It happens, some might call it an "AH HA" moment, or then again maybe "OH $#|+!" is more appropriate. But then there is also a moment of clarity. A moment or moments when things fall into place in your mind, and your body just responds.
This past weekend was such a time. A time where I felt all of the above emotions. I woke up before 5:00 am Saturday, and my mind went to my training plan. Yes, it was definitely an "OH $#|+!" moment. The remaining 15 weeks of the training plan before Ironman Florida gets intense. The distances get longer and longer, and phrases like: "race pace"; "negative split"; "tempo"; "hard effort" all populate the spreadsheet. Doubts started to creep in, various aches and pains surfaced as I was climbing out of bed.
Saturday morning driving to Clearwater Beach for what was to be my longest run in quite a while, I was thinking. Probably thinking too much. I was thinking about all of the miles on my training plan yet to be run. All the miles to ride on my bike and the thousands of meters to swim.
We got out of the car, and said good morning to the gang. It was still dark, changed shoes, grabbed some water, and got ready to run. I was worried, but determined to give it my best. As everyone started to run, the group broke up into various paces. I hung back and enjoyed some friendly conversation. The power of the pack is truly something. The miles started clicking off. We stopped for water near the bottom of the bridge, grab some Gatorade and kept going. More miles clicked by, but about 9.5 miles in the conversations seemed to end. I was breathing heavy and talking became superfluous. Things started to hurt, but I felt good! We made the turn to head for the last bridge, and by mile 11 my calf was hurting and going up the bridge for the first time I had walk a bit. But I felt really good!
12 1/2 miles total, this was a great run, with great friends.
Sunday was another awesome training day. We set out to log some miles in the saddle. Now, riding 60, 70 or more miles can get a bit monotonous at times. Not when you're riding with Holly Tripp's crew, let me just say that. Our 63 mile sojourn was a bit of an adventure ride. We set out from State Road 54 on the Suncoast Trail as we do so often topped off our water bottles 21 miles later at Anderson Snow Park. Some turned around at this point but the majority carried on. After riding off the Suncoast Trail and into the western portion of San Antonio we found ourselves at the Neon Cowboy for a photo opp.
Then the adventure began. Just south of State Road 52 we had to climb a fence (Pay no attention to the no trespassing sign). Yes, I said climb. As you can see from the photo we handed our bikes over to each other climbed and helped everyone over. We had a few hundred yards of some rough riding. But we did it and no one got a flat, and no one saw any snakes, always a plus. As you know, I love riding, but even the most seasoned riders find it to be a bit of a pain in the a$$ at times. About mile 47 of 63, the Iron Goof says: "I feel great except for my a$$" It turned out to be a great ride and 63 miles went by quite quickly.
Yes, the entire weekend of training was just what I needed. My mind firmly wrapped around the task at hand of training and staying on plan! My body seemed to cooperate and although my left calf muscle has been barking a bit, all systems are go.
Less than fifteen weeks to go 'till Ironman. Here we come!