Monday, June 19, 2006

Big Mental Boost

The end is certainly in sight. I had a great weekend of training. Managed to get out for a hard 70 mile ride through the hills down near Joe Pool Lake with Ed, Jason, Kyson, and Bryon. The weather was cloudy and a little rainy. The best part...the temp was only 74 degrees. It was perfect. Managed to finish the ride at about 12 noon and then headed out on the dam for another "damn dam" run. I was planning to go for 1 hour. The other guys went in to the Oasis and ate lunch (I can't blame them). This run would prove to a true mental and physical breakthrough for me.

With the cloudy/cool weather my stride seemed to feel pretty good. There were only 1-2 other cyclists out on the dam so I had alot of time to myself. As the minutes ticked by I realized I felt great. Suddenly 15 minutes down and my feet felt good and my breathing was on target. 22 1/2 minutes down and I'm ready for more (this was the point at which I had trouble the last time on the dam). Before I knew it I was at 30 minutes and about 3.8 miles away from where I started. Of course it was not a blazing pace but my feet were constantly moving and I still felt great. I ate a gel and turned for home. Oh crap! I was almost 4 miles away from the car and now I could see how far I had run. Of course just as I came to the realization that I was in for a struggle on the way home the sun came out and the temp rose almost 15 degrees immediately. Suddenly it was HOT and HUMID!

I just kept my feet moving and kept the goal in sight. I'll admit, several times on the run I imaged what it will feel like to run the final miles of the Ironman race and make a loop around the Olympic speed skating oval before crossing the finish line. I played that scene over and over in my head so many times that day.

I managed to pick up the pace for the last 1/2 mile and made it back to the car in exactly 30 minutes. That means I did an even split off the bike. Even more importantly it means I was able to properly pace myself and make it back with plenty of energy. It was during this run that I started to finally feel as if this race can be completed. I had toughed out just under an 8 mile run at an 7 min 50 sec per mile. While not blazing speed it is certainly more than I could have ever considered of doing 1 year ago.

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