I look forward to becoming an Ironman. But, I don't think I need to do another one.
It wasn't until yesterday that I truly got excited about this adventure. Several of my friends raced Iroman Coeur D'Alene yesterday. I tracked their progress online and watched the live feed at the finish line. It is quite fascinating -- the live camera captures everyone after they cross the finish line. The announcer states the names of the finishers, so that when I cross the finish line (and I will!), he will say, "Heather Shenkman, You are an Ironman!" People looked tired, but they definitely looked elated to finish.
This weekend, I rode 75 miles on my bike on Saturday. On Sunday, I swam a total of 2250 yards and ran 16 miles. Next weekend, I get to ride 112 miles then run 6 miles on Saturday, and on Sunday swim 2 miles and then run 15 miles.
It is interesting how my skills have evolved with my training. Surprisingly, I've become a faster swimmer. Through coached swimming and a few pointers, my swim stroke has improved and I am faster than I was at the beginning of the season. On the other hand, I'm a slower runner. I haven't done any speed work at the track for months, but then again, that's not necessary when training for an endurance event like an Ironman. While my long run pace earlier this year may have been 9:30-9:45/mile, I find myself chugging along at 10 minutes per mile or slower, and after a long swim or bike, my pace for 15-16 miles may be closer to 11 minutes per mile.
I've been contemplating my nutrition during the race. I've found that a Tofurky sandwich on whole wheat with lettuce, tomato, and avocado fuels me well. I have also found that I can wrap this sandwich in foil and duct tape it to my seat post for consumption later on in my ride.
The event is sponsored by PowerBar, which is a bit of a dilemma for me as a vegan. Their Ironman Perform electrolyte beverage, which they've sent samples of to all of us since it's not available in stores yet, fuels me well for my long workouts. But, the PowerBars contain dairy, as do several of the energy gels. That means I'll have to carry more food on my bike, which shouldn't be a problem. I'll have one Tofurky sandwich, one PBJ, a PureFit bar, and some Clif Blocks. I'll also take a banana, which I usually consume in the first hour on the bike. On the run, I usually go with less solid nutrition, like the blocks and gels.
I've figured out my goal times: 1 hr 30 minutes for the swim, 7 hrs 30 minutes for the bike, and 5 hours for the run. That should put me well toward my goal of finishing in under 15 hours.