Lots of training and STORMS! (BOO! Open water swims canceled!) Normally, we’d all have been in the open water for about a month now… but the weather has just been very uncooperative! So only one open water swim to speak of so far… and let me tell you THAT was an interesting one.
I got there a little behind schedule, was busy talking to my good friend Maureen, who has graciously offered to watch my little monster on Wed nights until John gets home so I can go to Stroke and Stride.
The guy looked to me like he was having a panic attack, which happens to nearly everyone first time out in the open water, in a wet suit. Open water swimming is very different than pool swimming and the first few times can be a very humbling and frightening experience. Anyone who asks me if I have advice for their first triathlon… I always tell them make sure you get in the open water a few times!
Back to my story: So I looked around for a lifeguard and couldn’t see any?! I swam over to him and you could tell he was freaked out so I told him to roll over on his back and take a deep breath. I asked him if this was his first time in the open water and he said yes. I told him the good news is that the wetsuit he had on was one of the best floatation devices he could have. So he rolled over onto his back and I towed him into the beach just beyond the first buoy. I could feel his heart pounding! I reassured him that this happens to everyone… and it happened to me too. I got him over to where he could touch the bottom and asked if he’d be alright and he said yes. I felt bad leaving him, but I could also see he was also a little embarrassed. So I continued on and when I found the lifeguard, stopped and told her what happened and asked her to keep an eye on him just in case he panicked again on the way back.
Crazy first open water swim! I continued on and did 1.5 miles and then a 5k… I felt awesome on my run… and according to my watch finished it in 21 mins… which is CRAZY fast for me… so I must have miscalculated somehow.
This past weekend, I did one of the HARDEST training rides ever. I did the Horribly Hilly Hundred and let me tell you it lives up to its name! Lesson learned for me was to spring for a hotel room close to the start line the night before. 4.5 hours of sleep; getting up at 3 am and 2.5 hour drive up north is NOT the best start to this ride! I got there about 6 am and it was a little chilly. The forecast called for rain and thunderstorms. So I packed up my bike accordingly. After the weekend prior of the cold and drizzle, I wanted to be warm. I threw my arm warmers on and toe covers – packed my wind breaker and off I went. The first few miles were all downhill… Scary downhill, upwards to 35-45mph, downhill. (remember what goes down must go up) By mile 10 we were making our first significant climb… which I latter found out we’d do again at the end – thank you for that!! Holly Hell that hill was tough! At one point I looked down and was doing 3MPH!!! I started to panic a little, thinking I don’t have any more gears to make this easier, can I go any slower and get to the top? I’m overheating! So I stopped half way up and took off the arm warmers and toe covers and started back up. I could feel my lack of sleep was catching up with me. I pressed on, and spent the next 4 hours and 50 mins climbing and winding through some beautiful American countryside. Thank you God, for giving us such a beautiful place to live. The race ended with the same climb we did at mile 10 only it was longer. (4 miles of continuous climb). I was on the smallest gear the whole way up. Talk about willing yourself up and playing mind games. As I struggled and pushed up that last hill, I passed many who opted to walk it. I did not walk any other hills and I’ll be damned if I walk up the LAST one! So I pressed on, and about ¾ of the way up, the lovely race people posted a sign “Beer Ahead!” Which I thought Thank you God- I’m almost there… not realizing I still had some super significant incline to get through first. This climb was one of those where you can’t see the top. When you get to what you think is the top, it just keeps going, and going. With 150 yds left (I DID NOT know that at the time) I opted to stop and gather my legs. They just about quit on me. When I started back up, I got hung up on clipping in my left foot and tipped over... HOW dumb! THAT’s when I heard a spectator say “Only 150yds left!” I got pissed, collected myself clipped in and charged those last 150… Everyone was saying WOW you look great, strong, etc. Umm yeah, you didn’t see me 150 yds back lying on the pavement! It was a great ride, challenging and super confidence builder. Ironman course is hilly but not THAT hilly. Of course, Ironman is a different beast entirely but nonetheless, I did the Horribly Hilly Hundred, I am building fitness and have the pics to prove it! You prob. can't see the huge grimace on my face but it's there!!!