Thursday, August 9, 2018

What's Next?

I realized pretty quickly after I qualified for the Boston Marathon at Grandma's Marathon in June, that I didn't think I actually would.

I had people asking me daily, "So what's next?" "You have the whole summer left to race!" I was SO focused on qualifying for Boston that I truly had a one track mind. My mind was already made up. If I didn't qualify, I was going to be running a last chance qualifying marathon somewhere in the local area in August. I had never considered what I'd do if I qualified. Which leads me to believe, I 150% believed that I would still be training to run a marathon right now. 

But we're all well aware that I punched my ticket to Boston on June 16th and I have officially had the rest of the summer to do whatever I want. And I can't express to you enough how badly I've wanted to toe the line of my 7th Ironman and welcome myself back into the triathlon world. Which is why I'm going to do just that.

Ironman Wisconsin 2014
Goal: find the finish line

Ironman Wisconsin was my debut Ironman back in 2014. This year, the race happens to fall ON my birthday and there is a small slew of RyBread friends that are racing (BFG brother included). Would you be shocked if I told you that I'm joining the fun? I mean, I can't let the group celebrate my 31st birthday without me...

But Megan! Your bike legs, you don't have any! And your left hamstring that's been causing you so much distress, what about some good ole fashioned RnR! And the wedding, shouldn't you be planning right now!?

All of these are very valid concerns. But, lemme lay it allllll out for you.

1. It was probably 1 week after Grandma's Marathon that I knew I wanted to try and race an Ironman this year. Location and time of year unknown for sure. I just needed to get back on my bike.

2. During marathon training, I mentioned more than once how much I missed full blown triathlon training. Training to qualify for Boston took it's toll on my body, even though I kept my bike and swim base. Now that I had qualified, I wanted to go back to what I've grown to love, triathlon. I'll finish Boston fully bike trained, but I doubt I could qualify fully bike trained.

3. I gave my body all the time it needed. I checked out the Ironman Wisconsin website and saw that registration was still open (and would be for quite a while). I didn't have to make a rushed decision. Step 1, make sure my body recovers properly from Grandma's. For almost 3 weeks, all of my runs were listed as SLOW in Training Peaks. NOTHING was fast about my running. My bikes were also very slow. I never pushed the pace, I simply pedaled. Eventually I increased bike mileage slowly, eventually started to incorporate back some run speed, and spent almost every morning at the pool at 5am.

Just a casual Sunday stroll in the neighborhood

I even bought myself a new cute suit because everyone loves Summertime Watermelon
4. I told myself I wasn't allowed to sign up for Madison until I felt comfortable that my bike legs would come back in time. How does one know something like that? I ventured North with the BFG and tested out my legs on the Ironman Wisconsin bike course during mid July. If I could pull off 2 loops and still have something left in the tank, Ironman Madison on September 9th, 2018 was a done deal for me.

All systems are a GO
Don't get me wrong though, it's still Madison and kicked my ass.
5. The more I biked and swam, the less and less my left hamstring gave me issues. I was still getting 1 solid speed workout a week on my run legs, but the rest of the week seemed to keep my hamstring in check. Seriously, those people just run crazy amounts of miles without cross training are super human. Everything seemed to be lining up.

6. Rob is back on his night shift schedule. We see each other for a few hours (sometimes a full 24 hours!) on the weekends if we're lucky. It's the busy season, and he has a hard time saying no to weekend work right now. What else is a girl to do on a Saturday morning at 6am if her fiance is just getting home from work? BIKE ALL THE MILES.

7. Most people (other than closer friends and anyone who pays super close attention to Strava) don't even know I've been training. I haven't let it get in the way of life and summer. I recently flew out to Napa, California for Lauren's bachelorette party for 5 days. I didn't have my bike. I had my run shoes and a free 1 day pass at the local pool if I so desired. I drank allllllll the wine and ran according to feel and even cut my long run short because there was wine to be had and I couldn't add 2 more miles and miss out on a solid 15 minutes of wine tasting. 

We had time to spare before hotel check in, so we tripletted the shit out of this pool

Sharing some miles with the bride in Wine Country!

8. I think everyone knows how much I adore Madison, Wisconsin. You'll always hold a special place in your heart for your first Ironman and the city it resides in. It just so happens that mine has one of the BEST crowd supports. It also happens to ALWAYS fall on my birthday weekend (this year, my ACTUAL birthday). And the beauty of this entire course will always take my breath away. (Literally and figuratively). I've always wanted to go back and race. If I let this year slip by without racing, I may never actually get to do it.

9. July 23rd, 2018. D-Day. Only 5 and a half weeks after a BQ marathon, I had signed myself up for Ironman number 7. It's only been 2 weeks since I've signed up. We're exactly 1 month out from race day. And I can't tell you how pumped I am to be back on 2 wheels ready to tackle the backwoods of Wisconsin.

IMWI 2014 Finish line
Guys... I'M BACK!

(But, on next years birthday I plan on NOT racing an Ironman event. I'll do more normal things like drink a few beers and relax or something. Promise 😉)