48 days until KONA! And probably 48 days since my last post. Life is busy...no matter who you are, it just is. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in Europe where they seem to take vacations and rest VERY seriously!
First...an update....eating makes everything easier :) In my last post, I talked about being fatigued a lot and not having the power I expect on the bike. A little over a month later, I'm happy to report that my cycling legs are coming back. Most of it has to do with more dedication to making sure I eat enough...the other factor has been some great bike training as of late.
A couple weeks ago, I competed in the Rev3 Half Iron distance in the Wisconsin Dells. If you have ridden the Madison Ironman loop...I'll give that a 7 out of 10 on a difficulty scale for the Midwest. The Dells course would easily get a 9.5 in my book. 2 1mi climbs and 1 2mi climb....they were sick. The race was very challenging...but fair. I thought the climbs were spread in such a way that your legs had a little bit of reprieve from the previous. Then the run....equally challenging. Many big hills and they seemed to just come one after another!
Overall, I was very pleased with my effort in the race. The bike was MUCH better than Racine. I absolutely smoked my run, so that was great! My math might be slightly off...but I took 7th in my age group, 20th overall....17 out the top 20 spots came from my AG and the 25-29. There was a ton of fast guys that showed up. It just goes to show, you have to race the people that show up on the day...not where you "think" your time will land you. I highly recommend this race if you are looking for a new challenge next year. But bring your climbing legs :)
The following weekend I headed up for the Madison Open Water Swim Challenge. I did this last year and thought it was a great event. For anyone doing the Madison IM, it is great to get a feel for the water. Lake Monona is MUCH choppier than it looks from shore. It's nice to get acclimated for that. Also...the swim is a little long. Last year, I swam a 1:06:xx....I was totally devastated because I was shooting to go under an hour at the Ironman. What I learned...this course for MOWS is a little long...and...only 500 people, so the draft isn't as significant as in the Ironman. On IM day, I swam 59:xx....so I was right on! For anyone that just swam this race, keep in mind you will be 5-8min faster on race day. So don't freak out like I did! I'm happy to say I swam about a minute faster this year...with NO wetsuit! I'm training as long as I can without one for Kona. This is a big confidence boost that my swim is dialed in and I'm ready for Kailua Bay (after I swim in it a few times the week before of course).
Then I headed out on to the Madison course to do a couple loops. Strangely, this was the first time I've biked my pace up there this year. I headed up with my mom in May (she is doing Madison as you know) and helped her around the loop. The first one felt effortless and was one of my fastest times ever. The 2nd one...that hurt. But I stayed strong and negative split the 2 loops. Then, I ate a butt ton of food the rest of the day! Tip from Me: EAT, EAT, EAT!
All in all...I feel like I'm starting to really achieve some great fitness right now. It has been mentally challenging this year having a race a month later than normal. A new challenge is the fact that most of my training friends are either done for the year, racing this weekend, or tapering for IM Wisconsin. I JUST did my first 100mi ride of the year today! So this is a new challenge...the energy from friends is winding down and soon, will be in off season mode. I'm still ramping up.
But you know what, it's kinda cool. It's a new challenge as I move into my 5th Ironman race. It isn't the same old routine. I've decided that I'm not going to do an Ironman next year. This is my 4th year in a row and I need a break from this type of training. So I'm trying really hard to soak in these last few big weeks. It's going to be a while before I have them again and I know I will miss it at some point. So if you see me on the road, and I'm smiling at mile 95 of a 120mi ride....it's not because I feel good. Its because I'm embracing the passion I have for this sport and Ironman training in particular.
In my next post...I'm going to shift gears and tell you about a great friend of mine and the huge accomplishment he just experienced at Steelhead last week.
Best of luck to Ron and Stan this weekend racing Ironman Louisville! You guys will do great!
Enjoy the taper all you IM Wisco competitors...you earned it!
Until next time....
Dedication, Passion, Results