I finished my fourth Ironman. Each one has been an adventure – especially in training. Each one has introduced me to new friends, and amazing people. Each one has had a story. This one is no different, but it is SO different. In so many ways. And it was because of everyone I met and got to join with along the way.
I chose IMLOU because it just felt like my course. I had never ridden it, but from what I heard….it was one I would love. I was a little nervous about it being in October as you can get ideal or really cold. It’s a bit of a gamble, but I decided it was worth the gamble. I can suck it up and ride in the cold. I do it every winter.
I trained alone a lot. I often did laps at Silk Sheets. I had a routine down, and time just flew when I was on my bike. I loved it. I called it falling in to my workout. When I workout alone my mind is quiet, as in not going everywhere and constantly distracted. What exists is only what I am doing at that time. I love it. Training and cooking are really the only places for me that my mind goes quiet, so I look forward to these times.
I did a few training rides with friends. I really do enjoy training with others. It is, however, a different experience. I joined Mike Luebeck for a couple of rides. And it was so easy – we just met, got on our bikes, and rode. Loved it!
There is the weekend that I rode the IMLOU course. I had chosen a weekend in August when another group would be there. Carlos couldn’t join me, so I asked my friend Karen if she wanted and was able to join. She was able to join! Alex was also doing IMLOU as her first Ironman, and she and her mother Libby (whom I have ridden with several times) joined us.
And it was amazing. We rode the full course. Alex and Libby are just easy for me to ride with. And it was good as the other people there did show up but were not riding the full course, and we rode different paces. While Alex, Libby and I were out there, Karen was our
personal SAG. It was amazing. After riding we relaxed a little. The next day I had a 50 mile ride, and Alex a short run, so I was up and moving out the door before Alex and Libby were. Karen sagged me again for my ride and then she drove us home to Atlanta. Honestly, I love traveling with Karen. We talk. A lot. And I ALWAYS learn something.
That whole weekend was just amazing. We rode well, had fun, went to dinner, and just made very positive memories. I knew that these memories would take me far on race day when I went in to a low, which is inevitable in an Ironman. After that weekend I had confirmed – I loved the bike course.
And then there was training camp held weekend over Labor Day weekend. I met lots of terrific Dynamo Teammates (a few who were doing IMCHOO came down for a one-day session), but there was a group of us with later season Ironman races (Louisville, Kona, and
Florida) and we were there all three days. Six of us had the same training schedule over camp. And wow. I was training with some amazing women. They too did as Stacy did with me at Muncie 70.3 – lined up at the front knowing they belonged there.
Over the last few weeks to IMLOU I had the chance to train with the same ladies again and again including a 7 hour ride in the Gaps, a race simulation, and a couple of trainer rides due to poor weather. At the Gaps in the last two hours I started to fade. And they didn’t drop me. Erin stayed behind me as we went up over Woody’s…giving me a mental push as we chased Vallee and Carmen. When we went back up and over Woody, they circled around and met me back at the top after they finished. And at that point I realized what it means to really have teammates to train with. I understood why there can be tears in training – it’s not just you – it’s everyone there for each other. It’s different when it’s you they are coming back for. It was a powerful moment for me. I am used to training on my own, and when riding with people, continuing on my own if dropped (or if I drop others). And there are times that it will happen due to training needs. But not that ride. They stuck with me and got me through.
On that ride I also learned a swig or two of Coke can make me a new woman, and decided to have some in my back pocket (literally) – my portable Special Needs.
I learned a lot in training this year (about me, figured out some items about my nutrition plan and adjusted accordingly, and also about what it takes to reach a goal), and honestly didn’t want it to end. It always seems like you can work on more. But, that’s why you using up for the next race, right?
So with a sense of humor, many friends, many memories to keep me going, and a sense that “I can do this”, Carlos and I headed up to Louisville for my fourth Ironman.