Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Race Report

Thankfully I got a decent night’s sleep on Friday night, because I did NOT sleep very well the night before the Ironman. I had two alarms set for 4am because I was so paranoid about oversleeping, but I was wide awake by 2:30am. I finally gave up and got out of bed at 3:30, made coffee, ate my bagel with peanut butter, drank some Gator Ade, and was ready to head to the shuttle with Dan at 4:30 (poor Dan).

We arrived at the Olympic Center just before 5am and it was already mobbed. It was such an amazing sight to look out over the transition area at the thousands of bikes and gear bags all ready and waiting.

Our first stop was body-marking, then to the transition area to pump my tires. I met Deanne there and then we headed over to the Special Needs area on Mirror Lake Dr. to drop the rest of our bags. We were finished with everything by around 5:30 and had an over an hour to kill before we had to head over to the swim start.

Now that we were there, and all of my stuff was where it needed to be, I was totally calm: I only had three things left to do that day and they were all going to be fun as far as I was concerned. Also, Mother Nature had apparently grown bored with us because the weather was perfect, there was only a slight chance of rain for later in the day.

Deanne and I sat by the side of the road on Mirror Lake Drive with Dan and Quinn and eventually my friend Rachel showed up! I was so thankful I got to see Rachel and Robert before the start! Rachel has been one of my best friends since grade-school and she and her husband came all the way from MA to cheer me on, along with our great Salem friends Bonnie, Patty, Cindy and Deb who Deanne and I were looking forward to seeing later!

My wonderful friend Rachel!

At 6:30 we got on our wetsuits and headed over to the swim start, where we met up with Deanne’s family and got lots of hugs and good-lucks. From there, Deanne and I set off to the water.  We got in just as the pro’s were starting at 6:50. The water felt so warm and as we floated there in our wetsuits waiting for our cannon to go off, I felt so happy and lucky to be there. All of my nervousness was gone and I was so excited to start!

Heading into the water
The unique thing about the Lake Placid Ironman swim course is that there is an underwater cable that runs the entire length of the course, so that if you are lucky enough to swim within sight of this cable, it’s like pool-swimming where you don’t need to pick your head up to sight at all. Unfortunately, EVERYONE wants to be on the cable and unless you’re one of the strongest and fastest swimmers, you are warned to swim wide and stay the hell away from it. Likewise with the turn-around buoy: everyone tries to cut that corner as close as possible and there is always a big pile-up of bodies trying to take that turn. My mantra for this swim has always been “Swim Wide!”

Once the cannon went off and the mass chaos started, I got disoriented in the sea of pink and green swim-caps and lost track of where I was heading. Everyone was on top of one another and we literally had to doggie-paddle 
quite a bit just to keep from getting hit and kicked. I had to laugh when one guy picked his head up and screamed, “THIS IS CRAZY!!!” Once I could finally put my head in the water and swim a few strokes, I looked down and saw that cable right underneath me. OH SHIT. And from there I proceeded to get my ass kicked for the entire first lap of the swim. I was in such a sea of bodies that there was no way I could get away from it, and that meant by the time I got to the turn-around buoy, I was so close to it I could touch it. This was not what I had planned! But by the time I got out of the water and saw the clock for my first lap it said 41 minutes! Wow – that was way faster than I thought I could do it. So, hey! Let’s do that again! I ran up on the beach, over the timing mat and jumped back in for my second lap and got right back on the cable.  It was much more spread out this time and I swam pretty much all the way to the turnaround completely unimpeded right on the cable. I never had to look up. However, once I got to the buoy there was another big pile-up and I got a big, sharp kick right in the face.  I decided it was time to give up the cable and just get myself back to the beach in one piece.

I got out of the water at 1:23, which was way faster than I thought I would do, and went right over to the wet-suit strippers, the saintly volunteers who tear your wetsuit off of you. I laid down on the mat and a nice lady came over and grabbed my suit by the ankles and whoosh! It was off and I was up and running to the transition area. I saw Dan, Rachel, Robert, Bonnie, Patty, Deb, Cindy and Deanne’s whole family cheering me on – thanks guys!!

I ran into the women’s changing tent, a volunteer grabbed my bike gear bag, I ate a Bonk-Breaker bar, drank some water and I got ready to go.  Once out of the tent, another volunteer ran and got my bike for me and I ran with it to the mount-line and headed out! I think it took about 2 minutes before I lost one of my water bottles. Ah well, if that’s the worst thing that happens to me today I will be one lucky girl.

The bike course was crowded on the way out, and it was slow going up the hill out of town, but that was a good thing. I wanted to take it very easy on this first lap. But once we got to the dreaded Keene hill, I realized I wasn’t as afraid of it anymore. The weather was beautiful, there was no car traffic, so I decided I was going to man-up and not use my brakes so much this time. It was actually fun! There were stretches where I didn’t brake at all, and yet my top speed was still only 36.4 mph. Apparently I am not built for speed.

My support crew
The first lap was awesome. I only stopped once to refill my water bottle and hit the port-a-potty. I felt great, and even in the most difficult parts, where I felt like I was climbing forever and my legs were burning, I would look off to the side and see a waterfall and the mountains in the background and think, “I am SO lucky to be here doing this!” Papa Bear was the last big hill before heading back into town to start the second lap, and it was filled with spectators and people dressed in crazy costumes, music blaring….it was really fun to see and took my mind off the misery of that hill. People had staked big signs by the side of the road for the riders, some inspirational, some just very funny (my personal favorite: If An Ironman Was Easy, It Would Be Called Your Mom”).

Coming through town back to the Olympic Oval, I saw Deb, Cindy, Patty and Bonnie again cheering and I headed back by transition to start my second loop. The second loop started out great, the Keene hill went smoothly again, I only made one stop again to refill and use the bathroom. I was so happy to see Deanne when she caught up to me at about mile 70 and I managed to ride behind her for a few miles.

My nutrition plan for the bike ride was to have 2-3 bars of solid food early on, and then nothing but Gu’s, sports-drink and water for the last half of the ride. I always have problems with stomach-aches after eating on the bike, and so far this plan had worked pretty well for me. Maybe I had one bar too many, or maybe I swallowed too much of Mirror Lake on the swim, but after about the 90-mile mark I started getting a stomach-ache. By the time I hit those last brutal 10 miles of the bike, it was getting really hot out, my stomach was KILLING me, and suddenly those water-falls weren’t looking so spectacular anymore.  I just needed to get off the bike. I slogged back up Papa Bear, past the guys dressed up like cheer-leaders, headed back into town where people were all lined up at the course screaming (which was SO nice!), and got to the dismount line. A volunteer took my bike, I went and got my run gear bag and headed to the changing tent.

I felt awful. I was dizzy, hot, and I felt like I was going to throw up. One of the volunteers grabbed me and sat me down, she took off my shoes, got me water, and helped me get my running shoes on (seriously, these volunteers were the greatest people on earth). By now it was after 4pm. I had no idea how I was going to run a marathon feeling like this. I staggered out of the tent and managed a slow jog out of the transition area. Every step was causing my stomach to cramp up. I made it to the first aid station and had a few sips of water and a few sips of Ironman Perform, grabbed a couple of Gu’s just to hold in my hands in case I needed them, and kept going.

I was so miserable, but I didn’t want to walk yet. I had just started! So I kept running and thought about what my good Ironman friend Patty had told me before the race: the first three miles of an Ironman marathon SUCK. Get through those, and you’ll be fine. OK. Three miles. I can handle anything for three miles. I kept going. It was SO hot and there was no shade yet. But I hit the first mile marker, then the second, then the third, and once I hit the turn on to River Rd., which is a beautiful (and shady!) out and back for 6 miles, I started to feel better! There was an aid station at every mile and I stopped at almost every one so I could take small sips of water and sports drink (my stomach could still not handle anymore Gu’s) and kept running. I still had a stomach-ache for the entire marathon, but after a while I just got used to it. I would see people throwing up by the side of the road, I saw one guy lying down
and screaming in pain because his legs were cramping so badly, and I would think of how worse off I could be. A stomach-ache wasn’t going to kill me. I kept running.  

Once I hit the turn-around on River Rd. and started my return towards town, I got excited thinking of seeing my family and friends who I knew would be somewhere on Mirror Lake Dr. That thought propelled me all the way up those 2 giant hills back into town, and on the second big hill, I caught up to Deanne! We talked about how excited we were to see everyone, and then I kept going. It was so exciting getting into town and hearing the screaming people and the music coming from the Olympic Oval. I made my way down Mirror Lake Dr. and saw Deb, Patty, Bonnie and Cindy screaming for me. I came to the run Special Needs stop and a volunteer got my bag and I quickly re-applied some Body Glide, grabbed my long-sleeved shirt and tied it around my waist in case it got cold later.  Then I finally saw Dan, the kids, my in-laws, and  Deanne’s family and they were all going crazy! I was able to give them all hugs before heading on my way. Thankfully, it was only about a stretch of a mile before the next turnaround and I got to come back and see them all again before heading back out to River Road.  It was such a huge mental boost to see them all.

By this time, the sun was going down and it was so much cooler – perfect running weather! My stomach was still hurting, but now I had discovered the warm chicken broth at all of the aid stations. OMG, it was the best thing I had ever tasted, and I was literally just running to get to the next chicken broth table. I think it helped my stomach, and I didn’t get a single muscle cramp for the entire marathon, and I’m attributing to the broth. Best. Stuff. Ever.

The run was pretty uneventful during these miles. I knew miles 13-20 would be the most mentally challenging. Other than the aid stations, I only had to walk once for a few minutes when I really thought I was going to throw up. But I didn’t, so yay! What really helped my psyche was when I hit the 20 mile mark. Only a 10k left! It was getting dark out by this time and there was a guy handing out glow necklaces to everyone.

At this point I still hadn’t REALLY let myself think about finishing. I was trying to stay in the moment and not get ahead of myself. Especially after those first few miles of the marathon, you just don’t know what’s going to happen out there and I wasn’t going to take anything for granted. But, once I was off River Road, and was running back towards town around mile 23, everything was really dark and quiet and I saw a man standing by the side of the road by himself. As I ran by, he clapped and said, “Congratulations, you’re going to be an Ironman tonight.” And then it hit me. I choked out a “Thank you…” and that’s when the tears started. He was right. I have 3 miles left and no matter what, I was going to finish. It was a very emotional last 3 miles. I was exhausted, and both relieved it was almost over, and a little sad that my Ironman experience was coming to an end.

I had to speed-walk up those last 2 big hills, but I didn’t care at that point.  So was everyone else. As I got closer to town and heard the cheers, I started running a little faster. Coming back in was NUTS. People were in the middle of the road screaming for us, screaming our numbers, screaming my name (which was also on my bib). The tears kept coming. I turned on to Mirror Lake Dr. hoping to see my family, but when I didn’t see them, I realized they were probably already waiting for me at the finish line. Wow.

Those last two miles were so surreal. I could see the lights of the Olympic Oval from across the lake, could hear the music blaring and people screaming, and I just needed to GET THERE. I finally made the turn and it was such a flood of emotion stepping on to that Oval. I will never be able to describe that feeling. It was so loud, and bright, and everyone was screaming (I never did get to hear them call my name! Oh well!). As I ran to the finish line I saw all of my friends and family screaming and waving. I was absolutely ecstatic. I ran across the line and immediately a volunteer grabbed me, asked if I was ok, if I needed anything. She got me a foil wrap, some water, put my medal around my neck, got me my Ironman hat, and led me over to take my finish photo.

I was on such an adrenaline high that I felt like I could run all the way back to the condo if I had to. I found Dan and Jack, and Jack was SO excited, and I was so happy he got to see me finish (Tenley was sound asleep in the stroller by this point).

We are Ironmen!!!
Deanne came in just a few minutes after I did, so we all got to celebrate together for a little while before it was time to head home. I never could have done this without her, or my family who I have relied on for so much support over this past year.

Thank you SO much to Dan, Jack, Tenley, my mother-in-law, father-in-law, Rachel, Robert, Cindy, Patty, Deb, Bonnie and the whole Hobba clan for trekking out to cheer us on. I'm sure I can speak for both of us by saying what a huge help it was to us seeing all of your smiling faces out there! You are the best!

The person I need to thank the most is my husband. I know he may not understand my need to do these things, but he always respects it and supports me and without that I never would have crossed that finish line. So THANK YOU DAN!!!!

Also, I wish I could thank all of those volunteers personally. They, the spectators, and all of my fellow athletes, were so encouraging and positive. Also,  thanks to Rachel, Dan and Tracie for the great pics! 

So that ends my journey to 140.6. Will I do another one? I’m thinking maybe, but not anytime soon. Maybe once the trauma to my family and our bank account wears off! I certainly couldn’t put my family through anything like that again for a long time, but maybe when the kids are older? It was just such an incredible experience that I don’t want to say never.

And here are my results:

SWIM:          1:23:50
T1:                13:18
BIKE:           7:47:55
T2:                9:03
RUN:            5:06:39
OVERALL: 14:40:45

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Twelve Hours and Counting!

It's Ironman Eve and we finally got our Wi-Fi working well enough to write a final pre-race blog post. We got here Thursday afternoon, and apparently there was a bad storm here Monday night that knocked out power everywhere and internet access is still spotty.

Once we got here, I had to go register, get all of my gear bags, get weighed-in (so they know whether I'm too dehydrated at the end of the race, in which case there is an IV tent). After that, we did a little sight-seeing downtown before we went back to the condo.

I met Deanne first thing Friday morning for our last training swim. We did one loop of the course. There were so many other people out there training, I even had someone swim over me once. It was good practice, because I'm expecting a lot of that on race day: 3000 people all swimming in that little lake at the same time. Whew! That night, Deanne and I had a mandatory race meeting. Getting out of that thing was like trying to leave a concert at Great Woods. It took us over an hour just to get out of the parking lot.

When I dropped Deanne off, I finally got to meet her PA family who had just gotten into town. After hearing about them for so many years, I felt like I already knew them. They were every bit as warm, funny and crazy as Deanne had described. I can't wait to see them out on the course!

My final race preparations for today were to check in my bike and drop off my gear bags. It took me two hours to pack all of these bags. But I love where my bike is racked -- right next to the finish! Once all of this was done, I finally started feeling less nervous. Everything is where it's supposed to be, I'm here, and now all I have to do is go for a swim, a bike ride, and a run. It's not rocket-science, right??

Our condo looks right out over Lake Placid and there is a small beach where the kids can swim, and a restaurant. It's pretty awesome. I'm glad we're not staying right downtown because it is HECTIC right now with nervous athletes. I'm happy to be somewhat removed from all of that. For now.

My plan for tomorrow is to be up at 4am, eat, get dressed, and head to the shuttle at 4:30 to get to the race site. From there I have to get body-marked, drop off my Special Needs bags, put all of my water bottles on my bike, and then go for a short warm-up swim. Then.....wait for the cannon to go off!

So, this is it. This time tomorrow I will hopefully be 1/2 way through a marathon. And I'm especially excited to know that my cheering squad all arrived safely yesterday: Patty, Bonnie, Cindy, Deb and Rachel -- I'll be looking for you!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Final Countdown

Just got this again from the Ironman people, and this time I think I can finally say, "Hell, yeah!!" The days are ticking down now. We're leaving for Lake Placid first thing in the morning and I'll hopefully be able to register and start working on my Special Needs bags. Thanks to my amazing friends who watched my children while I packed like a maniac and made an emergency trip to the bike store for a new tire, I was able to get everything organized in the last two days.

And thanks to my amazing Ironman friends, I've gotten some great advice on what I'll need for the course. When I register, I'll get 5 bags to fill: one for my dry clothes for after the race, T1 supplies (transition from swim to bike), T2 supplies (transition from bike to run), Special Needs bike (anything I might need at the 1/2 way point on the bike) and Special Needs run (anything I might need at the 1/2 way point on the run). I can put anything I want in these bags: food, dry socks, Body Glide, spare tubes, pics of my kids..... anything that will help me get through the course and also lift my spirits when I need it.

I'm having a hard time believing that by this time next week, it will all be over. I'm glad I registered for a trail marathon in the fall because I feel like there's going to be a big void in my life once this is done. Despite all the stress and exhaustion of training for an Ironman, I can honestly say it has been a truly great experience and I just hope it results in a successful race day!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tapering is not relaxing.

So here I am 2 weeks into my taper. I'm anxious. I'm irritable. I have virtually no appetite. I'm having trouble sleeping. I'm losing patience with my children.  I guess my body has become so accustomed to the workload that I'm going through a bit of a withdrawal. I have 10 days left and I just need to get to the starting line and finally DO this.

I've spent the better part of the last year preparing for this thing, and it's now 10 days away. I've learned a lot about myself and about triathlon training in general throughout this process. I would now like to share some of my newfound knowledge with you. Here are some of the key things I have learned:

1. Puking does not necessarily mean the workout is over.
2. I will never be hard-core enough to pee on my bike.
3. It takes a village to raise an Ironman. You will never get to the starting line without the support of family and friends.
4. Enjoy that tail-wind while it lasts. The ride back is going to suck.
5. There is no such thing as bad running weather, only bad clothing choices.
6. Triathlon swimming is a contact sport. Treat it as such.
7. Rest is the fourth discipline.
8. A compatible training partner is worth her weight in gold.
9. I always have one more interval left, even when I really, really think I don't.
10. I'm a lot tougher than I thought.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Training Camp

Deanne and I set off at the crack of dawn Friday morning for our training camp weekend in Lake Placid. The plan was to run one 13.1 mile loop of the course that afternoon, do the entire bike course plus a 6-mile run Saturday morning, and then do one 1.2 mile loop of the swim course Sunday morning before we left.

The training camp is run by Deanne's coach Jeff from Breakthrough Performance. There were about 20 of us all together, and Deanne and I shared a condo with the only 2 other women at the camp. It was a beautiful place and I got my own room in a queen-sized bed! That in itself was worth all of the anxiety this weekend caused, but I digress....

On the Lake Placid run course.
Once we got there, we had time to eat lunch, check in at the condo, stake our claim on sleeping arrangements, and then we set out to see where each of us will be staying during race week. Once we got back, we got ready for our run, which didn't end up starting till almost 4pm. I really liked the run course. The best part is that it's an out and back that will go by one section of the lake 4 times, so it's a great route for spectators. There is one nasty hill that I managed to run up during this one loop, but I can imagine there will be quite a bit of walking on race-day.

After we got back, we quickly showered and headed over to Coach Jeff's condo for a catered dinner with the rest of the campers and a seminar on the race course. By the time it was over, it was 10pm and I was TOAST. I had some trouble getting to sleep that night thinking about the monster day we were going to have, but once I was asleep, I slept like a rock. It's amazing how well you can sleep without 2 small feet in your face or someone peeing in your bed.

The alarm went off at 5am the next morning and we quickly ate, got all of our water bottles, Gu's, tubes and all of the other gazillion things we needed for the bike ride. I was so nervous I could barely get down my bagel. It seemed like forever before we finally set off, and almost immediately we were greeted with a gigantic uphill. I wasn't bothered by going up so much as I was fretting about the descent to Keene, which has kept me up at night for months. Coach Jeff had said in his seminar the night before that it was totally doable to descend that hill in aero-position without ever hitting the brakes. Ha! I'm surprised my brakes didn't melt before I got to the bottom of that thing. It was one scary-ass hill. I did what Marty at Fitwerx told me to do and feathered the brakes, sat up nice and tall to make myself into a human parachute, and I still was going over 30 mph. But I did it. Once. Now I had to finish the loop and do it again.

There was a good stretch of the route after getting into Keene that was just super-fast and fun. I was going 20 mph without even trying and it felt great! But that feeling was short-lived once we took the turn onto rte 86 towards Wilmington. There we were greeted with an uphill that just seemed to go on for miles. I dropped my chain on this hill which wasn't such a big deal, just annoying. And from then on it was just hill after hill and it seemed like I was never going over 10 mph. At one point the clouds started rolling in and we got a little bit of rain, but it cleared up pretty quickly before I hit the last few hills: Baby Bear (piece of cake), Mama Bear (eh, could be worse), and Papa Bear (holy shit!!). And then the loop was done and I quickly stopped at the condo to use the bathroom and refill my bottles before heading back out.

Deanne was at the condo already and waited for me so we could start out together. She was having some gearing problems and she also dropped her chain on the hill heading out of town, but once she was back in the groove, she hit the turbo button and was gone. I was definitely the slowest biker of the bunch, but I was more concerned about survival than worrying about trying to keep up with anyone.

Once we got to the Keene descent again I realized one of my worst nightmares had come true. It had just rained and we would be descending on wet roads. I wouldn't let myself go over 20 mph and I was so terrified every time I hit the brakes thinking I might skid out and end up on the pavement. My hands were both cramping from the death-grip I had on my brakes. I was SO relieved once I made it to the bottom. But relief soon turned to dismay when I noticed the black clouds and heard the rumbles of thunder.

By the time I got back to that turn towards Wilmington, the skies had opened up, and I was slogging up that giant hill in a heavy downpour, wind and lightning. I was convinced the wind was going to blow me into the ditch on the side of the road. I couldn't see anything. I was freezing, and why in God's name did the rain HURT so much??? I found out afterwards that it was actually hail. Of course it was. The rain let up for just long enough to dry off a little before the next downpours started, and then a third thunderstorm hit. It was ridiculous. Between the wind and the rain, I was at one point pedaling downhill and only going 10 mph.

But I finished! It took me 7 1/2 hours, but I finished. And despite the misery of the last loop, I'm kind of glad it happened. Now I know I can do that bike route in any kind of weather. I just hope I don't have to do that again!

Deanne was back at the condo getting ready to run by the time I got back. I quickly dried off and changed so I could go with her. Now Deanne is one strong runner, and has more than enough endurance for the both of us, but she was having a bad running week. I think she was just tired after a killer training week, but she was having her doubts when we set off for this 6 mile run and I persuaded her to set out with me and just see how she felt.

The thing that's great about having Deanne for a training partner is that we've been doing this together for SO long and we're both fully aware of what the other is capable of. She's dragged me through workouts probably more than I've dragged her. But we both know that when the other says "You can DO this!", that we really mean it. I knew she could, and she did. Sometimes you just need that other person to drown out the little voice in your head.

Getting our wetsuits on takes longer than the actual swim.
So on to Sunday, which I thought would be such a nice, relaxing swim, until for whatever reason I totally panicked and hyperventilated for the first 10 minutes. No idea why. There were a bunch of us in the water at once, and even though it wasn't a race, it kind of felt like the start of a triathlon, and it just triggered something. I hate that feeling. Even though I know it's going to go away, at the time you get so caught up in it and start wondering if you'll even get through it, and then all of a sudden something clicks, you catch your breath, and you just SWIM. And then all is ok. But those first few minutes are a doozy. And I know it's not just me, but I'm hoping I can keep myself relaxed enough on race day to head off that panic before it starts. But otherwise the swim was great.

And so ends our adventure at training camp. It was definitely a confidence-builder, and I feel like I learned a lot about the course.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I had a post half-written, mainly kvetching about how tired I've been this week and worrying about a couple of missed workouts. As I was writing, that little voice inside my head (which seems to give me nothing but grief lately, BTW), chimed in and said, "But you GET to do this!" And that little voice is right. I get to do this. I am lucky. I am lucky to be able to worry about how I'm going to fit in that run before my kids' end-of-the year show. I'm lucky that I got to make the choice to take an extra rest day this week and make board-books with my kids instead. I'm lucky that I get to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other and kiss my kids and head out the door.

I've been thinking a lot this week about my friend Deanne and her family, who suffered a heartbreaking loss last week after a close family member passed away. He endured a long, tragic illness and left behind his wife and young son. 

While I had never met him, I saw firsthand how this has affected Deanne and it really put things in perspective. I am lucky. Stop whining and fretting about missing your Masters swim and just enjoy the ride. My problems are small and I'm blessed to have them. 

So while I mostly try and squash that voice inside my head, because she's usually such a bitch, this time I listened. I'm not going to write about how tired I am (even though I am). I'm just going to say how much fun I had having some extra family time this week. Enough said.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Are We There Yet???

One of my favorite quotes from my good friend Deanne's blog that sums up this weekend is: "Put on your big girl panties and shut the f*** up!" Because that was pretty much what I've had to do for the last 48 hours.

For Saturday, we both had a 5-hour bike ride scheduled, and my plan called for a 45 min. run afterwards. Problem is, the weather forecast said torrential rain for the next 5 days. Deanne and I decided to take a chance and head out at first light Sat. morning and try and beat the rain. It didn't work out so well. It was already very windy and sometimes hard to control our bikes, and after about an hour and a 1/2, we started feeling the first drops. We kept going further and further away thinking we'd be ok before the hard rain hit.

At one point before the rain started we stopped at the Ipswich Y and I tried to multi-task by eating my energy bar and using the bathroom at the same time. Unfortunately I got one bite before I dropped the thing on the bathroom floor and had to throw it away. I guess that was my punishment for being disgusting.

It wasn't long after that that the downpours started. We were riding in such heavy rain and wind it was hard to see the road. We were drenched and freezing, and the puddles in the road hid all of the potholes and made the ride even more treacherous. And to add insult to injury, to get back home, we had to cross the Beverly Bridge, which is fairly steep going up and down, and no fun at all on windy days. Because of the wind, rain and slick roads, we stopped before the start of the bridge and debated whether we should just take off our shoes and walk our bikes barefoot over the bridge rather than risk the ride. The thought of that was so depressing, that we decided to chance it. It was the most terrifying biking experience I've ever had. By the time we got to the top, the winds were threatening to blow us into traffic, we were both white-knuckled holding our handlebars, and we unclipped one foot to catch ourselves if we went down. I kept my brakes on and yelled "OHMYGOD!OHMYGOD!" the whole way down the hill.

But! We made it. And, because we are so badass, we both went to our respective houses, dried off, and got on our trainers for the remaining hour and a 1/2. I quickly put on my running clothes and opened the door to rain coming down in sheets. It was awful. I was completely soaked within 10 seconds and my shoes filled up with so much water that it felt like I had 5 lb. weights on each foot. I could barely see anything and that 45-minute run felt like two hours. But I did it.

I passed out in my daughter's bed at 8pm that night completely exhausted and woke up before my alarm at 3:30am (I had it set for 4am). I needed to do a 45-minute bike ride and then meet Deanne for a 2-hour run at 5:15, and THEN get picked up by my friend Cindy to go swim at 7:45.  I got up and tried to eat a 1/2 bagel with peanut butter right away, but my stomach unfortunately wasn't awake yet. After about 35 minutes on the bike my stomach started churning. I got off the bike, ran upstairs, and promptly threw up my bagel w/ peanut butter. End of bike ride! I had about 15 minutes to get myself together and go meet Deanne. As soon as I started running I could tell that it wasn't going to go well. My stomach was still off and I was SO tired. I told Deanne she was going to have to drag me through this run, and thankfully, she did!

We had a couple of walk breaks, but overall, I feel like we did pretty well considering I wanted to quit the entire time. And I was totally ready to bail on the swim, but we never see Cindy and I had been  looking forward to catching up. I figured if I really felt that bad I could just float on my back while they swam.  Though once we got there and got in the water (at which point it started raining..AGAIN...) I felt pretty good and we managed a decent swim across the pond which was a little over 1.2 miles.

I am so relieved that I made it through this weekend because it was definitely the most physically and mentally draining training weekend I've had so far. I know I wouldn't have done it had it not been for Deanne being with me on that run. I really don't think I could train for an Ironman on my own. Even when we just run together in complete silence, there's something about having a partner there suffering with you that makes it slightly easier to stick it out. And thankfully we never seem to have our worst days at the same time, so one of us can always pull the other along.