Today was the first day that I thought…I might just have what it takes to complete this insane physical challenge. It was not because I ran at a record pace or because I felt like I could go on forever. It was because of everything that went wrong. Throughout it all, I persevered. I never wavered or got frustrated, I just soldiered on.
My day began in Fairfield, Connecticut. We had stayed at a friend’s house on Thursday night so we could get Eli to the camp bus in Westport. Since I was not at home, I knew that my Friday training session (40-minute bike followed by a 2-hour run!) would have to wait until the afternoon. I was already a bit anxious about the timing and the heat. But…as I know, the timing for the bike will be about 9:00 am and the run will be many, many hours later, probably close to 4:30 pm. The more practice I get doing these activities later the day, the better. Intellectually, I knew that…I still wasn’t looking forward to it.
I started the 40-minute ride close to 12:00 p.m. I fueled and hydrated on the bike to prepare for the run. As I left for the run, I saw Sofie and Leland driving back from some errands. I was 4 minutes into the run. They stopped to wave and cheer me on. I started bawling. This was not what they expected to see. I told Leland that I didn’t want to do this run. I didn’t think I could do this run. I was sooooo tired. I couldn’t imagine running for 2 hours at 1:00 in the afternoon! He was at a loss, but told me to just go…it would be better than helping Sofie clean out of her room before leaving for camp. He was right. 😉 I think this incident qualifies as my second official meltdown.
As they drove away, I just started moving. I told myself that I could just go slow. I could put one foot in front of the other and however long or far I went, it didn’t matter. It was miles under my belt, training in the bank (if that even makes sense). The workout called for a 30 minute warm-up and then 2 miles at a 9:50-10:00 min per mile, 2 miles at 9:40-9:50 min per mile, 2 miles at 9:30-9:40 min per mile, and a final 2 miles at 9:20-9:30 min per mile. This is a bit slower for me, but after riding 112 miles on the bike, I’ll be thrilled if I run a 10:00 minute per mile pace for 26 miles! So, this particular workout was practice. As I progressed, I was doing great. I was hitting my marks. I couldn’t believe it. Considering how I started out, I was beyond thrilled.
Here comes the “WORST” part.
All of a sudden I had some uncomfortable intestinal distress (is there any other kind?). I had to run into the woods and “take care of business.” I did this three times. After the final time, I thought I’d just walk for a bit and see how I felt. I wasn’t that far from home and I had done most of the workout. I was surprised at how calm I was. I didn’t get upset about not executing the workout perfectly. I thought to myself, “This could happen in the race. Let’s see how I do.”
At first, I thought I’d just walk all the way home. But after only a few minutes, I tried to run again. I felt fine. I couldn’t believe it! I ended up doing the final 2 miles of the main set right on target, between 9:20-9:25 minute per mile pace!
As I was running, I drafted this post in my head. It truly was the WORST of runs and the BEST of runs. I started with a meltdown followed by some stomach issues but ended up learning so much more. I learned that I can face this adversity and finish strong.
If I had any doubts about being able to complete this Ironman on August 17th, they were wiped away from this 2-hour run. Now I just need to keep this feeling going for 7 more weeks!