Fear the Cold, Not the Bear!

Wow! So much to report on today as I sit at the restaurant bar forcing myself to skip my first workout in ten weeks in order to recover and avoid injury. It’s amazing how hard it is for me to not do a single workout in a day. Feels so weird! But I must remind myself it’s for the best.

So I survived my swim focused training week and the run focused week. My run focused week included an extended workout in preparation of this weekends Buffalo Marathon. I fit in a 20 miler after getting back to the airport on Friday. It was UGLY but I knew I needed to push through if I had any chance at finishing this marathon. I quickly followed up with some chocolate milk for recovery and an ice bath. The ice bath was brutal but I can honestly say I felt sooo much better once I got out.

So in addition to my Friday night 20 miler, my weekend consisted of another challenge. Back in January I signed up for the Blackbear Triathlon in Lehighton, PA. When I signed up I clearly wasn’t thinking about the weather for a mid May race. All I was warned about was how hilly the bike course was (that certainly was no lie). So Saturday am I went to the YMCA to get my regular swim in according to plan. I then headed up to the race site to pick up my packet and check out what was ahead of me on Sunday. I got my packet and gazed out into the lake knowing that it was around 60 degrees (temp at the dock, colder where I would actually swim). They were having a swim clinic that afternoon and we were allowed to get in. Peer pressure got the best of me and I’m glad it did. I threw my wetsuit on and walked in. It was frigid, but not nearly as frigid as when it came time to put my face in. Oh My Goodness! Brutal. After about ten minutes I had enough! I headed off to drive the bike course with friends and check out the hills. On the ride I decided there was so much climbing that it wasn’t worth riding my Tri bike. The roadie it would be!

This decision was further confirmed on Sunday morning as I drive to the race site in the rain. What a mess! I never have thought so hard about bagging a race my entire life. Even up to seconds before my swim wave went off. I was really just scared for my safety, especially on the bike course with why would be very slick descents. I didn’t trust some of the other triathletes that won’t take it easy given the conditions in order to save a few seconds (us triathletes can be slightly stubborn sometimes, hehe).

Well nonetheless when my wave got called, I got in the water. Yep, still just as cold as I remembered from the day before, shocker. I gave myself a mental pep talk then put my head in. Brrrrr! But soon enough it was time to go and we were off. I felt strong swimming and really we were well spread out. I barely got kicked and quickly found my own little space which I maintained most of the swim. I focused on just getting to the next buoy one at a time just as I had been taught from the beginning. Before I knew it I was taking the final turn to head into shore. I looked around me and didn’t see many pink caps but rather the cap colors that started ahead of me. Could it really be? When I got out if the water I was greeted by cheers of my awesome friends. I then turned back to verify in fact that there were still plenty of pink caps (my wave) still in the water. I was right! Wow, I looked at my watch in disbelief that it read 30 minutes and some odd seconds. To put things in perspective, my first Olympic Tri swim was closer to 45-50 min. I guess all the time in the pool truly is paying off! At that point I was glowing and didn’t care anymore about the rest of the race as long as I finished safely.

I took my time in transition and then headed out on the bike. I definitely also took it easy in the bike. Honestly, there wasn’t many people around me to push me so I really just took my time and played it safe. There were some good hills out there but I pushed through. I saw a few wipeouts which just reiterated to me to take it easy. One turn had a steep climb after it and I witnessed numerous girls on the ground (I was glad I drove the course and knew to gear for this accordingly). The 25 miles in the miserable rain felt like it dragged on forever. It was also very challenging to see. No one said it would be easy though, right? Well I’ve never been so glad to get off my bike and head for transition!

I headed out after a decent transition to what I thought (and was told) to be a flat run. Ha! Fooled AGAIN! I was quickly greeted by a muddy trail with some rolling hills. I was covered in mud quick! We then headed a bit downhill then wrapped around the side of the Beltzville dam. Well I then came around a corner and then BAM! There was a massive rock covered hill to take you back up to the top of the dam. I loterally said out loud to the volunteer, this is a joke right?! I started to jog up but then figured my time was better spent walking and conserving some energy. Once I got to the top I started to kick it in the best I could. I pushed through and before I knew it I could hear the roar of the finish line. That gave me a little extra push to give what I had left and sprint to the finish. As I crossed the finish line I knew that I truly earned that medal that day! I was absolutely disgusting and couldn’t wait to get home and shower. All of my gear was a mess and loading it in the car was even worse. Gross!

So now you know why I forced myself into a rest day today, I think well deserved lol. This week is my bike focused week and the Buffalo Marathon on Sunday. Oh which reminds me that I omitted the near breakdown I had when the volunteer had to write 30 on my calf in permanent marker at the triathlon! Damn it I’m not 30 yet! Just give me my last few days to enjoy. Ok, end of rant 🙂

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