Wednesday morning brought possibilities as I awoke without an alarm at 6am. It was just becoming light over the beach here in Panama City....what a beautiful morning.
As much as I wanted to do the long bike today, the need to stay close to the condo because of my father in law's condition requires a change in the workout schedule. Instead of the ride, Ill do one lap of the run course. This is actually good because I haven't done this course since the Gulf Coast Triathlon in May of this year.
I got suited up, a 5 bottle fuel belt filled, gels tucked away and off I went. As I left the condo, I went down to where I know the exit of transition for the run will be. I hit my watch and my gps and was on my way. The weather felt cool and overcast...a perfect day for running.
I wanted to run the exact course of the Ironman but there are alot of twists and turns to this course. I didn't want to carry a map because i would be fumbling with it in and out of my pocket. The only thing I could think of was to write the route on the palm of my hand. I listed all the streets and if it were a left or right turn. I swear, it looked like I was going to be cheating on an Algebra exam.
Mile 1 to 6 felt wonderful. The cool air, the lack of full sun was a welcomed change from the heat and humidity that has gripped Orlando for several months. It has been so warm that I have been running at 500am in the dark. Running in the dark is good practice for what is to come.
As I approached the State Park where the course does a loop and a turnaround, I paid at the gate ($2.00 for those walking in), the sun came out in full force. It was as if someone turn off my energy reserves. I swear I wilt in the sun when I run. I pushed a little harder...but by the time I reached mile 8, I was down to a walk.
Hector had told me that if I ran into difficult, to call him and we would talk. I pulled my phone from my fuel belt and dialed. I figured I would get his voicemail, but within seconds he picked up the phone.
"Where are you and are you ok??" He asked. No hello. I could hear the concern in his voice.
I explained my dilema. How do I deal with this?? Is this really physical or is it just my mind not wanting to continue? He told me to move my a$$. I told him I needed a little more advice than that.
And then..he gave me some great advice. "Melissa..you are creating your future right now. The work you do today is your reality 30 days from now. The work you put in today will show in 4 weeks and eventually in 9 weeks on race day. So how do you see yourself on that day...walking...running...finishing??? You decide. Its up to you!!"
I agreed...and through some tears, I picked it up. From mile 8 to 11, I was refocused and recharged. Its amazing how the brain plays with your physical abilities. Your mental ability is as important in an endurance event as your physical ability. Its getting over these barriers that will make all the difference.
I stopped at a convenience store at mile 11 to grab one more bottle of gatorade. I was going through fluids like crazy. The man behind the counter was so amusing. He asked me if I was training for that "really long race thing they do here in the winter time". I said "If you mean the Ironman...then yes I am.". He then informed me that he thought that the people that ran Ironman were all aliens because there is NO WAY ANY HUMAN could possibly do all that in one day. "Don't get me wrong " he said, "Ill be out there with my six pack of beer toasting all of you as you make your way through the dark...but ya'll are nuts and definitely not human."
I guess Im looking forward to becoming part of the Alien Community.....
I complete the 13.1 miles...and Im embarassed to tell you how long it took. Lets just say...it would get me to the finish line with about 5 minutes to spare...
Faster...faster...faster....I need to get faster....