I just finished my first day (just workshops this week) at a new job and I’m pretty overwhelmed with all that I need to know, to do, to plan and to teach this year. So I’m going to think about all that I tackled yesterday in order to give myself a little courage!
Big Brick Day is an event put on by Prairie Athletic Club in Madison. For just $20 I was able to swim 2.4 miles in Lake Monona, bike the Ironman Madison course and then run 40-50 minutes. They supported the group by organizing us, guiding us in the water on kayaks, leading the group ride on the course and staffing several aid stations along the course. The coaches were kind and helpful, as well as very encouraging.
I went off course a few times on the bike course (more on that later) and I felt super lucky to have people to call who could reroute me. Chris Thompson was especially encouraging and her positivity really lifted me up at one aid stop in particular!
The group met at Law Park on Lake Monona at about 5:30am. Michaela (my Coeur Sports team sister) and I woke up at 4:25am to start the day and then drove over to Monona Terrace. We quickly arranged our step up and walked down the helix to check in. Before I knew it we were putting on our goggles and walking into the water. Actually, it was the perfect beginning. We didn’t have any time to hesitate because we hopped right into the water to start.
As we swam out along the shore the sun began to rise over my left shoulder and I had one of those perfect life moments when everything was just right. I felt like ALLLLLL those master swim workouts were worth it and I simply loved swimming right there in that moment. I am grateful for the experience because I’m sure it won’t be that peaceful on September 10th!
Maybe it was the ability to just swim out on a big lake or maybe it was because we started in the pre-dawn light, but the swim went by unbelievably quickly and we were back on the beach 2.4 miles later.
Michaela, Steena (Coeur Sports sister from Madison who is also racing IMWI) and I walked up the helix to change gear and to retrieve our bikes. It wasn’t the fastest transition but before I knew it we were rolling out of Law Park and headed out to ‘the stick’ of the bike course.
Let’s just discuss the hills. When I signed up for the race I pictured that by the time I had completed this much training, my quadriceps would be GIGANTIC. I truly thought that the only way I’d be able to tackle FIVE thousand feet of climbing over 112 miles was to basically become a Hulk’d-out version of myself. Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen me for while: it didn’t happen!
Instead of becoming a total beast (I wish!), I’ve had to become a little smarter about my approach to hills. I’m working on steady effort. I try to be in the moment of a climb while pushing forward to the top. And dangit, it was SO MUCH fun. Even the infamous Barlow Road. I kept telling myself: you are one bad mamajama over and over. It worked!
And going downhill? Why doesn’t anyone talk about all the blazing fast descents on this course? Incredibly fun.
Oh, yeah I got lost about 4 times (all my fault). And after the 3rd time I came across Michaela!
Race lessons? My nutrition plan is just right. Hydration is where it’s at. And carry 2 or more copies of the race course!
Here we are back to my new job. I am going back to the classroom to be a library/media specialist this school year! Along with tons of excitement, I am feeling more than a little nervous about getting the library and the curriculum ready in one week before school starts. It is not ideal to race an Ironman in the second week of school!
It was critical that I get home last night after the Big Brick Day so that I could wake up this morning, run 2 hours (I made it to TAPER!) and then get myself to teacher workshop week. To that end, I found a ride home with an amazingly generous and sweet couple from St. Paul who had also spent the weekend Ironman training in Madison. Since I’d lost the course 4 times, I was late getting back to start the run and I couldn’t bring myself to make Shan & Helen wait too much longer to start driving home. My 5 mile run turned into 3 and then we were off on 94 headed east to Minnesota. The good news is that my legs felt great and I knew that on September 10th, when I get to run the full 26.2 miles, I will be able to do it.
MY BIG TAKEAWAY
I can totally do this. Also? If you plan, train and stay organized you could to! Now, I just need to take these newly acquired skills and see if I can tackle a new job with the same determination.