The Windy City?

I don’t have much to report on other than the fact that I’ve been swimming, biking and running…a lot.  It’s been a wonderful few weeks of training and my 2013 mantra is really paying off given the weather has been somewhat challenging the last few weeks.  I’ve put on my big girl pants and just accepted it…its February – its cold, it can be windy, and it can rain, period.  I signed up for an Ironman in March knowing this!  🙂

Here are a few lovely examples.  A few weeks ago, it was pouring, windy and cold on the day of my ~90 mile ride so I was forced to ride the computrainer – and yes, I rode every bit of 4 hours and 30 minutes.  I understand you should cut down ride time to account for being indoors, but I didn’t.  The time was, however, broken up nicely between a metabolic test to start which lasted about an hour, an hour with a computrainer class that came after my test, some time by myself, and the last 2 hours with 2 wonderful friends who agreed to ride with me.  So overall, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been had I hopped on and just peddled away for endless hours alone!  The best thing about the computrainer is that you can hit your intervals without outside factors (i.e. traffic lights, cars, turns, etc).  So that was that…rainy day ride averted.

There was some beautiful weather in between and then this week came.  As all of those who live here know, it’s been COLD!  It has also been slightly windier than usual or maybe I’m the only one who thinks that.  The long run we did on Friday and the long ride today were certainly spiced up a notch by the wind.  I’ve been proud of myself for never letting it really “get” to me, as I have in the past, though its has definitely been tempting at times to curse Mother Nature and quit.

Here’s a good one.  Miles 16-17 of our run on Friday were straight down the Greenway towards 7th Street – dead into the wind.  We turned left onto 7th and headed up the hill to Tryon, which also included a nice bit of headwind to boot.  A very challenging mile.  We were all very excited to hang the left onto Tryon so we could have a tailwind and a slight downhill all the way back for miles 19 and 20!!  Not so much!  Two left turns and headwind in all directions?  HOW this is possible hurts my brain so I quit trying to understand.

Today’s 100 mile ride started out quite lovely.  I did a few laps on the Booty Loop starting around 8:45 by myself before meeting up with some friends to ride the Spencer/Cramer loop.  There was a breeze, but certainly nothing to talk about.  Just as the weather forecast predicted, it definitely got windier as the day progressed.  About 75 miles into the ride, Jim and I crossed over a bridge after passing the botanical gardens and I had instant flashbacks of riding in New Zealand with Sandy before Worlds.  Death gripped and white knuckled on our handlebars, it was all we could do to get over the bridge where it was “less windy”.  The kind of gusts that whip from all directions and toss your bike in whichever direction they chose.  Scary!  I was glad to hear that Jim, who outweighs me by at least 40 lbs, was also tossed around and scared!  🙂

Despite the wind, all workouts are going as planned and I’m continuing to hit paces/watts/intervals that I’ve never thought I could.  Yes, even in the pool.

Speaking of the pool, I’m at the point (6 weeks out) where I feel like my swim is what it’s going to be for this race.  I could spend countless hours over the next few weeks trying to improve my swim slightly, which may net me 1, 2 maybe 3 (?) minutes in the race.  And during those countless hours of swimming, I would be border-line suicidal.  😉

OR

I can continue a balanced training plan and really work to strengthen my run off the bike, which could ultimately net me 5, 10, 11, 12, 15 (?) minutes on the day if all goes as planned.  Even on my best possible day, I’m not going to “win” the race in the water.  But my best day of riding and running after a modest swim could certainly make me competitive in the field.  At this point, I’m choosing option B and I’m happy to have a coach who agrees with my philosophy.  There will be a time and place in my training to focus on my swim for sure – but right now is not it.

I’ve said it a million times in the past few weeks, but I’m so very thankful for the support system and network of training friends that I have.  It has made training for an Ironman in the middle of winter, oddly enough, really enjoyable.  There have been absolutely zero instances where I’ve questioned my decision and I can attribute that 100% to having friends for every single long workout I’ve done to date.  That’s pretty awesome, if you ask me!  So thank you – you know who you are.  🙂

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