Spectator and Tracking Info

I wanted to make sure to have some information for those of you that have asked about tracking me and coming out to watch on race day.  First of all, the Ironman website is a great resource and for the Arizona specific site, you can click here Ironman Arizona Homepage

On race day, when you get to this page, there will be a red box near the top that says “view coverage” or “athlete tracker.”  If you click on this there will be links to live video streams of the race.  I believe there is one at the swim exit, the bike exit and the run exit as well as the finish line.  Even when I don’t know people competing, I love watching the finish line video, especially during the later hours of the night.  If you are not in town, you can get on and watch me cross the finish line live! 🙂

The easiest way to track me is through the app.  On your phone, download the “Ironman Tracker” app-it’s live today, so go get it!  It should be a red background with a big white Ironman logo (M-dot).  Once in the app, it lists the races for this weekend.  Click on Arizona, and it will ask you to search for me.  You can enter my last name or my race number, 1342.  Then click on my profile when it pops up.  At this point, it will send you alerts as I cross each of the checkpoints throughout the day.  There is a map on the app that shows the approximate location of where I am at on the course.  Also, as I go through each check point, it will list my average speed, the time I went through that check point, my total race time so far, and the approximate times I will cross the future check points.  Most of the time, it is pretty accurate (the map can be off a little), but I always give a 10 minute window surrounding the check points just to be sure.  Know that the projected times are based on my pace at the last check point.  If I slow down a ton, or have to stop at my special needs bag for a bit, I will probably be a bit past the projected times.  So don’t worry, just keep sending me positive thoughts to keep moving forward!

For those of you that will be out on the course, it can be really busy and hectic at times, so prepare for that.  If you are coming in the morning and want to see me before the race starts, I would be at Tempe Beach Park no later than 6:15am.  I’m not sure where I will be yet, but there will be a lot of my family and friends in purple shirts with my name on them, so look for them :-).

Swim:

Personally, I think the best place to watch the swim start (if you don’t want to see me directly-which it’s really hard to see me anyway) is from the top of the Mill bridge.  It’s awesome to see the sunrise and thousands of people setting out on the journey of the day in the water.

The race starts at 7am, but I could be in the water a few minutes before that, or a few minutes after.  My best guess for the swim is that I can finish anywhere between an hour and 20 minutes (which would be amazing and I would be so excited) to an hours and 45 minutes.  Hopefully I’m not out of the water later than 1:45, but if I am, that’s ok.

Bike:

This is the longest part of the race and the hardest to spectate.    The corner of Mill Ave. and Rio Salado is always a good spot to be, as this is the turnaround point for the loops.  This is also the busiest spot.  Another good location is the corner of McKellips Rd. and McClintock Rd. or McDowell Rd. and Alma School Rd.  We will be going all the way up the beeline to Shea Blvd.  The beeline southbound will be closed and northbound side will be turned into a two-way for cars, so it will be a little hectic traffic wise to get up there, but possible.  I will be riding a black bike with purple bar tape, a green shirt with white long sleeves and a white helmet.  Hopefully I will be going so fast it will be hard to recognize me!

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Map of the bike course to give you a better idea

 

Run:

I have to start the run by 5:40pm to continue in the race, but I’m hoping I will be starting the run closer to 4 or 4:30pm.  The run is around Tempe Town lake and really, anywhere around the lake is a good place to be.  The north side of the lake is probably going to have less spectators, so having some people over there cheering would be nice!  The run is 2 laps, so there are some places that I will pass by 4 times during the run; on the south side of the lake from McClintock to the Mill bridge, on the north side of the lake from the Mill Bridge west to Priest, and by the condos/apartments on the north side of the lake east of Rural.  My tri club will be manning “Run Aid Station 1” which is located under the Rural Road bridge on the south side of the lake.  If you can’t find me, ask someone there and they will be able to track me down!

Run course

Finish:

The Ironman finish line is such an awesome place to be!!  If you have never been to a race, definitely spend some time here cheering everyone on across the line, trust me, it’s awesome.  I really have no time that I am trying to hit, I just want to finish the race.  I am guessing/hoping that I will finish sometime between 10pm and midnight.  And if all goes well and I am lucky enough to get to that finish line chute, I cannot wait to soak it all in!!!!!!!

A few other things to note:

-Cheer on the other racers, even if you don’t know them!  The race bibs have the names on them, so you can even call them by name.  It really is such a huge boost to have people calling your name and pushing you along the course, so have fun with it!

-If you’re there early, look for the pros.  They are SO FAST and fun to watch.  Lionel Sanders (#1) will be racing this year, he broke the Ironman world record time last year in Arizona.  Caroline Martineau (#67) is a pro that is staying with my coach and gave us a great pep-talk last weekend, so make sure to cheer her on too!

-Look for some of my tri club competing, if you see green Landis shirts, that’s them!  Cheer loud!

 

I’m so excited about race day and I can’t wait to see everyone out on the course!!  You really have no idea how much your support means, whether you are following along from afar, or if you are coming to the race, the encouragement and support is truly what gets me through the difficult times.  And if you’re out there cheering (or cheering from home), take pictures!  I want to make a memory book when I’m done with this, and I want you all to be in it!

-Sarah

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Taper crazies

I kept reading things about the “taper crazies” and always scoffed at it because I didn’t believe. I believe now!  I don’t feel like I’m losing my marbles all the time, but there are definitely moments that I have to take a deep breath and get my shit together.

Peak week was interesting for me. I definitely felt strong for most of it.  I was able to recognize how far my body and mind have come.  I went to our track workout that week and my coach asked me, “do you feel stronger?”  My answer to him was “not really.”  I told him that I couldn’t recognize it and that I just felt so tired that I didn’t feel like I was doing that well.  The workout at track that day was mile repeats (my absolute least favorite) and my coach wanted me to do the miles at an 8 minute pace.  That’s not my fastest mile, but to do them over and over again at that pace is something I have never done.  I laughed at him and told him I would shoot for 8:30.  So I set out to do my first mile and decided that I would just run by feel and not push myself too hard so I had energy left for the others and then would adjust my pace on the others accordingly.  Well, I finished my first mile at a 7:49 pace!  I was shocked.  My coach was in a conversation with someone else and didn’t ask his usual question of how fast I was.  So I took a few seconds to breathe and started the next one and finished that at 7:45!  As I finished this one, I said to my coach, “ask me my time, ask me my time.”  I was excited to share the surprising times.  I went on to do all my miles at a sub 8 minute pace.  At the end of the workout I was able to tell my coach that I can tell I’m stronger.  There is no way I would have been able to do that even 3 months ago.  I was feeling good.

I got a good long swim in the next day and then set out on Saturday for my last century ride. The ride was not great.  We did a new route that included “9 mile hill” so there was a lot of climbing, which I’m not a fan of.  As a result, it was a hard ride and I was slow.  On the last few miles of the ride I had decided that after Ironman I was never getting on a bike again.  But I finished, I had enough energy to run after the ride and I lived to tell about it.  The following day was my 20 mile run.  This run was one of those where within the first few steps I knew it was going to be a hard day.  I didn’t feel as energized as the previous weeks, my legs hurt, my feet were hurting, it just wasn’t all there that day.  But I did it.  All 20 miles.  About mile 15, the song “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child popped into my head and I sang the chorus on repeat for more miles than I would like to admit.  I can’t tell you when the last time was that I heard that song, but apparently I needed it then.  (I don’t listen to anything on my runs because music or headphones are not allowed in the races, so I have to train myself not to rely on that).  I also visualized my family and friends along the run course during this run.  I was brought to tears a couple times that day imagining the Landis Aid station and how awesome it will be to run by there.  Imagining my family standing on the course screaming their heads off in their purple shirts.  Those things are going to be just the boost I need to get through the difficult times on race day.

Last week, my personal life became complicated and difficult. Nothing that I need to discuss on a blogpost, but it does effect my training and build up to Ironman, so there is no way to avoid it.  It was a very stressful week and I was not able to get all my workouts in, but I feel like I did pretty well considering.  As difficult as it was (and will be for some time), it also reminded me to be grateful.  I am grateful for the ability to be able to train.  To run for fun, to ride 100 miles on my bike and live to tell about it.  These are things not everyone gets to do and I am definitely aware of that.  They also give me time to escape my head and work through things.  As boring and redundant as 130 laps in a pool can be, it can also be extremely calming and I am grateful for that.  I am grateful for the unbelievable support of my family and friends.  They are there, no matter what, non-judgmental, with open arms and I don’t know what I would do without that.  I am grateful for my tri club and the relationships I have gained as a result.  These people are good people.  They care, are unbelievably supportive in every aspect of life, and are beyond encouraging and inspiring.  I am grateful for my strength.  This journey continues to teach me about life and myself in more ways than anything I have done before.  I have found strength that I didn’t know I had, both physically and mentally.  I am grateful to have found that and to be reminded of that throughout my training.

This past weekend was my first taper weekend. I rode 70 miles on Saturday and it was a great ride.  I felt strong and fast.  The weather was absolutely perfect, the sunrise and moonset was gorgeous, I had great company, I felt good.  It was a great way to end my

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Kali took a picture as I crossed the finish line at about the same time the race photographer took one from the other side 😀

long bike rides.  There was even a beautiful shower that hit just after I finished my brick run that was perfect.  The universe was reminding me that I enjoy this sport and my thoughts last week of never getting on a bike again were rubbish.  I had 13 miles on my run schedule, so I had signed up for a half marathon in Phoenix.  I knew I was going to be nowhere close to a PR for this race because I am maintaining my slow and steady pace so I can go the distance of Ironman.  It was still nice to be in the race atmosphere.  There were even some friends who came out to cheer me on which was completely unexpected and so much appreciated.

 

This week is full on taper. No more weight workouts, less intensity, and this weekend is going to be a short 40 mile bike and 10 mile run.  I’m looking forward to the extra time that will give me.  I get very stressed during the week, because with work I

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Anything is possible indeed.

really have no other time to get things done.  There are still a few things I need to buy for race day, I want to start laying my clothes out, I need to start more visualizing and focusing on race day.  So I am looking forward to being able to get those things started this weekend.  I got my race numbers in the mail last week, which was very real, an Ironman truck has been parked in the parking lot at the marina, and I’m getting more and more emails from Ironman reminding me that race day is coming!  I am continuing to forget things; like setting my alarm for my morning workouts, my shoes for spin class, my heart rate monitor for everything.  I am definitely not forgetting to sleep though.  That I am doing any chance I get.

 

I’ve also started to find myself getting sad about how few workouts I have left.  I find myself thinking things like, “I’m going to miss these people after Ironman” or “I’m going to miss these beautiful sunrises.”  It’s weird because obviously I don’t have to stop doing the workouts.  Granted, I will be doing a lot less and less intensity, but I won’t be stopping.  The relationships alone are worth showing up to the workouts and I like these people way too much to stop hanging out.

 

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One of the biggest track groups yet.  These people are amazing and I feel so lucky to have met such a great group.  Photo credit: IronMaria 🙂

 

I’m still feeling the gamut of emotions. I’m really excited about it and really scared.  I’m trying to keep my head in a good place and take one day at a time.  The doubt and wonder if I’ve done enough keeps creeping in.  The worry about the weather and constant watching of the extended forecast has started (The first time I looked the low was going to be 38 and I freaked out.  Now the low is normal and the high keeps creeping up and is up to 85, a little too hot for my liking).  Yeah, the taper crazies are here.  I’m hoping to take all of the emotions of the past few weeks and turn that into fuel to get me through the race.  Race day is going to be a very emotional day for me and probably a journey in itself, as well as a celebration of the journey this year has been.  I’m looking forward to it.

I will post information on how to track me on race day later this weekend.  Check back soon!!

-Sarah

Peak week

I took the above image from a fellow triathlete who posted it recently.  I LOVE it and hit the nail on the head for me.  Thank you Stacey!

Another five weeks down and I feel like I’ve come a long way in those weeks. I completed my first century ride about a month ago!  Luckily, on the that day, we had amazing weather and there was not a chance of getting too hot as the ride went on.  As always, I had fantastic support in the form of other club members who were right there with me through the whole 100 miles.  I actually felt pretty good for most of the ride.  I tend to struggle through miles 40-60 quite a bit.  Luckily, on this day a friend knew exactly what I needed and we proceeded to talk about travel as she got my mind off things and through the tough part of the ride.  It’s odd every time it happens, but the second half of the ride I tend to feel stronger and faster.  My next lap was much faster (maybe there was a little wind assistance) and I felt that I could go the distance.  My nutrition is just where it needs to be.  I was able to drink 4 bottles of Infinit which gave me plenty of fuel and I also had 2 Uncrustables (good ‘ol PB&J to fuel me!).  Overall, with a stop at a gas

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I get nice and dirty on my long rides…this picture doesn’t even do it justice and was post ice bath!

station for a snack, I took in over 2000 calories on the ride which is more than I had ever been able to take in before.  As a result, I was able to feel good through my entire ride.  Bill, an Ironman veteran, stayed with me the whole way and helped me focus on my goals.  He stopped me about mile 90 and reminded me to be mindful when I hit the 100 mark.  He told me to take a moment when I saw the mileage click over, pay attention to how it felt when I hit that mark and remember how far I had come to get to this point.  It was so great to have him there, pushing me, and helping me pay attention to what a big moment it was.  When I hit 100 miles it was such a great feeling.  I knew at that point that I could ride 112.  I was capable.  The same friend who had pushed me through miles 40-60 and finished her ride long before, had come back and was there at the end waiting with chocolate milk, water, and food if I wanted it.  It was such a kind gesture!  My coach was also there, pushing me right along and reminding me I needed to get my run in!  After a quick happy dance, I went off and did a one mile run to finish up the day.  I was elated with what I had accomplished that day and thankful for all the support along the way.  The rest of the day was spent sleeping and trying to get enough food in me as possible.  I definitely did not plan well enough for after the ride and I fell asleep before eating a good meal, which did not make for a pleasant feeling when I woke up (and lots of tears).  But I learned and planned better for the next weekend.

 

The day after my 100 mile ride I had a 14 mile run on my schedule. At this point, I had not done anything over a half marathon distance, so I was a little nervous, especially since I had just done my first century the day before!  On top of that, there was a group run scheduled at south mountain, which is a very hilly terrain.

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Hills on hills for my run

I wanted to make it though, because I needed the support around me to finish those 14 miles.  I was surprised at how good I felt when I woke up that morning and I was looking forward to getting my longest run under my belt.  It was a rough run for the second half, but I didn’t stop and finished the 14 miles.  Things were moving right along.

 

I had another good week of training, another long Friday swim (only 300 meters away from Ironman distance) and set out on Saturday to again conquer 100 miles. This day did not go as smoothly.  It was much hotter and there was quite a bit of wind.  And I just was not in the mood.  The second half of the ride was rough.  I was frustrated, grumpy, and just wanted off the bike.  At one point, when others were far enough ahead of me, I let out a very frustrated scream.  I kept pushing and although I didn’t hit the century mark, I still got in 95 miles.  I had planned better this day and had food waiting for me when I got home.  Eating and a nice ice bath and I was back on track.  Then, the next day was a 16 mile run.  Again, the longest I have attempted.  I was really tired waking up for this run, I didn’t feel like doing it and in turn I was a little late.  I met up with a couple tri club members and we set off to get the miles done.  Surprisingly, I felt really good that day.  My pace was a little quicker than normal for my long runs and I wasn’t feeling the need to stop and walk as much.  Having people and conversation during these runs makes such a difference.  I was able to have a good conversation about why we signed up for Ironman, what we were after in this journey.  I was also reminded during this conversation that my friends have so much strength and endurance in so many areas of life, it is truly inspiring!!  After one lap and a refill of my Infinit, we kept going.  Around mile 10 I realized that our pace was almost 2 minutes faster than I had been running the week before.  We were feeling good and I knew I was going to finish strong.  Cindy only had 14 miles on her schedule that day, but she stuck with me for the last two (she’s a better person than I) and together we completed 16 miles, the longest run yet for the both of us.  After 2 hard weeks of workouts, two 95+ mile bike rides and the 2 of the longest runs I have ever done, I felt good.  I came home from the 16 mile run on a high and crying.  That was the first day that I actually believed I could finish the Ironman.  At 16 miles I started to get a *very* tiny taste of how bad it was going to hurt, but I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to go the distance.  I was happy and excited for the final push to the race.

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Just finished 16 miles and still smiling!

Then it was rest week and a needed one at that! I again took advantage of rest week, listened to my body, got some extra sleep, ate a few too many sweets, got a massage (Kali is the best at working out my sore spots!!), and spent some time with friends.  It was amazing to have a Saturday where I was home by 10am!  I joked a lot that week because I “only” had a 40 mile bike ride and a 13 mile run….who had I turned into?!

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I also turned a year older this week!  My tri club helped me celebrate…I didn’t get much of a workout at spin that night

It still amazes me that I am able to do these distances and I am so grateful for the guidance and direction of those around me.  With the rest, I definitely noticed some aches and pains.  My thumb was a little sore, it gets that way with the long swims.  My left shoulder had some pain over the past few weeks.  I think this one was from riding aero on the bike, but it didn’t bother me when I swam, so that was good!  I have a tiny dully pain on the top of my foot that creeped up-this one worries me the most because I can’t seem to figure out why or how it happened.  None of these are big issues, but it was nice to have a rest week to give them some needed time off and make sure they stay non-issues.

 

 

After my rest week I had another tough week of training.  Two more 3,000+ meter swims, another century ride and then an 18 mile run, my longest yet.  I did pretty well sticking with my workouts except for my midweek swim.  Since my distance has increased, in order to get it done before work I have to be in the water at 4:30am.  This means a wake up call at 3:45am!!  That is really hard for me to do and then go to work for 11 hours.  So needless to say, I slept through that one.  That weekend I had another century ride for Saturday and I got it done!  Two century rides in the books.  This one wasn’t as easy as the first and was a little warmer than I would have liked, but it was done, with a run after to boot.  I also got my 18 mile run in as well!!  It didn’t go quite as planned, as I had planned to run half of it with a friend and when I couldn’t make that happen, I had to run the whole 18 by myself.  But I did it!  When you just keep moving, it’s amazing how far you can go.  I was definitely sore after this run, my hips hurt for the first time after a run, and my toenails hurt!  I’ve never been one to have issues with that (no nasty running toenails for me) but this time, they definitely felt sore.  No bruising or losing any though, so I’m good so far!

 

The following week I was on-call so I have a semi-rest week due to the inability to get the long workouts in. Jade helped me switch my workouts up and I met her at an outdoor

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Got to take advantage of the Normatech recovery boots at the race after my run!

pool for a change of scenery.  It was nice to be outside and helped the swim to not be so boring.  That weekend I had a 3 hour trainer ride (forced by on-call) which was really hard to get through.  I just didn’t want to be inside, I couldn’t push myself, it was tough.  But I did the time.  Then, just a few days ago was the Ironman 70.3 here in Tempe.  There were so many people from our tri club and workout groups that were racing and I was so excited to go cheer everyone on.  I got in an 11 mile run before the race, was able to give everyone hugs before the start and then got to watch them kick butt all day!  It was a weird feeling of excitement and fear as I watched everyone compete, knowing I would be there a few short weeks later.  It was fun to not be completing though and to cheer everyone on.  It was incredibly inspiring to watch everyone and definitely continued to solidify my love for the sport and the relationships it has brought into my life.  The men and women that I watched race that day worked their butts off and left it all out on the course.  It was a really hot day and they kept moving and everyone one of them finished.  It was a great day.

 

This week is my “peak week.” My longest and hardest training week before I start to taper.  I really can’t believe that even as I type it.  I have my regular workouts this week and then another century ride Saturday followed by a 20 mile run Sunday.  20 miles!  From there, my distances decrease and I start to get my body ready for race day, just 26 short days away!  It definitely feels like a rollercoaster right now.

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My official bib number!!

I feel incredibly excited and scared/nervous at the same time.  I’m so focused on training and preparation that I feel like I’m dropping the ball in all the other areas of my life.  I forget things, don’t remember to respond to calls or texts, have a hard time remembering things at work, I’m exhausted.  But I know that it will soon be over and I honestly have mixed feelings about that.  So for now I am continuing to enjoy each training day and the people I am training with, because I really do have a lot of fun doing this.  We got our bib numbers yesterday too, it’s getting more and more real each day!!! So much build up to race day and I can’t wait!!

-Sarah

Lifetime Tri Race Report

Every time I sit down to write a new post, I’m blown away by how long it has been since the last. The last 3 weeks have flown by which means the remaining weeks to Ironman are going to fly by just as fast (8.5 weeks and 61 days left, but who’s counting?!).

The first week after recovery went really well. I was motivated and worked hard. I attempted my first century ride that weekend. I didn’t hit the 100 mile mark, but I did get in a solid 88 miles. I had purchased some Infinit, a nutrition mix that I have heard a lot of positive things about from other athletes, including professionals. The company claims that when drinking this, you don’t have to eat anything, take any salt pills, or supplement with any electrolytes, just Infinit and water is all you need! I was a little skeptical, but desperate to find something that gave me lasting energy and did not upset my stomach. Let me tell you, I was blown away! I purchased the 5 hour formula and it did exactly what it claims to do. I felt strong, energetic, and was not hungry for the entire 5 hours. I was so grateful I found something! My riding partner commented on how much better I looked that ride than previous rides and my coach commented on the fact that I wasn’t bitching to him as much, so it must be working!  I was sold. The heat that day was just too much for me though and so I kept with the 88 miles. This was the furthest I had ridden to date and my body felt pretty decent. I was definitely tired and worn out from the heat, but it gave me confidence that I could actually ride 100 miles.

The next week I was on-call (again). Despite getting a call in the middle of my early morning run one day and getting called out in the middle of the night another, I was still able to get my workouts in. That weekend though, life happened, and I missed a long swim and bike. I have realized at this point though, that it is not do or die. If you miss one workout, it’s not going to set you back to the beginning. So I kept going.

Then, this past week was a taper week, as I was preparing for the Lifetime Tempe Tri Olympic distance race. I definitely took full advantage of the taper, even missing a workout or two in there. I was having a hard time staying motivated and keeping my focus. Despite that, the race on Sunday went well for the most part! IMG_1505633531390The swim was one of my worst, which was disappointing. I got off course by a lot, which ate up a lot of time and energy. With that, my mind became frustrated and I started having a lot of negative thoughts about my abilities and the upcoming Ironman race. I came out of the water about 7 minutes behind what I had hoped for. Then I jumped on the bike and proceeded to watch people pass me over and over again. The negative thoughts kept coming. I don’t remember the exact moment it changed, but I realized my legs were feeling good and despite many people passing me, I was also passing a lot of people and it felt like my pace was good. My thinking changed and I focused on racing my race and not comparing myself to others. I started giving encouragement to others on the course (this always helps me) and pushing myself, trying to make up the lost time on the swim.

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I had bought some Infinit again and used that during the race and made sure that I finished the bottle while still on the first lap of the bike. As always, the tri club and my family and friends were out to cheer us on and it was so nice to see them along the course. It really does give you such a boost to know you have people just down the road ready to yell your name! I finished the bike just over the 2 hour mark, which I knew based on my swim was a little faster than normal for me. I later found out that I had PR’d my bike time by 7 minutes and averaged 17.45 mph on the bike leg. This is huge for me, as most of my rides average in the 14-15 mph range. I was thrilled and grateful to have made up the lost swim time.

At the start of the run, a tri-mate, John, who was not racing said he was going to run with me. I was grateful for the company and we started off on a good pace; sub 9 minute miles. This is fast for me lately and I was feeling good. That speed slowed pretty quickly though. I was very grateful to have John along on the run, because I don’t think I would have been able to keep running, I probably would have slowed to a walk-run without him. This tells me I need to work at pushing myself more, giving that extra effort, because I wasn’t feeling horrible yet I couldn’t give that extra push. It was pretty warm that day, so I made sure to pour ice down my shirt and ice water over my head at every aid station. At the finish line, Landis Tri Club was there in full cheer mode, which is a great way to come down the finish chute. My family was there as well, always with full support and cheers. I had hoped to finish the run in an hour, which I ended up being a little over. Despite that, it was the fastest run I have done in a triathlon, so that was a bonus and I finished with an overall PR!

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The bonus to that, was that every race I have done this year has been a PR! If I keep getting better with age, this could get really fun. There were so many friends racing that day as well which is always so fun. A couple made the podium and qualified for nationals! Some were racing their first race, or a new distance, some got PR’s and all finished! It is so fun sharing in other people’s success as well. On top of that, our club signed up for the team competition in both the Sprint and Olympic distances and we came in 1st in both of them! It was definitely an exciting day all around.

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Other than being really tired (when am I not?), I felt really good after the race and was not sore at all. It was a good thing too, because there was no rest this time, right back to full training mode the next day. I am struggling still with motivation and exhaustion (woke up this morning to do my run, actually got out of bed, and then proceeded to get back in bed and skip it). It’s getting harder to get up in the mornings and push myself as much as I feel I need to. I’ve heard from others that it is common about this time; you get to a point where you just want the race to be here and you don’t want to train anymore. I’m trying to push through that and take full advantage of all the group workouts, because it is so much easier to get up and go to those than the ones I do by myself. I will keep going though; there is no way I’m quitting now (or ever)!

 

Personally, life threw a couple curve balls at me the past few weeks that I was not prepared for. It’s going to take a lot of resolve, patience, and work to get through it all. I have become even more grateful for the amazing people I am surrounded by who are always there for support whether they know it or not. I am also grateful for the ability to move and train like I am. For me, going out on a long run or ride is the best way to work things out in my head. It gives me stillness and an inner quiet that you don’t always get in the busy day to day life. And if I go into a training run a little emotional, I always come out with a little more inner peace. I am also constantly reminded during Ironman training that I can do anything if I work hard enough. I can get through anything. I am much stronger than I give myself credit for. These reminders are just as important for everyday life as they are for Ironman training. Life is not going to stop moving and changing, and I’m getting much better and moving along with it. I am grateful for this journey; the people, the lessons, the struggle, and the successes that come with it.

-Sarah

Recovery

After the 70.3 I had two weeks of recovery on my schedule.  This consisted of the first 3 days off, and then the same workout schedule but the workouts were much smaller and less intense and there was no weight lifting mixed in.  It has been really nice having the down time.  I have been able to catch up on sleep, my to-do list, laundry.  I have been able to spend some quality time with family and visit my mom in Prescott.  I have been able to meet up with a few friends that I haven’t seen in months, and catch up with a few more on the phone.  Despite not seeing them in forever and forgetting to text them back again and again, they were still there, understanding and supporting.  I bought a couple new books, painted my toenails, and spent quality time with Ryan.  I have been extremely grateful for all of this, as I know the next few months are going to be very intense.

I did struggle quite a bit with motivation over the last few weeks.  I slept through many workouts, making them up after work or on my “off” days.  I was late to others.  I went to my track workout one morning showing up 20 minutes late, then I basically sat on the track the entire time, really not doing anything.  I didn’t want to be working out much at all.  There were a few good workouts mixed in, but for the most part I was taking advantage of recovery week.  Even though Ironman Arizona is my ultimate goal, the 70.3 was a big achievement for me.  I think once I completed that a sense of, “ok you did it, you can relax now,” washed over me.  I had to spend some time the last few days trying to get my head in the right place because there is a lot of work ahead of me.

My coach built my training schedule out to November.  It’s just a little daunting to say the least.  Multiple 100 mile bike rides.  Many runs over 13 miles (the most I’ve ever ran).  Long swims that are going to push my limits.  Not only do the workouts themselves seem daunting, but with longer and harder workouts, come more time spent working out.  I felt so busy and limited with time before, I’m coming to realize the next few months are going to be slammed.  I think part of my lack of motivation was fear.  I’m afraid of how I will handle the coming training.  I have been continuing to remind myself though that this is why I am tacking this challenge.  To face my fears head on.  To push myself to my limits and watch those limits move further and further away.  I’m grateful that I don’t have any out of town obligations from now until race day, because I foresee a lot of laying around and naps after these “marathon” weekend workouts.

A friend asked me last week, on a particularly low day of motivation, if I remembered the moment I decided I wanted to do an Ironman.  I had a hard time thinking of this at first, not sure if I had an exact moment, but remembering the thought process along the way.  I remember the moment I first thought, “This would be cool to do someday.”  And the moment I thought, “I will finish an Ironman one day.”  The moment I thought, “I want to do that, I want that feeling” and the moment I thought, “I might actually be able to finish an Ironman.”  She told me to go back through the pictures and videos of those moments (most came when watching other people compete) to remind myself why I am doing this.  I did just that.  I went through pictures of my first triathlon and first splash and dash and laughed at how amazingly far I have come.  I looked through pictures of the first Ironman I attended.  I looked through pictures and videos of the race last year, and watching Maria finish.  I watched the recording of Kona 2016 that I still have on my DVR.

My adrenaline rushed, I tear-up, I got that feeling in my gut that reminded me why I’m working so hard.  I want this.  I want to be an Ironman this year.  And that is not going to come unless I work hard.  I have already been training for 34 weeks.  There are only 12 weeks left until race day, 84 days.  11 more long bike rides.  That’s really not much.  I will work hard in these last 12 weeks to get my body and mind prepared for race day so that I can spend race day celebrating the year of hard work.  I am ready to tackle the next 12 weeks.  I know I have a huge amount of love and support behind me, which I am so grateful for, because I will need it in the next 12 weeks.  My recovery weeks are over, I’m ready to push myself, here goes nothing….

-Sarah

Mountain Man Race Report

What a day!! This week I checked another race distance off my bucket list and finished my first 70.3 triathlon!!  I knew it was going to be hard, but it was harder than I had anticipated.  But, I finished!

It’s always a shock when your alarm goes off at 3:30am, but I had gone to sleep early and had a good full night of sleep so I felt good when I woke up.  I was able to get all of my stretching in and eat breakfast, an Ensure plus and a peanut butter and jelly English muffin.  I was only able to eat half of the English muffin though, as nerves started to settle in.  I did not feel rushed and felt like I had plenty of time, until we were all ready to go and I looked at my watch and we were leaving 6 minutes later than I had wanted.  We listened to “Don’t Worry Be Happy” on the way to the race, it always helps put my mind at ease.  We also saw a GIANT shooting star (thank you meteor shower and dark sky city) on the way to the race and I took that as a good sign.  Along with the texts and comments from the day before from friends and family, I had even more coming in this morning.  It was so nice to receive the encouragement from all over-thank you!  We got to the race with plenty of time and although it was chilly, it was not bad at all.  There were

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Ready to go and feeling good!

none of the storm clouds that were predicted, but it was very foggy.  I got my transition area set up, aired up my tires, lathered on the sunscreen, used the restroom, got my timing chip, got numbers written on me and I was feeling calm.  My wetsuit went on with ease that morning and I walked with Cindy to the swim start.  I was able to eat a few Gu chews on the way.  I was feeling good and although I was nervous, I wasn’t even close to as nervous as previous races.  I hugged family and got in the water.

 

The water felt good, and I was surprised when there was such a small amount of women in the water for the start of the race.  I was also slightly concerned because it was so foggy, there was no way to see the buoy that we were aiming for.  I decided I would follow the people around me and hope for the best.  When the race started, I was again surprised at how calm I was.  It was a little hectic at first and I kept bumping into people, but I moved to the outside and was fine.  I kept trying to sight to make sure I was not going way off course, but I

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The men’s half start, 6 minutes before my start

couldn’t see anything so it was pointless.  I ran into someone else and when I looked up, it was a gray cap, which the men who started 6 minutes ahead of us were wearing.  I was happy that I had caught up to them, but it was clear this guy was struggling.  I made it to the first turn and headed for the long straight away.  By this point, the fog had lifted enough that I could see my destination.  Also, this part of the swim was along the lake shore, so it was really easy to keep a straight line.  I spotted another gray cap and felt like I was doing well.  I was feeling very calm, not tired, and confident.  At one point I took in a little water so I stopped my stroke to cough and my feet hit mud.  Apparently we were that close to shore.  I was not a fan of that though because I couldn’t see anything, so I quickly picked up my stroke again.  I hit the final turn and headed for the finish.  Unfortunately, the finish was directly in the sun.  Even stopping and trying to shield the sun, I still couldn’t see the end.  I kept going and used the people around me to guide me in, hoping that they were going the right direction.  At one point myself and a girl next to me both stopped and asked each other if we were going the right way.  We had no idea, so we just kept going.  Finally, my hand hit the boat ramp and I was there.  I jumped onto the carpet and a stripper ripped off my wetsuit quickly and I was off.  I took a quick glance at my watch to check my time and realized my watch had not started so I didn’t know how I had done.  I was really bummed about this, but no time to dwell.

 

There were so many family and friends in transition cheering me on.  It was so nice!  I moved through transition as quickly as I could, grabbed my bike and I was off.

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T1

I realized almost instantly after getting on the course that I forgot to drink my Ensure, part of my nutrition plan, while I was in transition.  I knew that wasn’t great, but I had put extra nutrition in my pockets as a “just in case” so I figured I would be fine.  It always amazes me how strong and fast people can be on the bike, and on the climb out of Lake Mary, as I was working my butt off, people continued to fly past me so fast that it was hard to believe they didn’t have a motor on those bikes.  I was also blown away by people speeding back down towards the lake, clearly at the end of their Olympic bike portion while I was just 5 miles into my ride.  I did pass one man on the climb, and he had a large Ironman tattoo on his calf, so I felt strong to be passing him.  Pretty sure he passed me again a short time later and I don’t think I passed anyone else again the whole race.

 

I ate my first pack of Gu chews when I had planned and made sure to drink a little.  Jade came up behind me on the way to the turn around and we gave each other some encouragement before she took off ahead.  It was nice to see a familiar face and she would go on to get second place in her age group!  Shortly after the overlook, I noticed Trevor off to the side off his bike.  I yelled if he needed anything and he asked if I had an extra CO2 cartridge.  I just happened to pack 3 because they fit, and so I stopped and gave him one, wished him luck and continued on.  I had a near miss of  squirrel while flying down the hill and then I was on to Mormon Lake road.  The ride was going pretty smooth.  I started to eat the first half of my peanut butter and honey sandwich I had packed and after one bite, I dropped it.  There went some more nutrition.  Then, shortly after, while changing gears, I hit a pothole or large crack in the road and lost control of my bike.  I honestly don’t know how I did not wipe out.  I tried to correct, but overcorrected, almost sending my bike off the road completely, finally able to get control back again.  I was grateful I was still upright, but the surge of adrenaline that pulsed through me during that left me feeling a little depleted.  So I ate the second half of my sandwich and drank some more.  Then, a short time later while changing gears my chain came off.  I jumped off my bike and got it back on within a few seconds, making a mental note to pay attention when I’m changing gears, so it wouldn’t happen again.  At this point, I was hoping my second lap was less eventful!!  I was on the lookout for the aide station because I needed a restroom.  I finally came upon it, much later than they said it would be on the course, and didn’t see a restroom in sight, so I kept going.

I was focused a lot on my time, trying to make sure I would make the bike cut off.  I knew I needed to hit 28 miles by 2 hours and I did so, but only by a couple minutes.  Because I wasn’t sure of my swim time, I wanted to leave some room for error and knew my second lap was probably going to be slower, so I knew I had to keep pushing hard.  Before getting to the Mormon Lake turnoff again, I needed a pee very bad and I knew there was no other restroom around.  There really weren’t great places to hide in the woods, I knew my legs were not going to be up to squat, and I knew that I was fighting the clock, so I decided to “let it ride” while on the bike.  When you’re going downhill, everything just flies off the back of the bike, so when I was finished I had a “that was easy” thought.

Right after that, I saw someone else up ahead off the road fixing their bike.  It was a coworker from the Police Department and as I passed he yelled that it was his 3rd flat!  I knew he was fast, so if he got it fixed he would be fine, so I kept going.  He caught up with me a short time later and shared his frustration over the 3 flats then went on ahead.  The second loop around Mormon Lake felt slower for me.  I was tired.  My legs were sore, my back hurt everywhere and my shoulders were tight.  And I could tell by the time that I was still really close and I could not let up.  It was getting windier too and I was frustrated with that.  I grabbed a water bottle at the aid station and almost crashed into a guy changing his tire right in front of it.  I narrowly missed a chipmunk a short time later as well.  By this point I realized I had not eaten anything else, so I ate another package of Gu chews and tried to finish my electrolyte drink.  I was already starting to feel nauseous and eating did not help.  I had planned to consume about 1100 calories on the bike leg that day and I only took in about 450.  On top of that, I only drank about 40 oz of liquid the whole race.  It was a definite fail in that arena.  I made it back to the final push before the turn around and started trying to do all kinds of calculations in my head.  This is hard to do when you’re tired and not thinking straight. I saw my coworker before the turn around, who knew I was going to be cutting it close and he yelled some encouraging words and told me to “push it, push it!”

I stopped doing calculations at this point and realized that if I had to make the 4 hour and 50 minute cut off I had to be back by 10:56am.  I had the time on my GPS device but I didn’t know if it was right, so when I hit the turnaround I asked what time it was.  They said, “do you really want to know?” and then told me it was 10:19.  My clock was right, so now I just needed to make sure to be back by 10:56.  At that point, I figured I had it, because there was a lot of really steep downhill to go.  The wind was still strong though and it felt like it was coming straight at me, so that was slowing me down some.  On the downhill I only hit 35mph, which is slower than I have before, so it made me nervous (especially since I was riding with much wheels this time).  I hit the 4 miles to go mark and I knew it was going to be tight.  My legs were SO done at that point.  I wanted to stop so bad, but I knew I could not coast or slow down, I needed to make that cutoff.  I was also extremely nauseous here and felt like I was going to lose it at any point.  I hit the 2 miles to go mark and was so thankful that the end was near.  I started to think of all of the people that were waiting at transition for me and I did not want to show up having missed the cut off.  I gave it my all.  I  pedaled as hard as my tired legs could go, hoping that I did not throw up before I got there.  I saw the parking lot and knew I had it.  According to my clock I had made it with just under 2 minutes to spare.  That was still the first question I asked though when I hit the dismount line, “did I make the cutoff?”  “Yes, with time to spare!” a volunteer yelled.  I was so grateful and so tired, my very next thought was “how the hell am I going to run a half marathon right now?!”

As I was walking (there was no jogging in transition that day) my bike back to the rack I saw such a huge group of people cheering my name waiting for me.  It never ceases to

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Slowly making my way to my stuff

amaze me the support that my friends and family give me.  As I was changing out things in transition even more people started running down, calling my name.  I honestly don’t even remember everyone I saw because I was a little light headed and exhausted.  I didn’t realize until after the race when talking with my husband how confused I was at the time.  He mentioned a few people that were next to me at that point and a few things that were said and I didn’t remember any of it.  He also informed me that I said a handful of curse words, which is not totally unlike me, but not usually to that degree in front of the company that was present.  I let out an “I’m done.”  What I really meant by that was that my body was done and I didn’t know how it was going to go on, but I was going to try.  When Kali heard me say that she said, “no you aren’t! You said you were going to do 70.3 today no matter what.  You are doing this today!”  She

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I was surprised when I saw this picture, because I don’t remember smiling at all at this point of the race.  But happy to see that I did!

was right and I needed to hear that.  I thought about reapplying sunscreen and opted against it (stupid decision) because I didn’t want to spend the energy putting it on.  Then I started to walk away.  “Your race number!”  everyone was yelling to me.  Whew!  Thank you all for making sure I didn’t forget that.  I grabbed that and was on my way.  I jogged out of transition where there was an aid station right away and I stopped already and drank some water, thankful to use the water so soon as an excuse to stop.  I saw Maria here, and I wanted to stop and talk but I was on the verge of tears and knew that would put me over the edge.  Then I jogged up the hill to get to the road.  I saw John here and I told him I was exhausted and he said, “No you’re not, keep going, you’ve got this” and gave he a huge high five and smile.  One thing is fact, there is no way I would do all this if it wasn’t for the people and support in my life.

 

I made it probably about 3/10 of a mile before I had to walk again.  When I was jogging, I was actually keeping a decent pace, but after a couple minutes, my stomach couldn’t take it anymore, so I would walk.  My thought was that if I threw up at this point, I would be losing the very little nutrition that was in me, and that would not be good.  I knew there was a long and steep hill coming up and decided I was going to walk the whole thing, give my body some time to calm down and hope that my stomach feels better and then start jogging.  I stopped for a quick bathroom break and water at the bottom of the hill and then headed up.  I tried to eat a cracker, that was not happening, it felt like sand in

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Leaving T2.  So much going on in my head at this moment.  Someone was going to have to pull me off the course before I was going to quit, but I wasn’t sure how my body was going to get to the finish line.

my mouth.  So then I tried a few cashews.  At this point, I saw my coworker again on his way down the hill.  He asked how I was and I said “really not good, I feel like I’m going to throw up.”  He pulled out a bag of pills and gave me a salt pill and a pepto.  I thanked him and he went on his way.  I was nervous about taking something I have not taken in a race before, but I didn’t think I could feel much worse, so I took the salt pill and stuck the pepto in my pocket for later.  I walked all the way up the hill.  Two people passed me at this point and with how closely I made the bike cutoff time, I figured that meant I was the last on the course.  Still, everyone at every aid station and every passerby was so positive.  Claps and cheers and giving me encouragement.  Along with all the racers coming down the hill.  They were all so positive and helpful.  When I hit the turnaround at the top, I started to jog.  I made sure to look out at the scenery that the race director talked about the day before.  It was a beautiful view!  My stomach was starting to feel a little better, but I was realizing at this pace, how long this half marathon was going to take me.  Just then, I see my husband driving up the hill and I lost it. I started crying.  I was so grateful that he came out to find me.  It is a lonely course spectator wise, so it was nice to see a familiar face.  I told him this was way harder than I thought it was going to be and I’m going to take a long time to finish.  He was very positive and encouraging and told me to just keep moving, I’ve got this.  At this point, I told him I thought it might be 4 hours before I finish the race and he told me I was fine, I have time, just keep going.  So I jogged the rest of the way down the hill.  Towards the bottom, I saw Cindy and Hallie who were running up and I started to cry again.  I was grateful to see them and knew how hard Cindy had been working and they were both so encouraging and gave me great big hugs.  I stopped for water again and had the woman at the aid station helped me fish the pepto out of my pocket and took that.  Then I was off again.

 

I did a bit of walk-jogging the rest of the way.  I tried a 5 minute jog, 1 minute walk, but even that was difficult.  My stomach was feeling significantly better, I think the salt pill saved me, but I still couldn’t eat much managing only to get a few more Gu chews in.  I saw my coworker again and thanked him for the pills.  Then I saw another teammate, Bill, and he clapped for me as he passed.  Then, about mile 7 I ran into my coach.  He had come out on his bike to find me and said he was going to ride with me the rest of the

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Thankful to have had my coach there for support!!

way.  This was such a huge help.  It was someone to talk to and distract me from the pain.  He told me how everyone else had done in their races and talked to me about the importance of this race in preparation and practice for the Ironman.  He encouraged me and told me I was doing good the whole time.  He encouraged me to eat, but that wasn’t happening much.  One of the aid stations had fruit snacks, which I love and figured I could eat, but I was only able to get down about 5.  The next aid station had skittles and I was thrilled!  They were delicious, but again, I was only able to get down a handful.  Ryan drove up again around this time and gave me some more encouragement and told me he would see me at the finish line.

 

Then, around mile 9.5 or 10, Cindy and Hallie showed up again.  They were incredibly positive and said they were going to run with me the rest of the way.  They helped me focus on short bursts.  “Run to the next sign,” “start running again when we hit that tree.”  They were so positive and helpful.  Since the aid stations were gone at this point, someone they knew drove up and offered us water.  It was almost overwhelming how generous and supportive everyone was.  I cried again.  I told the girls my goal was to

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Grateful for these girls on this day and everyday for the inspiration and positivity!!

finish in under 8 hours and they told me they were going to get me there.  Maria and Sarah showed up a little bit later as well.  It was so nice to see them!  Again, more encouragement and positive words.  The end was getting near, I could see the cones down the road that led to the finish.

 

I started to jog again, knowing I would be jogging until I hit the finish line.  I was so grateful for that sight.  Ryan and Brenda were at the corner cheering me on along with Sarah and Maria.  I hit the turn to the finish line and Cindy and Hallie told me to go!  They pushed me to pick up the pace a little while they, along with Anthony, Sarah and Maria ran me in.  And then I did it!  I crossed the finish line and completed my first 70.3!

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I love this picture.  You can clearly see how Cindy is screaming to me to “Go!”

 

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Coming into the finish

 

My family was there waiting and cheering, the race employees and volunteers were

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Just after crossing the finish line

cheering me on, it was such a great feeling.  So many hugs and more tears at this point.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone that was there and had stayed so long to support me and watch me cross the finish.  I thought of the people that were still out there running, some who had missed the bike cutoff but were finishing their 70.3 anyway.  I had so much admiration and respect for them to keep pushing.  They were a huge inspiration to me!

 

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Sarah, Coach, Maria, and Carolyn

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Cooling off in the lake

 

 

I went and sat in the lake for a minute to cool off and it was then that I could feel that I was really burnt.  I had finished so late, transition area was all closed down, so Ryan had my bike and everything already loaded and ready to go.  I said goodbyes and headed home.  I felt so accomplished and tired and happy and exhausted all at one.  Amazingly, I really wasn’t that hungry, but I was able to drink a chocolate milk.  Once back at the house I could see the full effects of my burn.  The backs and my hands, and the back of my neck got the worst of it, but my shoulders and the backs of my knees are pretty painful as well.  My glutes were a little sore the next day, but they really weren’t bad and by the second day post race I felt completely normal again (minus the burn).  I was over the moon pleased that I had no pain in my shins or knee during or after the race!

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48 hours later and still as red as a lobster

 

I had so many text messages of congratulations when I was finished, which was just another reminder of how many amazing people I am lucky enough to have in my life.  I am so grateful for the people who helped me get through this race and I’m grateful for what I have learned and need to change for Ironman in November, a short 3 months away.  I have a lot of work and practice to do with my nutrition and hydration, and that will happen every ride from now on.  For now, I am basking in the excitement of this very hard earned medal!!

 

-Sarah

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6 days out from my first 70.3

I realized yesterday how big of a race Sunday is for me and what a big step on the Ironman journey this will be. When I signed up for Ironman not only did I question if I would be able to do that distance, I still wasn’t sure I would be able to do the distance of a 70.3.  I remember registering for this race and even then, having already signed up for a full, not feeling confident I could do the distance.  My mind has been all over the place the last couple of days as the race gets closer, but the one constant that has remained is this; I know I can do the distance.  I know I can.  It’s still going to be a challenge for sure, and I will be hurting at the end, but I can do this!

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I’ve been struggling since my last post. I was absolutely exhausted after all the travel we have been doing.  I had a difficult week of holding myself accountable.  I slept through two workouts and missed another because of a concert.  I made up two of the three missed workouts, but so close to the race, I was kicking myself for not getting my full training in.  Then by the end of the week, the exhaustion started to feel like maybe I was getting sick.  This is not what I wanted, so I started doing everything I could do avoid that.  I slept as much as I could, I was taking two Emergen-C’s a day, taking doTerra OnGuard pills daily (thanks mom), drinking as much water as I could, trying to fight whatever was going on with my body.  I thought it might be allergies and took an allergy pill, which might have helped a bit.  I reminded myself that my lovely “monthly visitor” was coming soon and that I tend to get a sore/scratchy throat before that time, so I tried to chalk it up to that.  But after my ride on Saturday I was feeling my worst.  I slept and lay on the couch for the rest of the day, went to bed early and decided not to set my alarm for my run in the morning-hoping that getting a full night-plus of sleep would be more beneficial than the light run on my schedule.  Luckily, Sunday I woke up feeling better.  I debated all day whether or not to do my run in the evening.  I fought with myself as to whether or not I was avoiding my run, using how I was feeling as an excuse, or if I was listening to my body and needing to take the full day of rest.  I went with rest; made sure I got to bed on time and got a full night’s sleep last night.  Today, I feel totally normal!!  So hopefully whatever it was is gone.  I will still be sleeping as much as I can and downing those Emergen-C’s though!  I worry that all the mess with my workouts this week will affect my performance on Sunday, but I am trying to ignore that.  I can’t go back.  I need to look forward to the rest of the workouts this week and focus on giving them my all.

When I was little my mom gave me these tiny Worry Dolls. The legend goes that if you tell the dolls your worries, they hold on to them and do the worrying for you so youImage result for worry dolls don’t have to worry anymore.  I often feel this is the same with writing.  I use writing to get my thoughts and worries out in hopes that I won’t be bothered with them any longer.  So hopefully after this post, I can stop worrying about cutoff times!  I was feeling ok after my ride last weekend but then, a male coworker who is also doing the race Sunday and follows me on Strava saw me at work and said, “Why are you so bad at the bike?!”  He then proceeded to tell me that I was going to be cutting it close at the race.  Hello, I know this! His intention was lighthearted and an odd attempt at trying to help me improve, but it hurt (and I let him know).  He caused those doubts to come back.  The cutoff time for this race is shorter than most Ironman sponsored 70.3s.  I have to finish the swim, T1, and the bike by 4 hours and 50 minutes.  With the speed that I have been biking the race course and my estimate of how long the swim will take me, I’m really only left with about 5 minutes to spare and that doesn’t include transition.  So bathroom stops, flat tires, all of those are things I’m hoping to avoid.  I’m also hoping that the adrenaline of race day and seeing so many familiar faces out there will help increase my speed over a regular training day.  And if things don’t go the way I hoped and I don’t come in before the cut off time, I will still run the 13.1 miles and finish the 70.3 distance on my own.  I know I can.

On Saturday, I put some race wheels on Shadow to try out. I’ve been told how much smoother they are and how much time they can save me on the bike course.  They did seem faster in some aspects and I felt more comfortable on them that I thought I would.  So I’m hoping to add those into the race day routine and hopefully shave a few minutes off my bike time as a result (I’ll take anything).

Another positive was that my husband gave me a bit of a boost last night, probably more than he knows. As I was doing my stretches before bed he said, “wow babe, you are solid” and then proceeded to talk about how strong my legs looked and how not many people have muscles on their back like I do–I’ll have to remind him to look around at all the athletes on Sunday ;-).  When I started Ironman training, I was actually worried about losing too much weight as I trained.  This has turned out to not be the case at all—I have gained my fair share.  I’ve had some moments of internal battle when I see the number on the scale go up, but I know that I am building muscle and I am not “getting bigger” in a bad way so I have come to accept it.  So earlier in this process, “solid” might have not been the word I would have liked to hear.  But when he said it last night, I was so proud.  I have been working hard, I have been building muscle and my body feels stronger and is unbelievably more capable than it was 8 months ago.  I am “solid.”  I am strong.  And I will take that strength to Flagstaff on Sunday and finish my first 70.3!

I’m looking forward to the events of the weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing how I do at the race.  I’m looking forward to seeing all of the familiar faces and family that are coming to cheer me and my friends on.  I’m looking forward to learning more about the process and using this race to prep for Ironman.  I know I can do this.  I will do this.  Bring it on Mountain Man!!   Next up: Race Report

-Sarah