Tomorrow I will leave for MD to complete my goal for the last 5 months. Since right after completing the Disney Marathon in January my sights have been set on completing this Ironman. I have logged many hours in the pool, in the saddle and on the pavement in order to get to today. Looking back on the 4 months I can definitely tell I have improved in all three aspects of the race. I know that I will continue to train my swimming and cycling after the race although my focus will quickly switch to running in order to prepare for the Chicago Marathon in October.
My swim training has been the best and the worst aspect of my training. I have never really been a swimmer and although I was also comfortable in the water (thanks to childhood swim lessons) I never looked as swimming as an activity that I wanted to do. Knowing that I focused early on building up my swimming endurance as well as improving my swimming technique and this focus has paid off. During the cold months of January, February and March I was able to build up my swimming so when it was warmer I was able to focus on getting outside on the bike and running. At the same time I have not been able to practice my swimming in open water and my warm-up on race day will be the first time I will swim, for distance, in open water. That fact makes me the most nervous and I know that after I exit the water I will feel very relieved.
Before moving back to IL I had the chance to ride the exact Eagleman Course during the Six Pillars Century Ride. (I review the ride here.) This ride not only showed me the course and provided a comfort with it that I can take into the race on Sunday but it also provided the beginning of one of my best training days of the whole 20 weeks. After that ride I got off the bike, simulated a transition to my run and ran some miles around Cambridge where the run course is located. That day proved to me that I can do this and that I will complete this race!
Oddly enough triathlon training has just made me love running more. I think it is because in my training schedule I have focused on the other two aspects so much that running became my relief and my break from the grind of swimming laps and biking the miles. Also during my training I set a huge Half Marathon PR at the Shamrock Half Marathon in VA Beach (Review is available Here). I am confident that although my legs may feel like jello after the bike ride, they will be able to take me through the final 13.1 miles and to the finish line.
RACE DAY GOALS:
I remember going into my first marathon I could not help but question weather or not I was able to finish. I knew that I had trained enough to finish and I was in good enough shape, but when you are going into something new you cannot help but think that there is a chance that you may not be able to finish. That is the same feeling I have now. I know that my training has been good enough, and I have remained focus on this goal and have had a great training period but there is always that doubt until I cross the finish line. Starting the training I wasn’t sure if I would even like Triathlon training but I have fallen in love with the sport and am already planning on when my next tri will be.
I hope to finish faster than 6 hours, but will be happy just to finish. Unlike when I run a half or full marathon, I am not going out there to focus on my time, but instead, Sunday I will just focus on the finish. I want to give my best effort, and constantly push myself to go as fast as I can but I can always remind myself that the joy in this race will be finishing and that there is no pressure on me besides crossing that finish line.