Read what lead me to start triathlon training in my previous post: From Runner to Triathlete
We had the opportunity to train on the actual Florida Half Ironman race course this Sunday! So, we packed up my van with 5 race bikes, 5 bags of gear, and 5 of us to head over to Orlando to practice our 1.2 mile open water swim in Lake Eva and then bike the 56 mile hilly course. Melissa, Tiffany and I were excited to see what was in store for us. Our coach, Skye from Tri with Skye, brought her friend, Courtney, along to help with the training. She is an amazing athlete as well as a wonderful mentor!
It was not ideal conditions. The lake was 68 degrees and the wind was blowing so hard that there were actual white caps on the little lake! When I hit the water I felt like I was getting into an ice bath. Skye recommended we did not wear our wetsuits, if possible, so we could recreate race day conditions as much as possible. It was so rough that every time I tried to breathe water would splash into my mouth. I had to float on my back just to calm myself down. After a few minutes I got in a rhythm and figured out how to lift myself out a little more to breathe over the breaking water. But then I couldn’t sight (that’s when you look up to see where you’re going!) because every time I looked up all I saw was a wave. I’m pretty sure I zig zagged all around that lake but I did it! It was only my second open water swim and it was the worst conditions I’ve ever swam in. It really raised my confidence to make it through.
The wind was crazy and made the hilly 56 mile bike course even harder! One of the IM (Ironman) signs was down for the bike course and we got so lost. We ended up having to stop to map it on our phone more than a few times but we made it through. It’s always more fun when there is an adventure! Courtney rode with Melissa and me and gave helpful tips and advice. By the end of the ride she raised my confidence so much. It was the first time I actually felt ready for the race!
The training for my 1st Half Ironman has been trying. I’m only up to 6 miles for my run and I need 13.1 on race day! Will this race include any of my best times? I doubt it, but I’m determined to make it through. I’ve been able to swim and bike the full distance but my hip is still healing and running has not been much of an option. My main goal: FINISH STRONG! I don’t want any regrets on how I raced.
I’m focusing on the experience and the physical and mental strength I’m gaining for this incredible opportunity. I could never do it without my coach, Skye, and it would’t be nearly as fun without my training buddies, Melissa and Tiffany!!!What a journey this has been!