’t be your run of the mill European vacation.  I’ll be cycling most days (with a few exceptions to run, swim, and/or recover) on some pretty intense routes (the Giro d’Italia has gone through Riccione the last 2 years), finishing the trip up with the Nove Colli Gran Fondo (120 miles of climbing, climbing, and more climbing).   If I can finish that I’m pretty sure CDA won’t kill me.  🙂 

The weekend after Nove Colli I’m gonna do a race rehearsal on the IMCDA course!  I’m packing Jina (my kestrel), my new Rudy Project Wingspan helmet, lots of Infinit (my bike nutrition of choice) and Honey Stinger waffles (yummy), and heading west for an epic training weekend.  Saturday will be a full IM race rehearsal ride (112 miles) followed by a brick run.  Sunday the plan is to go back for 1 loop of the course and a dip in the freezing cold water.  Shudder… I’m trying to think of it as an ice bath, which is therapeutic, right??  Brr… not looking forward to it.  I really need this recon trip to go well.  A lot of folks think I’m nuts for taking the time and spending the money to fly across the country with my bike to pre-ride the course.  I think of it as insurance and peace of mind.  I want to know what the course looks like and how I can and should handle it.  I want to race smart and to do that I need to know what to expect.  Looking at the elevation charts isn’t gonna cut it for me.  IMWI is pretty technical, arguably the hardest IM bike course, and having gone to train on the course took away so much race day anxiety… those training trips were well worth it for me and I’m happy to go to CDA for the same reasons.  Besides, I’ve heard a rumor there’s a restaurant called Paul Bunyan’s that serves huckleberry milkshakes.  Oh yeah, I’ll be stopping for one of those… for sure! 

On the 3-week-out mark I’m doing an organized century in Reston, VA.  The Tour de Cure raises money for the American Diabetes Association.  My late grandmother had diabetes (and heart disease) and my mom currently suffers from both… so I’m raising money for a cure (as well as the High Cloud Foundation)… and riding to stay healthy myself!  It’s a win-win.  If you want to sponsor me, I’d love your support!

If the next 3 weeks of riding won’t get me ready, I don’t know what will… but I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready.  I know I can do it; I’ve done it twice before.  But I can’t stop the anxiety and the dreams of race day… but when I have those dreams I’m putting my positive spin on things and envisioning success.  My sugar plums are dancing their way across the finish line with huge grins on their faces and fists pumping in the air as they become Ironmen x3!