My first triathlon of 2008 is tomorrow.

I’m doing Captex tomorrow, which is an Olympic distance race. It’s a 1.5K swim (.93 mile) , 40K (24.8 mile) bike, and 10K (6.2 mile) run. My goal is not to race as hard as I can but to move at a good clip and remain comfortable the entire time. The key for me is that I want to run the entire run. I want to see that my training has brought me to the point of being able to complete this distance with no walking. That would be a huge confidence booster for me.

This was a rocky week. My run on Wednesday with Caroline felt difficult, as did my swim on Thursday night. During the swim, I felt as though I had only one gear the whole time. Friday was better. I had a nice run with Jenny and a strong lower body session with Jake. Then this morning I biked 25 miles. It was easy going out and hard coming back because of a headwind, but it was generally an easy ride. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

I did confirm this week that I do in fact have a house in Coeur d’Alene. I’m actually staying in Coeur d’Alene four nights and Spokane one night, so that I’ll be near the airport for an early morning flight. I think the house was a smart move. I’m hoping it’ll make life easier for all of us.

I can’t believe that the race is a mere 29 days away. So much of the last year of my life has been focused on June 22. I’m at the point where I am at least once daily visualizing my finish and it brings me to tears each time. I so want this. I want to know that I can do it, and I want to enjoy race day and feel good and trained for it. And I want to wake up the next morning, put on my finisher’s t-shirt, and buy some finisher’s gear. I want the 140.6 car decal. I want a finisher’s jersey, and I want a finisher’s fleece. I don’t know exactly when these things became so important to me, but they have.

I am so lucky to be able to give this distance a try. I am lucky to be healthy. I am lucky to have the time and the resources to invest in this effort. I am lucky to have like-minded friends and a supportive family. I am lucky to live in a town that caters to the triathlon obsession. I am just lucky.

The excitement is building.

I now have a house in Coeur d’Alene. Or at least I believe I do. I’m working out the final details for it, but I have every reason to believe it’ll work out. It’s supposed to be just a few blocks from the transition area, which will be easy for me and for my family while I’m out on the course. I’m struggling a little to believe that I really have come this far.

I have just a few more weeks or hard training. This week is relatively light on my schedule. I rested yesterday. This morning I lifted. Tonight, I’ll swim. Tomorrow I’m swimming, then running with my sister (6 miles) and then doing a short (maybe 1 hour) ride. The Then on Thursday, I’ll do a swim in the morning and, if I make the training group workout, a brick workout in the evening. Friday is supposed to be an off day, but I’ll do my session with Jake. It should make for a good week.

I’m still processing all the information Judy gave me over the weekend. I have much planning to do still – clothing, gear, transition bags, special needs bags, nutrition, etc. But the fun is in the details, right? Or is that the devil?

Five weeks and counting…

This was a big weekend for me. On Saturday, I did a 2.4 mile open water swim in 1 hour and 26 minutes. I followed the swim with a 48 mile bike ride with my friends Judy and Ainsley. I only got off the bike to make Aren’s final baseball game of the season. Much to my delight, I felt really good coming off the bike.

This morning I did a 25 mile ride just to get my legs working again. I probably should have run this morning instead of biking, but I’m feeling like I need every minute I can get on the bike during these final days.

The best part of the weekend as far as the Ironman goes is that I spent about two and a half hours with Judy today picking her brain on what to take, what to wear, and what to do when I’m there. It was most helpful. Plus, I got to watch her athlete video and the video she made of her experience. Both were extremely inspiring. I’m so looking forward to the big day!

Less than six weeks to go…

Can that be right? What was once a year away is now less than six weeks away. Unbelievable.

I was emailing over the weekend with a friend who has done Arizona. He was telling me about transition bags and the changing tent and recommending that I take the extra few minutes to change into bike shorts and fresh running clothes. I need to sit him down and say, “What else do I need to know?” I think I would benefit quite a bit from his experience. His and Judy’s. She has also offered to take me to dinner for a pre-race hurrah and information fest. Jeanie – she’d like you to join us too.

This week, training has been good. I ended up taking Mother’s Day off because my body was tired after Saturday. Truth be told, my mind was tired too, so I gave myself a chance to breath. I went out to Henly with the family and got to visit my sweet Skylar’s resting place.

Then on Monday, I swam 3300 in the evening. The big set we did was 3 400s, which I did on 7:15, 6:57, and 6:44. I was pretty pleased with how effortless it felt. Then we did 10 50s on a minute, and I managed to keep those between 45 and 47 seconds each. All in all, it was a great workout. I’m feeling pretty good about our open water race this weekend.

After I swam, I hit the gym for a painfully boring stationary bike ride. I played little games with myself, all geared towards passing the time, keeping my cadence up, and helping keep me on a 15 minute pace. I ended up at closer to a 16 minute pace at the end of the hour. I was pleased. I finished about 10pm and was so energized that I didn’t manage to get to sleep until about midnight.

This morning, I didn’t feel at all rested from my late night workout but I still managed to run with Jenny for 3.5 miles and then have my lifting session with Jake. Thankfully we did upper body.

That’s it for me today, so I get the whole rest of the day to recover. I need to eat well and try to get to bed early so I can make my swim and run in the morning. I’m very good at convincing myself that I need more sleep. I just need to get better about convincing myself earlier in the evening rather than early in the morning.

I ventured into the open water today and survived.

This evening we did an open water swim at Mansfield Dam with Texas Iron. It was a tad eerie, but I managed. We had a nice big group, so I think everyone kept the fishies safely at bay. I’m feeling better about the Austin Triathletes swim on May 17 now that I’ve actually been in that water. It’ll be interesting to see what 2.4 miles feels like in the open water.

Generally, this has been a good week. Tuesday I ran and did strength training. Wednesday I ran again with Caroline – the same 6 mile course. Today I just swam. Tomorrow I’ll do strength training and run again. Then I face a big weekend. My plan is to run in the morning for an hour while at my retreat and then bike in the afternoon for as long as I can stand to be out there on my own. (Plus, it’s supposed to be a scorcher.) I’m hoping it’ll be a good four or five hour venture. Then I’m doing a 2.5 to 3 hour run on Sunday morning with a short swim and ride Sunday evening. I’ll need to get more biking in next week.

All in all, I’m still feeling good about how I’m doing. Next week is a pretty full week on their training scheduling, so how I feel at the end of next week will be a good gauge, I think.

I’m feeling lucky today.

Yesterday was a wonderful day. I got up and rode for a bit so see how my legs would feel after the long ride of Saturday. They felt great, and I managed to get some good time in my aerobars. I tend to stay out of them when it’s windy, but Sunday morning was beautiful. Then I went to church, went to a Round Rock Express baseball game with Carol, Bill and the kids, and then did a barbecue and baptism event at my church. It was a full day. It was busy, but all day long I was thinking about how lucky I am to have a church community, to have my family nearby, to be healthy, and to be able to put time towards training for a race like this one.

This morning, I met my sister Caroline to run for a bit before I came into work. She dropped the kids off at school really close to my house at 7:45, and I met her then. We did what turned out to be 6 miles at just over an 11 minute pace. As I was running, I realized how lucky I am to be able to meet my sister at 7:45, run for over an hour, and then get to work close a little after ten. I know not everyone has a job that allows for that flexibility. I do, and I’m thankful for that. The people I work with have been wonderfully supportive of this venture. I hope they know how much I appreciate that.

I had intended to swim before meeting Caroline, but I slept in because I woke up a bunch of times last night due to a storm. So I need to go swim tonight. It’ll feel good to get back in the water. I haven’t had a swim since Thursday.

I highly recommend the Shiner G.A.S.P.

Today, I rode 85 miles to the Shiner Brewery in Shiner, Texas. It was a very well supported ride and a beautiful course. My aim was to do it in less than 6 hours, which I managed. I came in at 5:45. I did stop at every other waterstop, and I made myself drink a lot on the bike because I still struggle with that, particularly if there’s any kind of wind. Today, we had quite a bit of wind, but I did well with it. I got spooked a couple of times with cross winds that almost knocked me over, but for the most part, the ride was fine.

I spent quite a while at the after-ride party at the brewery waiting for Mom to pick me up. Normally, I bolt, but I’m glad I didn’t today. I spent much of the time talking to the father of my doubles partner for when I was a kid. I couldn’t believe that he recognized me 18 years later, but he did. It was such a treat to see him and his wife. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity to catch up if I had left in a hurry, so I’m thankful Mom was running late.

I’ll definitely be doing this ride again.