Week twenty and twenty-one. May 12-25, 2014-From a relaxing vacation to a stress filled training week

Week twenty I was in Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic to celebrate my cousin John Michael’s 50th birthday.  He invited some of his family and his closest friends for a fun filled week on the beach.  I was one of the lucky ones that were invited.  The week came in the mist of some heavy training but there was no way I was going to miss it.  I planned my flights so I could get the major workouts in before I left and after I returned.  The workouts during the week were not too bad and I managed to get some of them in.  I know I could have done more but sleeping in always seemed like a better option.  As it turns out this trip, although not good for my training, was good for my body.  It was the first week in maybe 6-7 weeks that my stomach did not bother me.  I think I really needed to rest and relax and that I did.

I want to take a moment and say thank you to John Michael and Richard for inviting me.  I truly enjoyed spending time with my family and with your beautiful friends.  The food was incredible, the beach was beautiful, the drinks were plentiful and the company was amazing.  I feel completely blessed to be your cousin.  I went back home completely relaxed and re-energized. Here are some pictures from the week:

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Birthday boy and me on the beach

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View from my living room

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The beach with sand so soft it felt like flour

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The finest Rose

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Table setting elegant each and every night

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Lobster, ceviche and fish snack on the boat

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John Michael with his favorite sister Ana Maria after the boat ride

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Lobster dinner OMG so good

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Drinks by the pool with the most beautiful moon

Week twenty-one is another story.  It started out with a 4.5-hour ride on the windiest day I have ever ridden in.  I had just gotten new Zipp wheels, which made my bike super light.  That made for a very unsteady ride and it was a bit scary for the first time out with the new wheels but I managed to hang on and finish 62 miles.  I will have to admit there was a time when we did not think we would make it back but we just kept at it and we finally made it home.  I was never so happy to see my house.

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I survived

That was followed by an email from our coach that basically said that some of us were being complacent and we needed to get our butts in gear.  The email went to an undisclosed list of people and the way it was written it seemed like he was just talking to me.  I was most upset because I have been working really hard.  This really stressed me out and I started having nightmares about not finishing the race, which kept me from getting any sleep.  I was determined to get every workout in this week and I did all but one. Not only did I do them but I did really good. I attribute that to the week’s rest and the fact that I am feeling so much better.

This week also included tenting our house for termites. This was just one big pain in the butt.  We had to take all the food out and then move out for a few days.  We stayed at our friend’s house, which was fun but well you do not have all your stuff so it can be tricky.  For instance, we had to move out on Thursday and I was supposed to do a 3-hour run.  When I went to get ready for the run I realized I had no running shoes so I had to scrap that.  Not really an ideal situation but I knew I had a day off on Monday so I decided not to worry and just do it then. Then Friday I got ready to go to my computrainer class when I realized I had no flip-flops so I had to head out in my nice sandals. That was kind of funny. They went really good with my workout clothes.

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Fancy Sandals with bike shorts. Classic

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The house under tent

That night we decided to stop by Happy Hour since Steve hadn’t seen the happy hour crew in awhile. After a couple of drinks I announced to Steve “I need to go I am feeling like I am getting drunk.” He was shocked and responded by saying “I never though I would here you say that.” One of the guys followed up by saying “you must be taking this Ironman thing serious”. It was really funny because it’s true. I even shocked myself when I said that. So we left, grabbed some food at Whole Foods and had dinner with our friends at their house.   It was probably one of the earliest night I have had in a really long time.

Saturday morning we had a swim and bike workout. We had to swim for 1:hour and 15 minutes and then ride for 2.5 hours. The water felt good and I was swimming great. Ended up swimming 1.8 miles. I was pleased with the effort. When we got out of the water the guys told me they were doing Sunday’s 4.5 hour ride and then do the 2.5 on Sunday since it was a holiday weekend. I wasn’t prepared for that so I couldn’t go with them. Since no one was left I decided to head back and do the ride later in the day.  We finally got back into the house at 12:30 and I just started cleaning out the fridge and started washing dishes since I wanted to get my kitchen back in order. Before I knew it, it was 7:00pm and I was starving. So needless to say I missed the ride.

I had made plans with Liz for Sunday’s ride so she met us at my house and we took off at 7am as planned. The ride started out good. I took the lead and basically pulled until Black point Marina. Then Steve took the lead until Robert is Here (a great local fruit stand that has bathrooms and a good stopping point). We took a short break, refilled our water bottles and took off. Well I should have known the wind was going to be in our face on the way back since we rode so fast on the way out.   For some reason I always forget. Anyway on the way back I decided to get into my aero bars and see what I could do. Much to my surprise (and Steve and Liz’s surprise) I kicked butt. I was pulling at 19.5 MPH on a straightaway that was about 3 miles long. Now this may not sound fast but the head winds were strong and I usually do about 12 MPH on the way back so that is huge. Then when we turned and I thought let me really see what I can do in the aero bars so I sort of took off thinking Steve and Liz were right behind me. I later found out they couldn’t keep up. Steve told me he could not believe I was riding that fast. I pretty much took the lead all the way home. We ended up doing 68 miles in the same time we had done 62 miles the week before. I felt great. I was already thinking about the next long ride and how I could possibly keep up with the boys if I drafted. I really cannot wait to see how I do. During this ride not only was I going faster but I was also more confident generally so I was taking off quicker at lights and actually drinking while pedaling. Again this may sound like nothing but for me it’s huge because that is one of the reasons I always get dropped.

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Steve and I after the ride.

After the ride Steve was telling me how him and Liz were talking about how confident I looked on the bike and how amazed they were at my riding. The bike has always been my weak sport and given that it is the longest portion of the Ironman it has been freaking me out. I am super excited at my progress. As Steve said, “you have come along way since you started. Thank God because it was so frustrating riding with you but today every time I looked back you were right on my tail”. That was awesome to hear.

So after the ride I stated seeing Facebook posts about our team mates racing Ironman Brazil. These guys were hauling ass and at the end of the day when everyone was finished I got really scared. They all did so well and some even placed in their age groups.

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Iron Alines Ironman Brazil group: Stephanie, Ralph, Hans (double fisting 🙂 ), Silvana, Ale, Angelo, Mike and Dario

I was thinking man I don’t know if I can do this. Then came another post from my infamous coach Andy.

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Andy’s post. He is killing me.

Gotta love this guy.

This week I managed 86% of training time.  Man I only missed one workout and the percentage was not as good as I had hoped.

▪   Planned workout duration:  18:15

▪   Actual workout duration: 15:45

What I learned this week is that I am stronger than I think. That is really a good thing. I think I needed to learn that. I am glad I was able to figure that out with Steve. His encouragement this week was exactly what I needed to get me across the finish line on June 29.

This week’s quote is really about what happened to me.  I finally set myself on fire. It only took 21 weeks but hey better late than never right?

Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. ~Arnold H. Glasow

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