We're well into June, or so it seems (okay, it's only the 5th, but I feel that I'm behind in terms of enjoying my month!). June 1st officially marked the 4 week countdown to Ironman CdA, and I was much less freaked out than I thought that I would be - probably because I was exhausted from the Ojai Century the day before and then my Sunday long run. And then I had to put on a cap and gown and look academic for graduation on Sunday night.
May was filled with somewhat major events for me, in terms of training. Not to measure every aspect of my life in relation to IM training, but I started the month with a great race experience at Wildflower and then capped it off with the Ojai Century. It's strange because when I first saw some of the weeks in May, I thought that the bigger training volume would kick my ass, but once I got into the training, it didn't seem that terrible. There were moments when I felt more 'aware' of the volume and more aware of the fact that I was doing more than I really thought I could, and occasionally my motivation waned and I missed a workout or two or cut some short (there was that really hot week in mid-May when temperatures hit over 100). Most of the time, though, the longer runs, rides and swims seemed like a natural part of a process. There are times when I wonder if I'm training "enough" in comparison to other people, but I remind myself that this training load has kept me quite healthy (knock on wood), with the exception of February's quad issue and my body has held up so much better than I had feared when I signed up for this experience/event. I've definitely made some 'life' choices that did not align perfectly with the triathlon training stars, but going out on occasion with friends to drink margaritas, agreeing to be a chaperone on the annual senior class trip, well, these experiences were important to me.
I confess that I don't actually think too much about the actual IM race at this point, but at times I try to visualize parts of it, and I did have a moment of panic after my first 4,000 yard swim left me completely exhausted and that was without a bike/run afterwards! At the same time, it has been exciting to reach that 4,000 yard marker, to bike 100 miles and to run 18.5 miles. The training has also surprised me in many ways. First of all, the 18.5 mile run felt great compared to a 16.5 run the week before, during which my main focus was to not bonk (a good lesson for me - run with either more fuel or enough money to buy something!). Also, this week, seeing 5x5 minute intervals at a 10k pace, thinking that there was no way that I'd ever be able to hit those, and then seeing that I can still hit faster paces - that made my day! Not that it's all gone that way. The trainer is still my nemesis - I think that I've developed a mental block that makes me hate that apparatus and liken it to a medieval torture device. Still, after spending the month of April away from it and feeling that I'd lost bike fitness, I knew that I needed to get back on it in May. And I do enjoy the payback, those moments when I find that I can push my legs a bit more on that 100 mile ride when I hit some nice easy rollers.
I still have plenty of hard work to do in the next few weeks, and I need to keep myself healthy and injury-free, but I enjoyed much of the "build" in May and I'm looking forward to the next few weeks, ticking off the last long ride, last long brick, last long swim... And then, looking to the big day which will be here in about 24 days now!