After years of distance running and a handful of marathons I found myself growing bored with the sport and needing a new challenge. The Ironman seed was planted, but I had the little hurdle of not knowing how to swim to get over. Then I had my bike crash, and with it came the long physical and mental recovery. Every bit of bike fitness I'd gained was gone along with my enjoyment of the sport. I fought my way back this season, all along trying to figure out how to improve my limiters - the swim and bike. I barely thought about the run, I knew I'd be able to do it as long as I trained. But I think I always assumed I'd try to have a faster bike and end up doing a survival shuffle at some point in the 26.2 miles. However, this past week and the process of laying out goals made me realize that my Ironman will be all about the run. In order for me to have the race I really want, I'm going to need to run a dream marathon. So the sport I'd grown bored with may just be the one that makes September 13 the perfect day for me.
I did my last really long run today. I covered 20 miles at a pace much better than Friday's 19 mile run. It was just as hot and humid so I started earlier and I decided to keep the pace easy and just get through it. I mentally broke it up into four sets of five miles to make it more manageable, and I vowed there would be no stopping this time. No laying on park benches regardless of how bad I felt. But then I ended up feeling good. I tried to keep my RPE consistent throughout, whether I was on a flat, uphill, in the sun or in the shade. I just adjusted my pace accordingly and had some miles slower than others, but in the end I remained pretty consistent. It felt easy. I fell into a “run forever” pace and wasn’t feeling any pain until mile 18, and even then it was minimal. It was by far the most comfortable 20 miler I've ever done. I have no idea why it was so drastically different from Friday. All I know is I desperately needed it and given the run is now my primary focus for race day, it was that much more rewarding.
Central Park was surreal. The massive storm overnight had torn it apart. There was debris everywhere and huge trees down, closing sections of the loop and bridle path. It forced me to weave around and keep varying my course, which I think made the miles fly by.
I followed the run with my biggest swim yet – 4,500 meters, which is over 4,900 yards or 2.79 miles. I was a little intimidated going in, particularly after such a big run. But it felt great and I swam really strong. I only swim in this particular pool occasionally and I swear I’m always faster there. It’s as though it has a current. It’s a little longer so the ping-pong effect is lessened, but otherwise it’s the same as my usual pool. I was in the water for what felt like forever. I was so shriveled when I got out and took about two hours to fully dry out. I covered the distance, which is longer than the Ironman distance, right on the high end of my race goal. If I can pull that off on race day I’ll be thrilled.
Distance – 20 miles
Time – 3:10:51
Distance – 4,921 yards (4,500 meters)
Time – 1:33:13