Monday, June 4, 2012

Live Better Stories

There's times during Ironman training (ugh, I know... I'm speaking Ironman-language again, sorry!) that you feel like you need to spice things up a bit.  There's two parts to this amazing event: obviously, the race but then there is the process of getting to the race.  To train for it, stay injury-free and motivated is incredibly hard on the body and mind.

For that reason, I try to keep it interesting and for me, that's signing up for fun-filled weekends with challenges here and there.  This weekend, the Teva Mountain Games was my adventure of choice and I must say it was a big success.

I signed up for the Vail Pass Half Marathon.  Ever wonder how tough is tough?  While for some (myself included at times) running a half marathon may be quite an easy task, when you add 2,900ft of elevation gain it becomes a challenge!  Vail Pass sits at 10,662ft. and that's were the finish line is set up.

Woke up and got ready for my race. I've done this race before and sorta, kinda forgot how hard it was.  I started off at my very own comfortable pace only to see pretty much 95% of the runners fly by me.  It's ok, I'm only training. The views are epic. But the air is thin.  Once past mile 5 it gets significantly steeper and well, you reach 9 and 10,000ft of elevation, so heart rate is high.

I stuck to my plan... you know? The drink every 3-4 miles... eat a GU every 45min or 4.5 miles.  Spotless.  Feeling good... but feeling slow.  It's not that I was slow, it's that well, you just keep going up!  Do we get a break??  NO!  Think about it.. you gotta go 2,900ft up over 13+ miles.  Well, let's just keep moving.

Trying to find a small descent! I'll take ANYTHING!

Last year was a record-breaking year when it comes to snowfall, so when doing this race, we had to run 9.5 miles up and then 3.5 miles down to the finish mostly because the bike path that takes you to the top of Vail Pass was still very snowy. But this year it was sort of a record-breaking year for lack of snow... so it seemed like summer already!  So unlike last year, this thing kept going up! And once we got to last year's turn around point, this time, it just got even steeper.

It's races like these that make me think that maybe I'm not getting any stronger physically, but they're a true challenge mentally.  Which is good training.  Don't they say that Ironman day is all about the mental strength?  We all know you wouldn't be standing at the start line if you didn't feel physically ready, so you gotta train the mind as well.

My BFF found me on the last aid station, she hugged me and gave me good spirits for the last section... It was still damn steep!  Is this ever going to end?  Yep, but not at 13.1 miles... Just keep going for a little while longer... and right before you hit mile 14 then we will set up a finish line! 13.9 miles and 3 hours later, I DID IT!  Long, but steady.  I was content.

One step in front of the other

After my race, I had some food, enjoyed all the events and cheered my man on during his mountain bike race.  On Sunday, we enjoyed more events and cheered my puppy on for his 5k doggie run.  He placed 2nd and even got a medal.  All of this fun, only to come back to do a LONG 3900 meter swim.  Oh, the joys of Ironman training.  T-minus 20 days.

Last switchbacks before crossing the finish line!

Happy puppy after finishing 2nd during his 5k run! 

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