Sunday, September 14, 2014

Proposal recap and training like it's my (part-time) job

Turns out I haven't blogged in quite some time. With school (and grad school) in full swing, training in highest volume (18-21 hours per week), and my Life Time runners' 1/2 marathon training going on, all the fun extra stuff had to go away for a bit. But I'm back! Not because I'm less busy, but because I miss blogging and have been surprised at how many people actually read this thing :)

HyVee Recap
I didn't write up a race recap on HyVee (August 31st) because there really wasn't much to say. Long story short, the Olympic distance triathlon was turned into a sprint and both Ryan and I knew it was going to be a rough day. Case in point: Ironman World Champion on the women's (pro) side, Mirinda Carfrae, finished 12th in the competitive field, but she is training for Kona, so likely knew this wouldn't be her race to win. Ryan and I were fortunate enough to see her come flying by on the bike and again make the realization that this "sprint" just wouldn't be in our favor.

Oh, did I mention the sprint was a 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run? While yes, that is exactly half the distance of the Olympic race, it isn't totally fair as that is a HUGE advantage for the swimmers. So, Ryan and I knew to adjust our goals accordingly and just go as hard as we could. I swam just a touch faster than at Steelhead 70.3 in terms of pace, had a pretty good bike with only two girls passing me (one of which I later re-passed), and had the fastest run split in 18:20 (always the goal). The run was out and back and I didn't see any other girls in my age group ahead of me, but somehow ended up taking 2nd for the 5150 Age Group Championships F25-29. When Ryan had told me it was changed to a sprint, I considered not even going...but HyVee puts on a great race/weekend and has pretty nice prizes, plus it was the only way I'd get to see Ryan over the weekend so I'm glad I ended up going.

Was cooling down/getting in more training (since the race was only about an hour long!) during awards...oops.

IMWI Proposal:
The weekend after HyVee was the weekend Ryan and I had been looking forward to for quite some time: September 7th was not only Ironman Wisconsin, but also the day Ryan's best friend John would be proposing to his girlfriend Brittany. Originally, John planned to be the LAST finisher to cross the line around 16:59 and propose then since Brittany was volunteering as a "catcher" at the finish line, but altered his plans for a few reasons (more info on proposal below).

I drove up with Brittany on Friday and we talked the entire 3 hours (thanks, construction in Madison during Ironman weekend). Good thing I'm a good secret keeper! We finally arrived and ate some Taco Bell for dinner before heading to bed.

Ryan and I woke up at 5:30am to get our 100 (him) and 115 (me) mile bike rides in. 2 1/2 loops on the Madison course didn't sound super appealing since the last few times I've ridden the course were not so great in terms of power/nutrition/overall feel. Plus, post-run I was supposed to then run for 75minutes with 20 at tempo pace. But, I figured this was the last long ride I'd get in before Kona (I was wrong, more on this later) so pushed myself pretty hard.

I felt AWESOME after the bike and run. I have wanted to compete in Ironman Wisconsin but didn't want to sign up for it until I felt GOOD after riding the course. When I compete in Ironman Wisconsin, I want to be the first female across the line (IMWI is no longer a pro race). While this is definitely a huge goal, I know that if I am prepared and confident on the bike course, it is an achievable one. I've always been very honest in my blog, and am comfortable putting this lofty goal out there.

After the 18-miler on Sunday post-Saturday long ride/run.

[Side note: one of my students somehow found out that I won a marathon and has been asking me about it all week. His most recent question was, "Did you plan on winning?" and I answered him yes, because I had done all the training to put me in the position to win and also because I was confident in myself/my training. It is AMAZING what you can do when you believe in yourself!]

After I finished my workout, I hung out with Brittany and John until we could meet Ryan (working the expo) for dinner. Brittany's parents came up and met us as well. Little did she know they were there to witness THE BIG MOMENT the next day. Ryan and I were lucky that we went to the same restaurant (The Great Dane) as one of Ryan's athletes.

Little did she know she would be ENGAGED in just a few short hours!

Ryan bought me some yummy apple cider donuts from the Farmer's Market for a "good job on your hard bike/run Saturday workout" treat :)

My friend Megan called me last July asking if I thought she could complete an Ironman. She wanted to sign up for it on her birthday, but she wanted to have real training so that she could finish in the allotted 17 hours. I knew she could do it, but also knew I couldn't coach her (I'm not confident in my tri coaching quite yet compared to running coaching), so suggested Ryan. Ryan and I have been considering starting to coach athletes for running/triathlon, so this would be a great opportunity for him. Spoiler alert: Megan finished in sub-15! Beyond proud of this girl (and her coach!).

Ryan running with Megan, encouraging her to push the run!
You can do it, Megan!!
"Megan Hode, YOU. ARE. AN. IRONMAN!!!!"

***BEYOND proud of Ryan's coaching.**

 The drum crew
video
Drummin'
Reason number a million why we love pro triathlete Blake Becker (yep, he's totally playing Ryan's drum as he bikes up the killer hill)

Back to John's proposal. He and Ryan claimed our spot on the Helix (the parking garage thing that you have to run up to get to your bike at IMWI after swimming 2.4 miles). We all stood there and after John came out of the water, he changed into a tux (with the help of Ryan, who had his tux in a bag) and walked up the helix to propose to Brittany. Just by chance, we were RIGHT next to the news crew...and John's proposal made the Madison news!
Playing the drums/holding down the fort.
After proposing post-swim, John proceeded to bike in his tux. 
 He only took the jacket off per Brittany's request..."I mean, I don't want you to get overheated since I kind of want to marry you..."
Fiances!
Oh. And Brittany said yes.

Training like it's my (part-time) job
After last weekend's Saturday 115-mile bike + 1:15 run/Sunday 18-mile run workout, I kind of just thought I'd be dropping in mileage for biking/running. I was WAY off.

This past weekend (Sept 13/14), I had a Saturday 100-120-mile bike/0:40 run followed by a Sunday 20-mile run workout. I've always been very real and honest in this blog, so won't pretend that I was not intimidated going into this workout. I planned to ride the full 120 on Saturday since it'd be my furthest distance yet, but the sun had other plans. Long story short, with a broken bike pump causing my bike ride to start at 1pm, Ryan had to come pick me up at mile 106 since it was pretty dark out and the last thing either of us wanted was for me to get hit by a car. This later-day ride meant very little time to recover before the 20-miler. Surprisingly, the run went incredibly well. The plan was 6miles/8miles @ 6:30-40/6miles, and the middle miles just FLEW by (and I might have run a few too fast). It is definitely encouraging to see that my body can bounce back like that...although the 8.5hours of sleep might have been a HUGE help with that since my body is used to only having 6-7 hours (I know, I'm working on going to bed earlier!!!).

 Never plan a 6-hour bike ride that starts at 1pm...unless it is in the summer when the sun doesn't set at 7pm. Oops.
Ryan post-20miler.

Next weekend is my last big training weekend. 120-mile bike made up of THREE Madison loops on Saturday plus a run off the bike, followed by a 20+ mile run workout on Sunday. I am pretty sure if I don't kick butt in Kona, it's all mental since Coach Jen has done/is doing an incredible job of getting me physically prepared for the best Ironman of my life.

Four weeks from today, I hope to be sitting on the beach, writing an awesome race recap on Kona 2014. Thanks for all of the support and encouragement as I near the BIG DAY. I wouldn't be able to get through this crazy/intense/awesome training without all of the positivity from my friends and family.