Last time I updated was one of my key simulation weekends for my prep for St Croix, and as with my entire training block starting a few months back, I continued to find a little more fitness and confidence every time I pushed past my previous definitions of physical limits. Swim camp...races, 6 hour training days, and even just getting it all in through a 40hr work week.
I thought that the half marathon would be my last big effort leading up to the race, and having pushed myself farther than ever before and realizing that my body would still respond, it was a huge confidence boost. But after another solid week of training I found myself back on the start line on Sunday and another 6 hour training day in the books.
Nothing too crazy this time, just the low key MEC 5k that I helped organize (designed and set up the course). On race morning I brought along my racing flats in case I had time to jump in, and after a very sluggish first km I ran 16:59...not my fastest ever but one of my better 5k's. It was a good indicator of my run fitness given my focus on surviving 21km. Unfortunately I didn't keep the podium streak alive, as our little event attracted some very fast times and mine was only good enough for 7th.
*And Amanda ran a PB 5k of 20:06!*
After the race it was straight onto the trainer for another long ride on the real course, followed by a short treadmill run, and swim at night. Those limits I was searching for last week...I found them about 1500m into the swim workout. My exhaustion finally hit me and I barely got my ass out of the pool and into the showers. Luckily I timed it just about right, as the following day I was officially in recovery mode to start a slightly longer than usual taper. Given how well training has been going this winter/spring I'm using it as a bit of a recharge before getting right into training for June/July racing.
So this week has been a much lighter training load, with the addition of some more serious heat prep until I fly out next Wed. I'm really glad no one has walked downstairs yet while I'm on the trainer in 3 layers and a toque, because I'm dangerously close to the line between "is anyone else doing this right now?" and "Have I finally gone f***ing crazy?"
I'm starting to feel my energy come back, and after a couple weeks of questioning where my swim fitness I've worked so hard for this winter has gone, I'm starting to feel more fresh in my workouts and see some splits I'm pretty happy with.
With all the confidence I've built through the winter getting ready for this season, I had to catch myself almost letting it all come crashing down with the news this past week. Maybe I have a very famous reader of my blog, but I had some mixed feelings when Lance Armstrong announced his presence at St Croix...and shortly after seeing the updated pro start list, which had just about doubled since it was last posted.
I had to remind myself, and will have to continue to do so until the gun goes off next Sunday, that I did not sign up for this race for the end result, for a time goal, for a number beside my name. And it doesn't matter how many world champions, Olympians and childhood heros are on the start line beside me. I'm doing this race because it's one of the most challenging in the world, it's great motivation for winter training in Ontario, and it's a beautiful setting to push myself and learn how to race a 70.3. And rather than getting distracted with the inevitable media, live TV and self-assumed pressure that is sure to come with the pro line up at this race...just having the balls to take my equally deserved place on the start line and fight it out on the same level as Lance Armstrong for a day is half my reason for racing. The rest will be to have fun and enjoy testing my new physical and mental limits.