It’s that time in training when I’m walking that fine line of either putting in some uncomfortable work or just doing enough to get by for Ironman Wisconsin in less than 50 days. Less than 50 days sounds so small, but there is so much to be done in that time and there’s no, “I’ll do it later” now. Now is the time for discomfort and pushing through the I-don’t-wannas.
In the early miles of my long bike ride on Saturday I had a moment of I-don’t-wanna. The air temp was “feels like 96” and I was slowly pedaling up a hill only 12 miles in on my first loop of the Ironman Wisconsin bike course. I was in for a long day on the saddle with a second full loop ahead of me. After a chat with a nice coach acquaintance on Twitter the previous night, I challenged myself to negative split my loops, meaning ride the first one easy and then work on the second.
Before this ride, looking for any motivation I could, I looked up the symbolism of an elephant because I was wearing my new Coeur Sports Tusk aero top. Elephants symbolize strength and power for both the body and the mind. They are also a guide to help us in a journey that requires patience. Perfect!
The hardest part was taking the first loop easy, falling behind the people I normally hang onto as motivation to ride faster. It was great “run your own race” practice. The other hardest part was how much the wind picked up for the second loop. My ride into Mount Horeb was a couple minutes slower than my first loop. I felt defeated but kept working knowing that whether my watch showed a negative split or not, I was putting in more effort on the second round.
Riding with patience, perseverance and humility, I negative split that ride! My first loop was 16.2 mph and the second was 16.9 mph. Two other splits that I want to boast about are:
- My bike computer gives me 5 mile splits. The 5-mile split that includes Old Sauk Pass and Timber lane was 21:something on the first loop, and 18:something on the second, prompting a fist pump in the air with a loud “Fuck yeah!”
- The 5-mile split that includes Mid Town was 19:something on the first loop, and 17:something on the second.
The next morning I had a 16 mile long run planned. I noted how strange it was to not feel anxious about it. I had no worries, concerns, what-ifs… just a long routine run! Prior to this, my longest run since my spring marathon in May has been 12 miles. Sixteen was a big jump, but I am racing Ironman 70.3 Ohio next weekend and need to build now.
Starting my long run with the Ironworx Multisport team, I was in good spirits. It’s always nice to start a long workout with fun, positive energy. As soon as we started running, my legs gave me some sass and slower-than-normal-for-me splits felt tough. I felt anxiety keeping up with other runners so when we stopped at our team aid station I kept running solo. Sometimes solo running works better for me. Once I was solo my legs started cooperating and I was moving more efficiently. I took this opportunity to push the pace for a couple of miles.
I veered off the route and onto Picnic Point, a beautiful gravel path that overlooks Lake Mendota on both sides. The path is sandwiched between lush green trees and a pop of color from wild flowers. It was a wonderful detour to remember to keep the joy in all of this training.
With that, I’m closing off a 12+ hour training week and feeling good. There will be groans of “I don’t wanna” when the 4:00am alarm goes off, but this is what I signed up for! I could hit snooze and skirt by, or, I can get my butt out of bed and do the work that will give me more “fuck yeah” moments!