THE PARTS OF THE PUZZLE ARE FINALLY COMING TOGETHER
I've never really liked doing jigsaw puzzles. Mostly because I was impatient--impatient to see it finished and frustrated that the only way to see it finished was to go piece by piece. I would stick with it for a while as a challenge more than anything else, but then I'd give up and walk away and leave it unfinished.
I'm realizing more and more that my feelings while training for this half IM are a lot like they are when trying to put together a puzzle--its a challenge but I have gotten frustrated and have come close to walking away and leaving it undone. I have been impatient with my progress, wanting to see progress faster than what has been happening.
Last week, I was particularly down, not seeing any way it was possible to do a 70.3 race. But today? I'm finally seeing the last puzzle pieces coming together, and now the final picture is becoming clearer.
I took Friday off from specific workouts, other than my pushups, which could be considered a workout by themselves (I'm up to 46!). I felt guilty about doing it, but it turned out for the best.
I had two plans for Saturday, and ended up going with plan B, and that too turned out for the best. Plan A was to get up and do a long run and then do a 20-25 mile bike ride that afternoon. Storms threatened, forcing me to quickly figure out a plan B. Plan B ended up being 20 miles on the bike trainer, while the rain pounded outside. By the time I was done with that, I got lucky in that it had stopped raining and was just humid and overcast.
After a long transition, like 10 minutes so I could change socks and shirt and get my water lined up for my run, I headed out to hopefully run 1.5 hours. I secretly hoped I could at least make it 1 hour. This was my chance to figure out some sort of pacing plan too, since its quite obvious I won't be running the entire 13.1 miles. I'm not sure what I will be able to manage on race day, but what worked for me Saturday was to run 8, walk 2. Surprisingly, my legs felt pretty good the whole way (can I take a 10 min. transition race day??). And another fortunate thing was the sun held out breaking through until my last two intervals. I made it the whole hour and a half and probably could have gone longer if I had to.
Sunday, plan A was to swim at Lake Michigan and then do a 50+ mile ride following that. But again, we had to switch to plan B when the waves were up to 4 feet and there were red flags posted, meaning no swimming. In fact, the Olympic distance race scheduled for that day down the beach was switched to a duathlon, so there really was no way getting around the high waves and riptides. Since we had no other place arranged to swim, we went for the ride first. That was a challenge by itself due to the high winds that day (20-25, gusting to 30). I had a hard time keeping my bike upright from the gusting crosswinds, so we headed back to the path, biking directly into the wind for about 15 miles. At times, I was down to 9 mph and didn't dare take my hands off the bars to get water. I kept waiting for Don to say let's turn back, but he pushed ahead (way ahead of me) and I just continued on the best I could. I was truly hoping the wind would be mostly behind us on the way back, and that's what kept me going to the turnaround. It was such a relief to be turned away from that wind and that blowing in my ears that sounded like constant traffic. We did hit some windy spots coming back as well, but nothing like going out, and of course it ended up having an effect on overall pace and time, which was to be expected. I was okay with that, knowing that conditions were going to determine the outcome, and while I felt I worked consistently, it wasn't as hard as last week, even with the wind.
Plan B also included a 50 minute swim after for me at the pool. I kept wanting to cut it short, but stuck to it until done.
I am feeling better about this race for the first time. I wasn't as exhausted this week as last (not much at all in fact). I still have some pieces to fit into the completed "puzzle," but hope I can figure those out in the next 3 weeks.