In theory, a bike ride up Skyline Drive should be harder on the legs than a bike ride around Culpepper, VA. In theory. In reality, Culpepper made my legs hurt more than Skyline ever has. Though the majority of Skyline's climbs are long and steady, sometimes lasting for miles, there is nothing terribly steep. Culpepper, on the other hand, only had one climb lasting for awhile (and it wasn't really that long), and some of the climbs were steep - the whole ride was just filled with rollers. There wasn't much time that you could just sit back and relax or take in a nice long descent. It was constant shifting, pedaling, and up and down. For 100 miles. I also spent the first hour or so of the bike working like heck to catch up to people - I was taking my sweet time in getting my bike all ready to go, stopped by the porta-john, and when I came out, everyone had rolled out - oops! I caught up to Bob Young and he and I averaged a very decent pace until mile 25ish... then a giant hill came along, killed our average speed, and it never quite recovered after that. It was great to be doing a Team Z ride - the sag support is always good peace of mind and the company is always great. I had a T-run to do after the ride and while it was REALLY tempting not to do it (it was 90+ degrees and all I wanted was frozen yogurt and fruit), the run has been my nemesis and I'm not going to get better at it if I constantly skip my T-run. My friend Brian who I drove down with was very nice and didn't mind waiting while I did my run immediately after the bike, getting it over with right there, rather than waiting until I got home for the run misery.
I woke up Sunday morning with very sore and tired legs, facing a 2.5 hour run. I've done Ironman training before, but this round feels harder. I like to think it's because I am taking it more seriously than before and putting forth more effort and working harder. But we'll see what the results are come Ironman Lake Placid time. Sunday's run was a major effort in mental fortitude and focus. Admittedly, I didn't do a great job focusing during the majority of the run - the Air Force cycling race was going on when I ran by the AF Memorial and Pentagon so I slowed down and took a few photos of that. Then it was hot out so I kept stopping by various bubblers along the Mall to refill my water bottle and take a few additional swigs of water myself. While I was running through Georgetown, a staff member at PinkBerry was standing outside giving away samples and I couldn't help myself and I stopped and sampled (sooo good). Miles 14-18 were rough. The sun was out in full force, it looked like I'd been swimming I was so soaked in sweat, my legs were tired, and I was not the happiest camper out there. Soon I found myself doing what I tend to do in triathlons when I am tired: lollygagging on the run. The wakeup call came when I was on the bike trail around mile 14 and this girl zoomed by me like I was standing still. At first I just let her go, but then I thought hey, maybe you should pick up the pace. See how I feel. Maybe it won't be so bad. It was still bad, but picking up the pace was less painful than I thought it would be. I didn't catch back up to the girl, but the distance between us didn't increase. For the rest of the run I just focused on quick turnover of my feet and moving forward. I stopped thinking about anything else and felt myself just retreat inwards and focusing on the ground just a few steps ahead. My last three miles were my fastest ones of the day (as well as the most painful). I think I need to do this type of focus more often on race day.
I had a swim on my schedule for Sunday afternoon. I met up with Katie at the outdoor pool in Alexandria and I don't know if you'd call what we were doing swimming, unless you count tooling around with giant paddles (and I mean giant paddles - you felt like a loggerhead turtle lumbering through the water with them) and having swim races using the ankle straps as swimming. Oh, and we can't forget playing with the diving board. Let it be noted that even if you were on the diving team in college (and I use this term "on the diving team" loosely because I was a TERRIBLE diver and the only reason I ever competed was because there weren't enough people and they needed to fill spots), if you haven't touched a diving board in about 10 years, DO NOT expect to be turning out beautiful 1 1/2s or anything like that. Expect, instead, to look like a person who has zero clue what she is doing. In front of a poolful of people. Yup. I was one and done.