Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ready or not - a month of new experiences

August seems pregnant with lots of possibilities and plenty of unknowns!  I feel that I'm usually winding down my summer in one way or another at this point (although past summers would demonstrate how false that statement is), but things are ramping up!

First up - the now over-discussed (by me, at least) Boulder 70.3 which starts bright and early tomorrow morning!  My wave (Females 40-44) hits the water at 7:20, a time that makes me happy, although I can't wait for all the faster waves that start after my wave to swim over me.  Still, the earlier the start, the less time in the heat on the run (I hope!).  I do have a 'race strategy' in mind - basically, I'd like to be well-fueled and well-hydrated so that I don't crash on the run.  A piece of advice that I read regarding one's first 70.3 - "If you think you're going too slow on the bike, you're probably not.  You aren't going to finish first, so leave some for the run."  I realize that some people DO place when competing in their first half-IM, but I will not be one of those people.  The course is not very difficult in terms of challenging hills, but the run is very exposed and can be quite hot.  The weather cooperated perfectly today, supposedly hitting 80 degrees high, but the Weather Channel predicts that temperatures will be closer to 90, if not over it, tomorrow.  In addition to a 'solid' performance (for me - it's all relative), I am also gunning for a good finisher's photo.  It's been more or less impossible for me to accomplish that goal in other races, but it would be nice for this race!

Not to over-analyze how I'm feeling about the race, but I am, at the very least, confident that I can finish (barring crazy technical difficulties, like 2 flat tires).  Not that I want to be on the course for nine hours, but if worse comes to worse, if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes.  I can look back at my training now and think about what I wish I had or had not done, how I could have tweaked it, or ramped up the intensity, but there is nothing that I can change at this point.  I'm definitely a bundle of nerves and excitement, and my biggest hope is to enjoy the experience - have fun, be okay with some (or lots of) suffering, and finish strong, preferably with a smile.

I hope to rest as much as possible post-race so that I am ready to head south to Managua, Nicaragua on Tuesday morning.  It is a bit of a crazy schedule, as a few days of R&R would have been nice (although I've had plenty of those this week and a few more might drive me crazy), but I'm looking forward to being in Nicaragua with colleagues and students!  This will be my first trip to Central America (I usually go north, south or east of Central America), and I am trying to keep an open mind about what to expect. That is with the exception of rice and beans, which I know will form the bulk of my caloric intake while in Nicaragua.  It will be a fast trip, but, just like the half IM tomorrow, I hope that it will be a good, if not great, experience.  I expect that both of these experiences will take me out of my comfort zone and give me much to reflect upon as the summer comes to an end.

Both of these experiences have required a certain amount of preparation.  I feel as though I've dedicated plenty (too much?) of time and energy, both mental and physical, to the half-IM, but for Nicaragua, my preparation has mainly involved attending meetings, getting shots, and stocking up on basic necessities (like insect repellant, a hat, appropriate shoes...).  Preparations for the Boulder race started to feel 'real' this week, as I saw small signs acknowledging the event popping up all over town.  Then, when I went for my final swim on Thursday (that's right, I'm lazy), a huge Ironman trailer had arrived.  And, finally, it REALLY hit me yesterday when I checked in!  With the race looming, I've taken full advantage of the concept of tapering this week.  While I have spent some quality time swimming, biking, running this week, I also got a pedicure, took lots of naps, and watched the Olympics almost nightly.  I've filled the past two days with low-key activities like doing laundry, eating at the Mountain Sun (my current favorite brewpub), and watching an old black-and-white film, "Nightmare Alley".   For Nicaragua, my thoughts have wandered 'there' more often and I even packed my bag today, but it is still a fairly passive preparation.  I think that the experience will feel real when I arrive at the airport - or maybe when I board the plane?

Upon my return, I will have had my fill of new experiences and might be ready to return to the comforting routine of home and then back to school in September!  But until then, there will be plenty on my mind.


Victoria said...

Have a great race - you've definitely trained for it, now enjoy your day!

Kristina said...

Victoria - Thanks for the wishes - it was a great race!