Today, to distract me from gathering business tax paperwork for a while, I was looking through the participants list for Ironman Canada. How time flies! A year ago I was looking through the list for my name and number. Looking for my friends that were in it.
I was calmly anxious, wondering how I'd do. Wondering what the weather would be like. Wondering if I'd overlooked something. Wondering if I'd do something stupid to myself that would ruin my race day. Plus, the biggest wonder of them all, am I going to get it done?
It had been a long road from fat to mostly fit. I'd been lucky in that my employers during the preceding months were very flexible about my time, but it was still tough to fit in all the workouts. I was right up against my physical limits and battling fatigue. In the end I didn't get some of the longest training runs done, so I was going into the race never having run any further than a half marathon. You could say I was spooked by that.
There are at least 18 people listed that I know to some degree or another. I hope I didn't miss anyone. One of them is my first blog buddy. Some are people I've met through spin class. Several are people I've met through the swim camps I took with Sara Gross and her crew. I've worked with one, though I don't know he would remember me. Others I've met because they are buddies with people I know. I met one at the pool I swim at; she's won gold for Canada competing internationally.
One of them I've never met, though I was standing next to her briefly at the athlete's dinner. I am more impressed by her than I am by any other Ironman athlete. I watched her finish about 10 minutes before the cut off time in 2009, with the crowd going absolutely bananas for her. They made lots of noise for everybody, but this was much louder. Why am I so impressed? She was 79 in 2009. She is 81 and starting another Ironman, after doing about 40 of them. Just Google Sister Madonna Buder and be prepared to be impressed.
It doesn't matter if it's your first Ironman, or one of many. It's still one heck of a big day, one you've been working towards for at least a year and maybe longer. All that training to come down to one day. Hoping to avoid a personal or mechanical failure. Hoping for good weather. Hoping to bring it all together to achieve your goals.
My friends can be assured that I'll be sending all my best thoughts for them throughout the day. I hope their day meets or exceeds all their expectations. I've got things planned for the middle part of the day, but I'll be watching the swim start, and will hope to catch everybody finishing. Because you're all going to, right? I said, RIGHT?
Yesterday and Thursday I didn't go to the pool like I'd sort of planned to. For someone that loves to swim, I sure haven't been spending much time there. Part of it is that with my schedule right now it's a bit of a rush, and if there's anything I hate, it's rushing during a swim.
But I did get out and run on Friday. I was thinking about what I learned on Wed with Katie. I wanted to get out and do a fun run, but one that pushed me a bit harder than what I typically allow myself to do. I ran easy for 20 minutes, and it took 15 of them to find the groove. Then I started running a bit faster for a few minutes, then recovered. Again, just a bit faster again. I want to be really clear about this, though. I wasn't trying to RUN FASTER. I was trying to maintain my form, my cadence, then lean forward a little and stretch out my stride, and relax.
I was trying to find the faster groove, not force myself to run faster. I completely believe that there are run paces that our bodies are happy at, where our anatomical limitations, our cardio system, and our musculature all come together. Just a bit faster or slower might take significantly more effort. I know there are some paces I don't like to run at, but if I push through them, I can run faster with less effort. I'm trying to find these sweet spots, and develop the ability to maintain them.
In the end I ran an hour. One of the faster bits drove my heart rate up to 155 bpm, and I was gasping. This leads me to believe my run the other day with Katie where I saw 169 has to be a false number. Maybe the monitor is getting wonky in it's old age.
However, my legs are happy with me. I walked and stretched afterward, to say nothing of ambitiously re-hydrating. The roller felt really good.
If I get the front shifter cables re-tensioned properly, I'll go for a ride tomorrow. Otherwise I'll go for a long easy run. I saw a bunch of people out early to beat the heat today, that will be me tomorrow. Anyone want to join me for a run around the reservoir?
Now, back to tax paperwork. Sigh.