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!