Here we are, in Boulder, CO, with Ironman numero 6 looming large. As the absence of previous entries may attest, I've been going hard and heavy on the "Hollywood" and rather light on the "Triathlete" in my life as of late: June was the tremendous undertaking of mounting the original musical Timeheart, which I co-wrote and co-produced with my music improv group, Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party. Everything took the backseat to that-- making money, making projects, birthday parties (didn't have one) and but of course, training-- the bare minimum I did pull off was sleeping in an elevation training tent, which gave me weirdly vivid dreams, and I at least am hoping helped... something? Of course after closing night I had the "oh crap" moment and tried to get in as many decent rides as I could, and while I'm decently fit (body composition is getting back there, a little above 20% I think) I'm nowhere near my 100% of days of yore. (Sad to see the muscle I've lost and fat restored on those tests... but life is a process.) I'm still stronger and leaner than I was for my second Ironman in AZ, which was a pretty damn good race, so using that as a barometer, I choose to be cautiously optimistic. After all, I raced Boston well over my race weight and undertrained, and in spite of the headwinds and the 40 degree freezing rain, I pulled off a 3:39, which was well below my projected 3:45.
So let's play the numbers game! What is my goal? My cautious estimate? My dream? This time around it's far trickier, because we've got elevation to consider. Plus the swim may be sans wetsuit: the water was just a degree below wetsuit optional today, which means if it's 76 or above tomorrow, those of us who wear wetsuits are not elligible for age group awards or Kona roll down. Do I think I could place? Realistically no, but if everyone thinks that way and says eff it, I'm wearing a wetsuit, well maybe the Kona rolldown will be more forgiving. I just don't like the idea of in some way giving up on myself before I begin, even if I don't feel like I'm at my ideal conditioning. Because I got grit, and sometimes that can make up for what's lacking. Anyway. What's the big deal about swimming without a wetsuit? Well, swimming at elevation is already hard, and without that happy buoyancy it is even harder. I was pulling off 1:18 4200s nonstop in the pool, which boded well, but now I'm not so sure. A test swim put me at a very sluggish 2:30 per 100 yrd (!!!) which is not cool. With wetsuit shaved at least 20 seconds. I'm hoping maybe in that crazy rugby match of a mass swim start I'll be swept into the rhythm and churn of a faster pace, and will catch a nice draft that will see me through. And that it will be wetsuit legal. Even though I'm not super used to this suit. (I'm not a good planner, am I? Type B triathletes, few and far between, but here I am.) Let's just guess 1:20ish and wish for a happier time.
Then the bike: it's got 5000+ ft of climbing, but word on the street is that the course is FAST. AKA those climbs are in the form of rollers, so it'll be all charge and regroup. But again, I'm woefully undertrained on the bike. So it's probably not going to be my finest hour. Maybe aim for like 6:30? If I'm in under seven I'll feel like less of a loser.
What I'm really down for is to be back in my element, the run. But the snag on this is that my shoes crapped out and started giving me hot spots, so I only got my race shoes a couple weeks ago, discovering on a 14 mile run to my dismay that I was getting shin splints, a problem I haven't had since middle school. GAH.
So, I've got my legs all taped up like a boss (rocking hella Met colors yo) and decided to put my Newtons in my run special needs bag so I could swap them out with about 10 left. The Newtons give me grief, but they make me run RUHL fast, and I can stand them for about that many miles. I pulled off a smoking 7 mile run in them with all sub 8's a few weeks ago, but ouch on my plantar's. So... that's the tentative plan. What's a good goal for the run? Well 3:39 was my Boston, so that's way too fast for after gassing out on that other shiz, but a sub 4 would be freaking fabulous. (Though I pulled that off in Los Cabos and was way more beast... I think this course is more amenable to it, with lots of pretty creekside running in the shade-- essential.)
This whole race is turning into a kind of Frankenstein's monster. But such has been my training... instead of the classic 6 workouts a week, 3 slow/3 speed/3 mid in each discipline, I've been doing Muay Thai three times a week at MTAG and then whatever the hell else I feel like. "That's unusual training," says my triathlon friends. Yeah it is. And guess what? I love it. So even if I should have been on my trainer doing more spin drills or climbing hills, I'd never trade in my thai pads or focus mitts because it's fun as hell, the people are the best, and now if some type A piece of crap punches me during the swim, I can elbow like a champ. (Though I will probably just keep swimming. But I like knowing that.) So as I enter into this next race a little querulous about my prospects, I'm 100% confident that I've got the grit, stamina and fighter spirit to get my shit done, plus the well wishes and cheers from a whole group of badass athletes I respect to death. That's what I get from Muay Thai. Special props to Santi and David for taking an endurance kid like myself and teaching her, most patiently, that coordination and learning to relax a little can make you more effective.
So now I just have to pass out, wake up, dress, remember all my gadgets and gizmos, and ultimately trust myself to do what I'm built for: to last. I hope I do y'all proud.