We’re eight weeks out now. I’ve got blisters where there should not be blisters. Anyone who’s done a lot of long rides will know exactly what I mean. If you don’t know what I mean, trust me: you don’t want to know.
A friend passed along a magazine article pointing out that Whistler is one of four races in the world that is actually harder than Kona. I mean, thanks—I think.
Last Saturday I rode to Squamish and back, something I never thought I’d be able to do. I also discovered the wonders of a Snickers bar about five hours in. Oh my. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? Also, we rode out to Richmond, which people did tell me about, repeatedly—and I didn’t believe them about how beautiful it was (see above photo).
I’ve cracked the 10km barrier on the run, finally, and so far, my Achilles tendon is hanging in there. Forgot, and was cruelly reminded, of the importance of bringing both food and water on a longer run. And—I’m back in the open water, which I so prefer to pool swimming. It has made me like swimming again.
This past weekend a number of people I know did a Half-Ironman for the first time ever. Some of them weren’t completely sure they could do it—but they did, and brilliantly. This is what I love about this sport: it crushes limitations. We don’t know what we’re capable of until we stop telling ourselves we can’t do something and instead train to get it done. I never in a million years thought I’d be able to ride 145km. I am now convinced I can do 180—although proof of that is coming in a few weeks when I return to Whistler to ride the full course.
Also, and I never thought I’d say this, I’m enjoying the long rides as much as I love running. Spending over six hours on a bike might sound like a weird form of torture, but it’s actually quite wonderful. It’s the workout I look most forward to now in my week.
In all three sports, when you go long there is this strange combination that happens of both presence and disappearance. You are 100% involved in what you’re doing, but you’re also . . . not there. It’s highly addictive. This must be what meditation is supposed to achieve, though all it ever produced for me was frustration. I much prefer a long ride.
As for the race, I’m starting to think about details: what should go into my special needs bag; should I change between the bike and the run, or even between the swim and the bike? I’m already so slow in transition, and yet the change might provide some relief to the inevitable chafing. Anyone with advice, please don’t hold back.
Terror is now tinged with excitement. This thing is happening soon.
Happy training, and as always, if you like what you’re reading, please share the post and consider following the blog.