About Cassandra Holloway

Runner + Triathlete. Wife. Marketing Professional. Fearless. Coffee + Wine Lover. "Faith Like A Child."

I am ready.

July 23, 2017…my first full Ironman…Ironman Lake Placid 2017.

It’s an event I have been thinking about for four years. A day I have been strategically planning for over a year. A race I have been training for since the day after Christmas…

December 26, 2016. My first official training day for Ironman Lake Placid. As my family slept soundly in their beds, snoozing off the Christmas coma of the day before, I quietly made my way to the gym. It was cold out and a light snow dusted the ground. I was tired and still full from the day before, but I took the first official step of my Ironman journey that morning…

Cold, rainy mornings at 4AM followed. Friday nights spent in were next. There were many solo, dark mornings where I was pissed to be out there training. There were trips to the pool where I dove in and sank to the bottom, feeling miserable, sore and tired. Times when a 5-mile run felt harder than a 15-mile run. There was no glamour in it. There was no medal or smile to flash as I got on the bike trainer day in and day out.…But there were also mornings where I would watch the sunrise and smile to myself, feeling lucky to have the chance to be out there training. There were days I would complete a 3-hour workout by 7AM and feel amazing the rest of the day. There were times when it felt good to get in the pool and just swim. Moments during training where I would be on my bike in the warm sun, surrounded by new friends. Afternoons of hard work followed by the triumph of knowing I had pushed myself to complete it.

It has all been part of my journey. The ups, downs and everything in between. The smiles, the tears, the nerves, the excitement. Through it all I have felt grateful. Not all day everyday, but most days I have felt thankful to be able to do this. To GET to train and to travel to an amazing race venue. Grateful to afford the insanity that is Ironman registration.

I plan to bring all of this to Lake Placid. To reflect on my life and know how lucky and grateful I am. To live in the moment and to take in every last second of the experience. To leave it all out on the course and to compete with my heart and spirit… because I know in my soul that my body is physically capable of what I am about to do. The pain will come, I am sure of that. The dark moments will arrive, but I will push through it. The strongest part of myself will carry the weakest me to the finish line.

I have been on a roller coaster of emotions these past few days. I know that it will get even more intense as we begin the drive to Lake Placid tomorrow afternoon. I’m never sure when a wave of emotion will hit me…when I look at my husband and think of everything he has done to support me and my dream the past 30 weeks…when I saw the sunrise driving to the pool the other morning, knowing it was a drive I had been making since December…when I was on the treadmill and a particular song came on…

My co-workers and friends have been so amazing and supportive of Ironman too. I know that some of them probably don’t understand, but it really means a lot when they TRY to understand. This week I have found myself repeating the Ironman distances to people and every time I do I just want to inject “but it’s SO MUCH MORE than just the distance!!” but I never feel like I articulate that well in conversations. It’s the entire Ironman journey. About the highs and lows, about finding the deepest parts of yourself in the suffering of training. It has been about meeting new people, getting well outside of my comfort zone and about chasing a dream that few people understand.

I had the opportunity to be interviewed by a local news outlet last week. I was featured with Cleveland Triathlon Club and spoke about the club and about training for my first Ironman. A club board member was present as well as another member who has also been training for Lake Placid as his first Ironman. The experience was incredible and I am filled with so many emotions as I watch the video. It’s perfect as I reflect back on this journey.

See the full news story.

So — as I sit here writing this I feel good. I am nervous and I am scared, and that’s OK. I am also excited, happy and eager about the next couple of days. I will never be in this moment again and everyone I will meet and race with this weekend will never be in the same place again either.

Thank you for following my journey over the past 6 months — I will see you on the other side of Ironman!

Cassandra

Ironman Training (Weeks 26, 27, 28)

Well my two biggest training weeks are done and dusted. And even a week of taper is already over too!

12 days until Ironman Lake Placid and I am filled with a variety of emotions and thoughts…

A friend who is also doing Lake Placid wrote a blog post the other day, and she hit the nail on the head by describing her feelings as going from “it’s no big deal” to “this is a REALLY big deal”.

This change of thought happens to me by the hour. Sometimes I think “I’ve been doing this for months, it’s just a catered training day. It’s natural for me. I will be just fine.”

And then the next hour my stomach is in knots and I think “Oh my gosh. I will be so heart broken, embarrassed, disappointed and upset if I don’t finish. How will my life go on if I don’t finish? What if everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong?! Did I do enough training? Do I even belong there?”

And then the next thing I know I’m back to “YES I cannot wait. I can’t wait to experience it all. I cannot wait to be there in the moment. I am a good athlete. It will be awesome.”

It’s exhausting…

SO…here’s what I’ve been up to the past three weeks:

Week 26 Recap (Peak Week #1)
Total Mileage: 217 Miles
Total Time: 21:47 Hours

Week 27 Recap (Peak Week #2)
Total Mileage: 214
Total Time: 21 Hours

Week 28 Recap (Taper Week 1 of 3)
Total Mileage: 131
Total Time:14:03
*This was also our moving week/weekend!!*

My two peak weeks of training were actually really good. I was tired of course, but I wasn’t miserable. The long ride during peak week #1 was an 86 mile ride titled “The Peninsula Death Ride”. I’m not even sure how gravity worked on some of those hills. I rode with a small group of riders. One rider is also doing Ironman Lake Placid, so it was comforting to bounce ideas, fears and comments off of him. Another rider in the group had done Lake Placid in 2016, so it was even more awesome to ask the questions I had rolling around the back of my head. He told me I looked strong on the hills and I really appreciated hearing that. He also pointed out hills that were pretty comparable to Lake Placid and it was a big confidence boost knowing how it felt to climb those hills and still feel good.

Peak week #2 I did a 90-mile ride and a 6-mile run afterwards and I felt fantastic. My nutrition was spot on. I can’t believe how good I have gotten at eating on the bike compared to last year! I also tried eating a bologna sandwich (after reading about GI distress/cramps for endurance athletes and learning that fat intake during big races is important.) I found out that I enjoyed having something more salty than sweet, so I am going to go with one of those on race day. I also ran an 18-miler and a 20-miler and felt decent during those runs. All confidence building workouts.

And alas, 4th of July weekend I had 5 days off work to train and to move into our new house. It felt like a weird Ground Hog’s Day. I told my husband I would be done with my training by 1PM every day and I held true to my word, except I was left exhausted for the actual moving part of each day. (At one point my husband caught me lying down on the ground while painting a wall, it wasn’t very efficient FYI.)

Still the man remains a saint and goes down in history as the greatest husband ever. He was extremely understanding of my tiredness, soreness and stress level. He did the bulk of the moving and lifting and would still make sure I had enough to eat and drink. He didn’t mind when I would pass out at 8PM leaving him to clean stuff up. He comforted me at 5AM when I was almost on the verge of tears about to head out to train YET AGAIN even though I was utterly exhausted. He is the real MVP of my entire Ironman journey, because I honestly could not have made it this far without him.

Over the course of the 5 days of moving — I trained 234.5 miles. Ouch.

So here we are now, completely moved into our new house. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of stuff to put away and organize, but we made it.

My home gym is also coming along very nicely. I’m so excited for this room. I still need to hang stuff up and paint, but I’ve decided I will tackle all of this after the Ironman.

For now I am enjoying my new running routes in a new city during the final days of Ironman training. We live a mile from Lake Erie now, so it’s nice to run up there to the beach. There’s so much going on, but it’s all good and exciting things. I just pray I can keep my sanity and composure. It’s all mental at this point.

“The cake is baked, now you gotta let it cool.” — Referring to the Ironman taper.

Ironman Training (Weeks 24 & 25 Recap)

Tick tock… Tick tock…

33 days my friends. 33 days until I toe the line at my first full Ironman.

“Half of your Ironman journey is showing up on race day knowing you belong there.”

*Technically 33 days as of today!

*Technically 33 days as of today!

The thought of this task is still beyond me. I don’t know if I will ever understand it to be honest. I have been officially chasing this dream for over a year now (but chasing it in my heart for over 4 years). I just started week 26 of training. Weeks 26 and 27 will be my two biggest training weeks of the entire training plan. Then I start my taper in weeks 28, 29 and 30…

But let’s back up first.

Week 24
Total Mileage: 203
Total Time: 17:35

This was my first week reaching the 200+ mile club. Maybe I should have hit it sooner? I don’t know, but it was a great week and I felt good. I raced an Olympic on Saturday and a Half Ironman on Sunday — and PR’d them both!

Previous Olympic PR: 3:18
New 2017 Olympic PR: 2:52

I was stoked to be sub-three hours! My open water swim went well and I was calm and breathed easy in my wet suit. The bike and run went fine too. Nothing really to report, so I guess that’s good! I felt great and my nutrition was on point.

Sunday was my second Half Ironman and I thought it was pretty amusing how I wasn’t nervous the day and night before. It was just a catered and supported training day!

Old 2016 Half Ironman PR: 6:35
New 2017 Half Ironman PR: 6:16

I was really happy about knocking over 15 minutes off my time from last year. My HIM swim was fine and I remained cool, calm and collected (and kind of even had fun)! I tend to hang out at the back of the pack until I settle in and people stop combat swimming. There were a few waves that kind of flustered me on the straight away back to the finish, but I remained calm and moving. It’s weird because I tend to close my eyes when I do an OWS. I find if I open my eyes and stare into the murky water I start imagining I see things! I have read that the swim at Ironman Lake Placid is super clear and you can see rescue scuba divers swimming below you. This seems both cool and terrifying at the same time. I can’t imagine looking down and seeing people below me!

I will just a tad faster on the bike for my HIM this year and the same with the run. I thought I was a little dehydrated on the bike, but thankfully I was able to restore it in the beginning of the run. Overall I felt great after the HIM and again felt good about my nutrition. (Minus the not drinking enough — but in my defense I ran out of water and there was only one aid station on the bike course!) The next day I woke up expecting to be pretty sore and I really wasn’t. My body was well prepared.

Looking back I really, really enjoyed the weekend of racing and met a lot of awesome people. I will remember it as one of my favorite weeks of training on this journey.

Week 25
Total Mileage: 146 Miles
Total Time: 14:26

Week 25 kind of had me depressed for a little bit because my time and mileage went back down. I was trying to give my body enough time and space to recover from my races, while still trying to train, while still being involved in a very busy and hectic week.

It was the week of my best friend’s wedding and I even took PTO on Friday to fit in my training since I knew the weekend was jam-packed.

Friday I swam 1.8 miles, biked 70 miles and ran 6 miles. I felt good, but dang was it HOT outside. Then on Saturday we had to be at the salon for the wedding at 9AM so I started my 15-mile run at 4:30AM. (Run went great — felt good!) I kept telling myself that yes weekday training still counts, but it’s the heavy weekend training that really constitutes as “true” Ironman training. So despite my shorter training week, I got in the two workouts that truly count — PLUS I am a little more rested to start my two peak weeks of training (weeks 26 and 27).

Things are a little bit crazy right now…

I know there is a lot of work ahead of me still during the next two weeks and things are pretty crazy with everything else happening. We are moving July 7 and had family move into our tiny two bedroom apartment last week, so we are pretty cramped right now. Also my normal pool at the YMCA is closed from now until July 1 for its annual cleaning — the worse and most ironic time for all of this, right?! So now I have to drive all over creation and pay extra money to get in my 3 weekly swims. (Don’t worry I’ve already had my mental break down about all of this and at this point I’ve flipped over to problem solving mode.)

Our apartment is pretty much a disaster zone, but there’s not much we can do with 4 people now living there. There are boxes, totes and laundry EVERYWHERE. I used to use our spare bedroom as my Ironman changing room, so you could imagine the confusion at this point in training. I hope I look back on this time and laugh! The good news is I start taper the week of our move, so there’s the tiny silver lining. PLUS our family that moved in is really, really understanding of my training, which I appreciate.

It’s just a lot for an already stressful time, but come midnight on July 23 I will be an Ironman, we will be in our first house and life will be normal again. It will all be worth it!

A Slave to Ironman Training (Week 22 & 23 Recap)

Where am I? What’s happening? Who am I?

As the days tick by I can feel my stress meter increasing. My mind is a blur and I am constantly tired. I am having fun don’t get me wrong. But as I whimpered “does it ever end?” to my husband yesterday on my way out the door for a run, I couldn’t help but wonder how I had gotten myself into this situation!

I can’t even remember what life was like before Ironman training.

*today is actually 47 days until LP!

I feel like every situation or event in my life is dictated by Ironman…

  • A kayaking date we scheduled months ago? No. Too tired after my long brick.
  • Happy hour? Only if it ends at 6PM, plus I won’t be drinking alcohol because I have to be up at 4AM.
  • A family party that starts at 11AM on Saturday? There’s no way I’ll make it. I will only be a few hours into my 6-hour ride and would still need to run afterwards…

And before you say “No no no…Ironman training is all about balance and still making time for your life commitments.” Not right now. I honestly couldn’t image skipping a workout because my anxiety level that I am not ready is quickly taking over my life.

I am the strongest and fittest I have ever been in my entire life…but 140.6 miles strong?! I still can’t wrap my head around it, although big training weeks do help my anxiety a bit. (See why I couldn’t imagine skipping a workout right now!?)

Week 22
Total Mileage: 182 Miles
Total Time: 18:09

Week 22 was my most fun week yet. (Remember I did say I was having fun training — just worrying a lot as well!) It was Memorial Day weekend and I knew a three day training bender was on the horizon. Over the course of the long weekend I covered 181 miles!

80 Miles on Saturday!

Saturday: 2 mile swim, 80 mile ride and 5 mile run (I felt great! I was SUPER focused on nutrition and making sure I was eating every 45 minutes and drinking a ton. You can see how this effected me and just proves even more how important nutrition is. I got done with the bike and felt perfectly fine to run.)
Sunday: 12 mile bike and 13.2 mile run
Monday: 65 mile bike and 4 mile run

By Tuesday morning I felt exhausted and could feel a cold coming on. I had pushed hard, but was proud of my efforts and discipline.

This is how I recovered after my long weekend of training!

I was also able to stock up on nutrition for the last few weeks of training. Only $70 later at Dicks…I needed to order online, but I had used up everything I had over the long holiday weekend.

Looks like Halloween!

Week 23
Total Mileage:165 Miles
Total Time:17 Hours

Week 23 was a little challenging, but having Monday off for my long ride was a life saver. That weekend I was heading up to the Finger Lakes in New York for my best friend’s Bachelorette Party and I knew some drinking and relaxing was going to take place. I actually ended up taking my first rest day since May 9 on that Sunday. That’s a good thing because we enjoyed a lot of wine all weekend!! I did still manage to get in 12.5 miles on Saturday before most of the girls were up. My other two girlfriends ran 2 miles with me (miles 7 and 8 for me), which was nice to have a little bit of company. Also I took PTO on Friday and got in another ride on the trainer and met one of my girlfriends at this AMAZING pool out in Geneva. It’s an Olympic training facility called Spire and has an Olympic size pool! In my normal pool, if I want to swim the full 2.4 Ironman distance I have to swim 87 laps — in Spire’s pool it was only 43.5 laps!

We also practiced swimming in our wet suits for a few laps since I am racing this weekend and I haven’t worn my wet suit since last July! It was just SO amazing!! My normal pool only has 4 lanes (sometimes less) and usually I have to share a lane with 2+ people. Spire has 10 lanes and the lanes are double in size, plus my friend and I were the only ones in the entire pool. It’s crazy! Definitely made me enjoy my 2.4 mile swim more than usual!

Wine tasting!

Fun to hang out with my girlfriends in the middle of the day on a Saturday — normally peak training time!

This weekend I am racing both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday I am racing an Olympic distance triathlon and Sunday is my b-race of the year — my second 70.3 Half Ironman! I am super curious how Sunday will go. It’s crazy how last summer I thought 70.3 was HUGE. I mean don’t get me wrong, it still is a HUGE distance…but it’s not 140.6 huge. I am a little nervous, but considerably WAY less nervous than last summer. This will be my 4th year doing this race (but first attempt at the half distance this year). So I am pretty comfortable with the venue and how the race is ran. I am most nervous for the swim. I just haven’t done an OWS since last August. I hope I am OK in my wet suit as well. Sometimes I tend to panic and have to focus on staying calm and in control. I hate when it feels so tight that I cannot breathe! But if I breathe slowly and calmly I will be fine.

I am really hoping to PR compared to my Half Ironman last summer because I am in way better shape now and because I am comfortable at this venue. Also racing back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday will help to simulate a longer distance at race pace.

I’m chomping at the bit to see a starting line! Here’s to hoping this weekend goes smooth and helps boost my confidence levels.

Ironman Training 3 Week Recap – Weeks 19, 20 & 21

Week 19 was a fun week, primarily because I got to attend the Cleveland Triathlon Club tri camp. I only went one day (oppose to camping and going three full days), but the overall experience and knowledge gained was awesome. Plus I LOVED being able to train with other people! (Most times I am a lone wolf when it comes to training.)

Week 19
Total Mileage: 110 Miles
Total Time: 11:15 Hours

Camp was a blast and I felt really good about how I handled the hills of Mochican State Park. I know that I am good at climbing and can remain steady. To me it’s about getting it over with. Hills make long rides go faster. If I am dreading a hill at mile 24 — then mile 24 is going to appear a lot more quickly! (It’s all mental really.) Most riders just suffered up the hill ever so slowly and I felt like I was going to topple over if I slowed down like that.

The weather was fair. Decently chilly, but not totally miserable and the rain held off for Saturday at least! I also attended a swim clinic at camp and found out what has been causing my knee pain during my long swims — I tend to swim pigeon toed! (I know — seriously?!) I was given some drills to try to correct it and some pointers to think about. (Swimming is hard you guys. I don’t have the muscle memory of a good stroke. It’s constantly thinking about your motion the ENTIRE swim.)

I went to tri camp on that Saturday and then the following morning on Sunday I ran a 5K in my hometown with one of my girlfriends. I knew my fitness had increased and I am in great shape — so I figured I was going to PR this race. Although I think I’ve gotten the same time before (25 minutes). I was happy to see that I also got 3rd female overall in the 5K. This is probably because there were only 71 participants in the 5K, but STILL! (Although I was laughing to see that the 2nd overall female was in the 10-14 age group,  LOL!)

Week 20
Total Mileage: 169 Miles
Total Time: 16:39 Hours

Week 20 was my first 100-mile ride. I knew I needed to just get it over and done with. It took me just over 7 hours to complete. It left me feeling exhausted and a little worried about the 8:10 cutoff for 112 miles during the actual race. Mentally though, it was even tougher. The fact that I was out there solo didn’t help. At one point I was playing “scattergories” in my head with myself. Also I rode on a bike trail that crossed over a lot of busy roads, so I know I won’t have to stop and start like that during the actual race, which will shave down on time. I also realized I need to get better at eating on the bike. I would stop for 10 minutes at a time. During the actual race I plan to stop twice to pee and that’s it. (None of this “peeing on the bike” nonsense I have heard about!)

I was so happy to see this.

I was so happy to see this.

It was cloudy and overcast during my 100-miler and I didn’t think twice about sunscreen until it was too late.

I read online — 14 X 8 = 112. So I just need to focus on going about 14 miles per hour on the bike. In theory when I read this I was like “WOW. 14 miles per hour?! That’s nothing!!” But the bike course in Lake Placid is like no other. Hills upon hills. I’m wondering if I can maintain even 14. Luckily I live in a hilly area and have ample time to climb and practice still. I am still nervous though. Sometimes it really shakes my confidence to look down at my speed while climbing and see 12 miles per hour. My strategy will be to hold 14 during the majority of the race and allow myself to recover under 14 for 1-2 minutes after each climb. Then I will need to power the downhills. Last week I reached 41 miles per hour on a downhill. I’ve heard you can get upwards of 50 down the hills at Lake Placid!

Week 21
Total Mileage: 177 Miles
Total Time: 17:20 Hours

I’ve read a lot about average training volume and time during Ironman training. I know I can’t compare myself to other people’s training, but I did read one guy’s theory that he aimed to average about an Ironman distance (140.6 miles) a week. I read that and figured it sounded pretty reasonable and it would be a good gauge for me. Obviously I am still following the Be Iron Fit guide, but this also gives me a good base to aim for. Also I followed the Intermediate Program for the first 20 weeks of training and just recently switched to the Competitive Program last week because I felt like I had more to give.

I feel like recently I have climbed over a plateau in my training. Although I am still nervous and questioning myself most days, I have honestly felt myself get stronger over the last 2-3 weeks. It’s hard to explain. On Sunday I rode 57 miles in 3:45. At first I felt defeated because I completed the Half Ironman bike in 3:10. Then after I thought about it I realized that it was a great time. My race goal is to be at 56-60 miles by 4 hours. I was 15 minutes early and I climbed A TON of hills on that ride. For the first time in weeks I felt a wave of relief wash over me…I would make it. If that ride was the first half of the race then I would have probably made the 8:10 cutoff. Having that feeling was a huge confidence boost. Also I plan to take the first lap of the bike very easy, then start hammering out the second loop, so hopefully my second loop time will be faster.

There’s so much to think about!! The constant stress hanging over your head. Can I do this? What if I fail? The breakthrough moments where you believe you can. Trying out nutrition plans. The threat of GI issues in the back of your head. What if I bonk? What if I can’t remember to eat on time? What if I stop too long and miss the cut off? The anxiety to pack everything. The nerves of a flat tire. If I’m already stressed about the cut off time — what if I flat and have to take 20 minutes to change it? So many concerns, thoughts, worries…

Then add in a little thing called buying a house and BAM

And yes that is what’s happening. We close on our new house TWO WEEKS before the Ironman. We close July 6. Ironman Lake Placid is July 23 and we are staying the following week. My only defense is that I will be tapering, but the thought and craziness of moving and things being out of place is beyond me. My husband has assured me it’s going to be alright, but I know myself and my nerves and I know I will be a basket case. I’m not sure how this is all going to work. Training is a part time job right now. Throw in the other things and I’m not sure what will happen…

The only thing left to do is to keep plugging along I guess. I am thrilled about our new house. I’m also over the moon about the fact that I will have a home gym in the basement. It’s our first house and that is SO special, but the timing here isn’t so great. We’ve been house hunting for almost 10 months and for it to line up this way!? It’s a double edge sword. At this point I’m just laughing… laughing because I’m nervous, excited and to keep from losing my mind!

Here’s to Week 22 — CHEERS!

Ironman Training — 2 Week Recap (Weeks 17 & 18)

It has been a whirlwind past few weeks. Life has consisted of — work, Ironman training and aggressively house hunting.

Week 17
Total Mileage: 102 Miles
Total Time: 11:40 Hours

Training is tedious. I also can’t help but feel like I’m never doing enough. I know after I get a few big Ironman training weekends done I will feel a little more prepared, but I can’t help but think “How is this all supposed to come together!?”

I’ve been itching to get outside, but alas the weather in Cleveland has been cold, dreary and downright unpleasant (most of the time). We’ve had a few breakthrough days, which I’ve taken advantage of, but not nearly enough.

Week 18
Total Mileage: 117
Total Time: 13:33 Hours

Week 18 was my highest mileage volume and biggest chunk of time spent training to date. I had a giant workout planned for Saturday and of course the forecast was 100% chance of rain and 40 degrees.

I did manage to swim the full Ironman distance swim however! It was a daunting task (87 laps) and I had to psych myself up for it — but I had a blast and it really helped my confidence. I finished in 1:40 exactly and I felt good during and after. I even met a fellow triathlete at the pool who did Ironman 70.3 Ohio and was training for the Mussleman Triathlon up in New York.

I love the “Women For Tri” Facebook page! It’s so supportive and friendly. I have had a few bad experiences with social media and rude triathletes, so this page is always refreshing.

After my Ironman distance swim I hopped on the trainer for 3:20 and biked 50 miles (and also lost my mind). Then I headed out in the soggy rain and ran 4 miles. I was amazed by how good I felt. My first 3 miles were in the 9:30s and then my last mile was 8:57! I did feel like I was bonking a little during the last mile, which is a reminder that I need to eat every 3 miles or so during the run. Maybe even more. I am working on nutrition and trying to figure out what works and what my plan for Lake Placid will be.

Trying to plan out tentative nutrition plans for LP!

Ahh yes the 4th discipline of triathlon…laundry and piles of things everywhere. Thank goodness we have a spare bedroom for my Ironman changing and supplies.

This weekend I am going to an all day triathlon camp with Cleveland Triathlon Club. It will be from 8AM to 8PM… And OF COURSE…it’s supposed to rain and be 50 degrees all damn day…*sigh*

That’s OK though…maybe. I’m bummed about it yes, but the fact that I get to go and train with other people will be a nice change of pace. We might end up riding inside with our trainers, but at least I will suffer in the company of others…right??

Pray for us out here training in Cleveland!!

I like this quote because this week I had a mini meltdown trying to average out my tentative finish time for LP.

I read an article about a guy who missed the cutoff by 10 minutes so he got a DNF. How heartbreaking and devastating. I texted my husband and mom freaking out saying I wasn’t going to finish and they quietly talked me off the ledge.

I need to remember that this is my journey and I am in no real danger of “not finishing”. PLUS worrying about it like an insane person doesn’t do anything for my mental health. I know this is a common fear and once again (I’ve written about this numerous times mind you) I need to relax and trust the process. I am doing everything right. This is my race and my journey.

It’s me VS. 140.6 and with every long training day it proves I am getting closer to my dream. We are just under 12 weeks out! Let’s go!

Ironman Training Weeks 15 & 16

So far in the 17 weeks I’ve been training I have missed 2 hours and 10 minutes of training. I say this half sarcastically and half concerned LOL.

I was talking to a friend about Lake Placid the other day and she said “Feeling like my training can’t possibly be enough” and I’ve never heard more truer words!

I know from what I’ve read and comments I’ve received that it’s common to always feel behind and that you aren’t doing enough when Ironman training.I guess it’s just a huge relief to know that so many other people feel the same way. It’s just so crazy. How can you possibly prepare the body for 140.6 miles in one day? HOW?! Will I ever feel ready? I know I have gotten stronger over the past 17 weeks, but I also don’t feel nearly ready enough.

Is there ever going to be a moment where I think “YES. Bring it. I feel ready.”?! Oh sweet baby Jesus I sure hope so…

Regarding my 2 hours and 10 minutes of missed training — two hours were separate 1-hour rides each and the 10 minutes was a long run cut short due to tsunami level pouring. (In my defense I was already running right past my house so I just called it quits a tad early.)

Week 15
Total Mileage: 101
Total Time: 12:06

Week 15 was the second time I’ve ever rode my new bike outside. I was so excited to get out there and it was a beautiful day. I rode 62 miles and two of my friends rode the first 30 miles or so with me, which was nice. I was happy that most of the route was on a bike trail, so I felt safe and wasn’t just pedaling around trying to fill miles. I made sure to practice good nutrition too as I have a bad habit of not wanting to eat on the bike. This is really a priority for me — to nail down my nutrition plan for Lake Placid.

Also in Week 15 my mom and I went to a three hour bike maintenance clinic. (Figured this kinda made up for my 1-hour bike training I missed that day!) I feel so much better about changing a flat tire now, which thrills me as that is my #1 fear for the full. I still need a lot more practice, but I am getting more and more confident.

Week 16
Total Miles: 85 Miles
Total Hours: 10:28

I finished up Week 16 on Easter weekend down in Cincinnati visiting my parents. I had to run 10 miles on Saturday so my mom and sister-in-law rode bikes while I set out on foot. Of course it started raining almost instantly as soon as I started, but I pressed on and actually felt really awesome during and after.

Hubs and I on Easter Day.

Now I don’t know if I’m just paranoid from hearing horror stories about other runners, especially recently with the woman in Seattle, but something weird happened while I was out on the bike trail. It was around mile 4 when I saw the same red truck at two different parts of the trail. Of course this section was not crowded and it had probably been 10 minutes or so since I had seen anyone. When I saw the same truck the second time (just sitting with the engine running in a driveway off of the trail) I started sprinting. My heart rate was through the roof. Part of me was saying “You’re being dramatic it’s probably someone just looking at their phone trying to find parking for the bike trail” and the other part of me was saying “Why is that truck near me again? Did it follow me? There is NO ONE around me and that is very bad”. I sprinted until I saw a few people and then I stopped to try to gather myself. I talked myself down and continued on, but decided to run without headphones for the rest of my run. It was a creepy feeling and I sure hope I was wrong and it wasn’t anything to worry about.

Despite that weird situation, the run was good and I finished Week 16 with a smaller mileage than the previous weeks.

This week I am focusing more on nutrition both directly in training and my diet during the day. I find I binge at night and undo all of the good, wholesome eating I did that day. I’m making it a priority to eat more clean and to only have ONE cheat meal a week. Nutrition is a balancing act with endurance sports. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum — eating too few calories and bonking during workouts and eating too much and gaining weight when I’m averaging 80-90 miles a week. It takes work and sacrifice, but I know it makes a difference in my overall training and how I feel. This is my accountability post that I’m going to radar in on good nutrition!

Stay safe and keep training hard.