Amazingly, I have been training for this race for an entire year. In June 2013, I started swimming, in October, I started a half Ironman plan just so I would be ready for the training for the full, and I started the actual full Ironman training in February. I thought that there would never be enough time for me to be able to prepare for a race of this distance, but I can honestly say that I am counting the days until I can sleep in past 5am. I have worked hard, and I am ready to relax a little after this is all done. In the meantime, I need to survive the next four weeks of training.
As I thought over the last few months, I began to think of how very grateful I am to the team I have behind me. I cannot count the number of people who help keep me motivated and supported both in large and small ways--take this last week for example. Last Sunday I had to run later than I like to--I was stuck in San Diego until noon, so I couldn't even start my 2+ hour run until almost 2pm. I needed someone to watch Eoin, and my friends Erin and Bob were right there to help me even though I asked them at the very last minute. In addition, my friend Karrie met me on her bike at about an hour into the run. She didn't know this at the time, but I had run out of water, and I didn't have any nutrition because I had accidentally left it in the car. I was a hot, sweaty mess, and then she rode up with a backpack full of suncreen, water, gatorade, and a healthy nut and fruit bar to make the second half of my run possible. She also rode the last hour and a half with me even after she had done a complete morning of her own Ironman training.
On Tuesday, I was exhausted and I did not feel like running, but knowing that my morning running team would be at my door by 5:45am, I could not roll back into bed no matter how much I wanted to do just that. I can always count on at least one, and usually 4-5, of my friends to be there to support me on my early morning runs. We have also been doing the most amazingly fun trail runs that make it a little easier to get up in the morning no matter how tired I am.
I am extremely grateful to my family for supporting me in all my crazy training. My daughter often gives up her weekend mornings to watch Eoin so I can run, bike, and swim, and my poor husband gets dragged along on my long rides. Today I made him do 50 miles with me, and he is not even training for anything!
I must also thank all my friends on Facebook that take the time to post words of encouragement and guidance when I need it most. I am sure you probably don't know how much that means to me. Jessica, one of my Marathon Maniac friends that has done several half and full Ironman distance races, praised me for my dedication to my training, but also reminded me that I need to keep in mind how lonely parts of my race are going to be. I spend a lot of time training with groups of my friends--I need to remember that I need to add some alone and silent (no music) training time so I will be mentally ready for my long, grueling race day at Vineman.
Today was one of the longest training days in a while. I was on my bike trainer by 5:20am for a two hour indoor ride, followed by a long five hour and fifteen minute 50-mile ride with my husband, and then a 40 minute brick run. When we stopped for breakfast at the 40-mile point, I posted that I hopefully had enough energy to get my run in. Thank goodness, my friend Jeremiah responded, "Not hopefully enough energy. You have to go whether you have energy or not." That little comment put it all in perspective, and I not only completed a 41 minute run, but I also maintained a 9:30/mile pace, which is amazing for me especially considering I was on my sixth hour of exercise.
As you can see, it indeed takes a village to keep me motivated and moving forward on my journey to Ironman. I want to thank each and every one of you for all the things you do to keep me going even when I feel that I have had more than enough. I am so lucky to have so many that care what I am doing enough to send me messages, remind me that I can indeed complete this race, and train with me on a daily basis. I am one lucky Ironwoman hopeful!