Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Facing the Numbers..and some serious fears...

I made a promise to myself when I started this blog a year ago that I would express my true feelings about my training and about my emotions as I entered this endurance event.  Right now, I won't lie: Im scared and worried.

For those that are reading this blog and can run a 10-12 hour Ironman, you will probably giggle at the numbers I set forth below but I hope you understand from where I came.  In May 2000, I ran my first Danskin triathlon at Walt Disney World.  That year, the race was less than a 1/4 mile swim, a 10 mile bike and a 2 mile run.  I finished the race (and not in dead last) in 2 hours and 20 minutes.  The first time someone timed my mile, I was walking and it took 21 minutes.  My fastest bike use to be in the 12 mile an hour range.  It is from this world that a unique Ironman athlete has emerged.  

I spend a bit of time at the computer with the triathlon calculator trying to figure out if I can really beat the 17 hour cut off.  I have told my friends who are going to be supporting me at Panama City that this isn't ONE Race...for me..its THREE RACES.  Each goal is such a huge step forward for me.

A year ago, I was at Ironman Florida supporting my business partner and dear friend, Rick Stafford.  We arrived early and we took advantage of the open water swims each morning.  The first two times, I was too scared to do the whole loop.  From the balcony of my condo, it looked like the course was halfway out to the shipping lanes (which it sorta IS) and it was overwhelming to me.  On Friday before the race, I got up the courage and got my swim skin on and did one lap.  It took me an hour an 10 minutes...that would BARELY make the cutoff time.  Fast forward 1 year and I now do that loop in around 55 minutes. I think Michael Phelps' gold medals are safe but if I can make it out of the swim in 2 hours, I will be very pleased.

Last year, I made my first attempt at completing the bike course.  I made it to mile 50 and began throwing up and couldn't stop.  My day was definitely done early.  This year,  I completed the full bike course in 7.5 hours.  Again...not setting any land/speed record but that would get me into transition under the cut off.  If I can get into transition in 8 hours, I will be very happy and another "race" completed.

Which leaves my weakest link: the marathon.  I have only run two marathons in my life.  One took me over 8 hours and the other took me 7 hours and 48 minutes.  With an 8 hour bike, this leaves just 7 hours to transition and complete the marathon.  This is where my fear lies.  My running is horrible but if I can give myself enough time to do an 8 hour marathon...I know I will be fine.  A 7 hour marathon I have not attempted...but its interesting what you can do when you are under the gun.  I have run ONE race in my life with negative splits.  It was Ironman Florida 70.3 where I almost missed the run cutoff for the last loop.  By running the negative split, I made it through the loop entrance with 45 seconds to spar and became one of the final official finishers.  If I can continue that mentality, I may run my 7 hour marathon.

As the big day approaches, nothing but math runs around in my head. As I did my 90 minute bike and 45 minute run this morning, I kept checking my GPS to make sure I was running faster than I needed to.  

The ticking of the clock is my enemy....I plan to beat the crap outta that enemy on November 1.


Missy said...

While the numbers scare me too, you're gonna make it, the day, the adreneline, the draft on the swim pulling you along, take advantage. AND a slow jog is faster than a walk any day of the week!

Irene Odell said...

Chill out. You'll be AMAZED at what you can accomplish on race day.