It’s been a long road to this point. It’s been a lot different than originally thought. So many emotions both high and low go into something that you train seven months for. Saturday was the culmination of training and brought everything full circle.
Thank heavens it wasn’t fucking HOT on Saturday, it was much cooler than during the week. It started off with our new puppy Stella deciding six was too late to sleep in the camper and she wanted up dammit. I drank my two meal replacement shakes and some water and got prepared to head to the beach. This was going to be a family affair, the only way we know how.
We got to the beach and Stella met some dog friends and was running around swimming. I was pleasantly surprised by the clearness of the water. I was also surprised by the temperature of the water. It was very humid out already, despite reports of it being forecasted as a cool day. We wandered off into the swim, Lex and I were a team today… NO MATTER WHAT.
The swim hasn’t been a concern of mine but with the recent drownings in the area, Lisa and Debbie watched from the shore and I kept checking to verify where Lex was. Unfortunately, we ended about quarter mile from each other at one point and just had to trust the training had her prepared. It did. I finished in about thirty six minutes (I’m not really sure because I naturally overshot my target). Lex finished in fifty or so.
We lightly conversed and started getting shoes and all on for the bike. Liberally applying sunscreen (did I mention it wasn’t very hot?) and drinking our hydration drinks from CR Juices. Lex had a little hiccup with the handlebars, we ended up needing to take a wheel off and deflate it to fix everything. This meant transporting back to the camper to pump her tire back up. After the brief detour, we set off on a nice and easy (not to mention cool) fifty six mile bike.
The scenery was beautiful, the traffic was plentiful and the first half of the loop wasn’t bad. Then we hit wind plus elevation. Imagine climbing a quarter to half mile hill with about thirty mile an hour winds in your face and dumbass cars trying to show you who deserved the road. That was the next thirty minutes. The plan was to just go right into the second loop, I called and audible and took us back through the park to ease the tension for a bit. Then we would do the loop again in reverse and have ten miles to make up at the very end.
The second loop, no talking, no real enjoyment. Miles thirty to forty six was just silence and legs churning… harder than they should’ve been this early in the event. We ended up timing things almost perfectly as after the ten mile stretch of just weaving in and out of any side road we could fine, we headed back to the campsite, having just drank our last sip of water. In typical fashion, we overshot the bike too. We were at three hours and forty minutes for the bike. For those with math skills, you know for an eight and a half hour time cap, we would have about four hours to complete the half marathon run then (yes we had transitions, they will be different at the event).
We slid on our running shoes, drank some water and I had a meal replacement shake. Put more sun screen on (seems excessive for how cool it was Saturday *picking up my sarcasm yet?) then loaded up two water bottles, one for the freezer and one for the run. We would do three and a half mile loops so we were never without water and we had four hours. The only rule, don’t stop the fucking watch when you go inside… that would be cheating ourselves.
The plan was four minutes run, one minute walk right off the bat. It was pretty obvious at mile one how much trouble I was in. I don’t know what was going on in Lex’s head at this point because I was in my own hell. I’m a fairly positive person, yet I like to think negatively just to make myself laugh at times. At one point on the run, I told Lex well thank God I’m to fucking stubborn to quit because I’m fucking done. Then we walked into the camper at mile seven to exchange water bottles.
I FUCKING SAT DOWN to pet Stella. It was over. Fuck it, I quit. I don’t have to do this. I don’t need this today. Then a text, from Jason Dunfee (who had to withdraw because of a shoulder injury) that simply read… keep going. I stood up and it was go time.
Then we saw (I could be mixing up the order of these because well that big orange thing that wasn’t supposed to be out… was out the entire day and it was according to my weather app unsafe for sensitive individuals with a heat index of one hundred and four but I digress) Christina hanging out of the truck yelling at us to keep going. The wind picked up and I remembered Joe P and the Pemberton family who would be up at the campsite later to chill. I remembered Cassandra and Corey were coming up to hang out. I remembered every single text or word of encouragement from every person that has ever been sent to me. We kept moving.
I made fun of my ego for thinking a three hour half marathon was easy in any conditions. I made fun of the thought that walking was quitting. I talked about singing the same fucking song (Something’s Gotta Give by All Time Low) for the last three hours straight inside my head because well something had to give. It just wasn’t what I thought. It was my ego. It had to let go of expectations and just move.
We were down to two miles left and we decided we could run a minute and walk a minute. We did that until we realized my wandering around the camper looking for water left me a few hundredths ahead of Lex. So we made a game plan to end at the water. Which I couldn’t tell Debbie or anyone anymore because my sweat covered phone locked itself out because of a high temperature issue. We finished at the beach and casually strolled to the water and fell in.
Here’s the thing. When you work so hard for something and accomplish it in training, there is zero fucking doubt come race day. No matter what happens next, I’m a fucking Ironman and Lex is an Ironwoman. It’s that simple.
Two seconds after finishing, my kids decided to spray me with water guns and wanted to play. This is why I train so hard, I got the hell up and started playing with them. You know why? Because training smart beats training hard every day of the week. Thanks for reading my “book” of a blog this week.
As always, I can’t doesn’t exist.