Sunday, June 16, 2013

Planets aligning (Taper)

Finally, with my 667th post to Trepid Explorer, I feel able to write positively about Forestman again.

It's not that there's nothing good to say.  I just don't seem to have been able to find the positive words to post.  When I try, all that comes into my head is the negativity.  I've really enjoyed my training but it's not been compatible with the job, with being a nice person sometimes or with keeping a house running in a sensible way (we look like we've been burgled... permanently... more so than usual.)

I told Philipa yesterday that "I want to look forward to my race, not look forwards to my race being over so that I can have my life back".

Yesterday morning my swim made it through the 50 minute test with the confidence that on the day I will be able to squeeze my way through the last 10 - 20 minutes - if I even need that long.

Spurred-on by family and friends coming to watch and hang out, I am now really looking forwards to race day.

It was 10 years ago that I first found out about Ironman.  I couldn't avoid it, it came to my city when I was living in Canada.  For three years I was one of the 4 volunteers per athlete helping to make it one of the best staffed Ironman events in the global calendar.

There will be nothing like that level of support for the Forestman yet I have purposefully set out to chose a course which pleases me and my budget.

When I used to watch Ironman in Penticton, I would get out of bed at 5:30 am to drive to the start for 6am and watch the swimmers set off.  I'd then drive home and sleep for a couple of hours until I was due to start my shift at the bike course, catching bikes as athletes came in from the ride from 11am.  I'd be there until 5:30pm. With the winner having already finished, we'd stay until the bike shut-off time had closed.  We would watch in anguish as the last few competitors dropped to their knees in tears as they were told that they weren't able to continue.  We would then cheer ourselves up by screaming at the last few athletes setting out on the run after their "evening meal" transition.

It was an epic day even for volunteers and I never felt able to stay up to watch the last people come in.  Of course with Ironman Canada the cut off time for the run was midnight.  Meaning that many athletes remained out there, hauling themselves over the line in the refreshing darkness after a day of racing in 34 degrees heat.

I never thought I'd be one of those racers.  Hell, I couldn't even manage the volunteering bit without some drama.

Here I am, 8 years later - about to do one.

It's the taper week two and this morning I was greeted by an odd scene..
100% drink bottle availability.  A sign of low training load.

I set out for a taper run.  It was supposed to be 10 miles but instead I did 7 but threw in Win Hill for good measure.  I know what Jo Jebb sees in it so decided then and there to make the most of my shortened triathlon season to do an awesome job of preparing for the 2013 3 Peaks cyclo-cross.  This is on top of my aim of going to the Isle of Jura fellrace (though whether this is in 2014 or beyond, I can not tell).

Dark Peak graffiti or a farmer member?
I was just descending from the summit when I tripped over a rock.  As I hurtled towards the ground I remember positively thinking, "It's OK, I've got this" as my foot came through to catch my fall.  Unfortunately when it did, it landed on the banana skin I'd just dropped and instead my foot slid away and I crashed to the ground.  My left hand, knee and hip took the jolt with scrapes to my right hand and leg where everything collided together.  I took a second to do a body scan and make sure nothing was broken then, like a cat, sprung to my feet hoping no-one had seen me.

I washed out my wounds with Gatorade as it was all that I had with me.  I took a moment to calm my nerves then started running again.  I was, in actual fact about 9 miles high.  Pumped on adrenaline and endorphins rapidly flooding to the heels of my hands I felt alive!  I was a real runner now - I'd had my first runners' crash.  A thing of legends in the "one minute you're enjoying your run and the next you're lying on the floor".  And as far as the banana skin is concerned, you couldn't make it up.

I wondered if I should shorten my run in case any swelling caused my joints to misfire.  I continued along the ridge, not descending straight away but using the middle path instead of the end one, reducing the route by 1.5 miles only.
It was such a nice day, I didn't want to go home.

I told a couple of mountain bikers that I'd just had my first runners' crash.  Tha'll be alreet was the answer.

The descent was through the woods and along a pine-needled path.  I enjoyed every moment.  Far from shaking me up, my crash made me see that even if things go a little pear shaped next week, I will just dust myself off and get on with things.

Yesterday I found this extract from last year's day in the lakes report,

"Last year I found it very difficult to contemplate a half marathon after everything that goes before.  I still do but it is quite amazing that once you're in a rhythm, it feels like you've just set out.  The pain of the bike ride is gone from the legs and you can just get back to running."

I'm so glad I read back because combined with today's beautiful run I realise that the run at the end of my Ironman is there to be enjoyed, not endured.  It has given me a reason to get through the swim.  I want to make it to that running course.

I want to be an Ironman, more than I fear it.

Thank you Bill Cosby and Scott Jurek for the inspiration.

Training since November:
Swim - 94 km (58 miles) 29hours 55 mins
Bike - 1839.1 km (1149 miles) 157 hours, 24km vertical climb
Run - 350 km (218 miles) in 62h 15min, 8.8km vertical climb
or a total of 247 hours training.

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