Saturday, July 19, 2014

8 Sleeps to Ironman Lake Placid

8 more wake ups to hitting the waters at Mirror Lake and starting my 3rd Ironman, the iconic Ironman Lake Placid.  Unlike going into Ironman Cozumel (read that post here), I am not making it to the start line injury free and happily trained.  So let's back up a bit to record what's been going on for the past 6 weeks.

About 6 weeks ago we packed up the truck and headed to Lake Placid for a training weekend.  It was amazing, marvellous and  beyond my wild imagination!  We were lucky enough that Carole and Jared joined us to keep Calli Anna company while Barry I got to train on the course.  We left Jensen home with the grandparents as he had a Lacrosse tournament.

On Friday I rode one loop of the bike with Barry, ran and swam, on Saturday I did 2 loops of the bike course (solo) and ran and on Sunday I ran the Lake Placid Half marathon which, I just realized, I never wrote a race report on (woops!).   At the end of our 4 days training vacation I was on top of the world - feeling strong and ready to finish my last build and be at the top of my game for Ironman Lake Placid.

Heading out for 180k of Lake Placid fun!

Beautiful day

Ready to run the Lake Placid Half Marathon with B!

Nothing like ending a training vacation in the sun with my bestie!

Then, on Friday, June 13th (Ironic eh?), I went out for an easy 30 minute run.  Not 1 km into the run my right calf started to hurt.  By 3 km in I was in tears from the pain, turned around and walked home.  I went into complete panic mode.  The first person to see me was a wonderful Massage Therapist Tracey Elliott.  She confirmed it was an injury to the soleus and sent me home with strict instructions to stay off it and to see a doctor ASAP.  A few fellow athletes recommend seeing Dr. Kris Sheppard at The Runner's Academy and lucky for me they could fit me in on Saturday morning.  I asked him "what causes this?".  His response "running".  It's a repetitive stress injury.

The most reassuring thing was the positivity from everyone.  I had 6 weeks until race day and everyone said that I would get there. And even if I don't run a step between now and then my fitness would carry me through.  I had just run the Boston Marathon and my run fitness was pretty darn good.  I had run the Lake Placid Half Marathon in 1:46 and that was a training run, walking every water station and chatting with volunteers.  I had the run training, perhaps I had over trained on the run training.  But at this point it was not time to figure out why my soleus decided to turn on me, it was time to heal the problem and get to the start line!

I have spent the past 5 weeks slowly rehabbing this mild soleus sprain - which mean basically no real running.  I've water run and I've run on the Alter-g (anti-gravity) treadmill.  But my one and only outdoor run ended in pain and walking home.  And to note, I have also increased my oral intake of Fish Oil and started to take Curcumin - an extract of turmeric which has been found to be an amazing anti-inflammatory. Luckily I could continue my bike training with no issues at all.
The Alter-G at the Runner's Academy
Today I ran an hour on the Alter-G and all feels awesome.  I even ran the last 5 minutes at 90% of my body weight.  I'm feeling confident that my strain is healed.  I won't test that theory for another 8 days.

So here I sit on a rainy Saturday afternoon in Toronto getting ready to leave for Lake Placid on Wednesday with my head full of mental race strategies. It's my third time at the rodeo.  I'm feeling super strong on the bike - it's amazing how much power you can produce when you aren't beating your legs up by running. I'm also feeling good about my swim - I did a 4km swim race two weeks ago where I swam 4.5km (not bad sighting, it was a long course) in 1:23 averaging 1:52/100m which would be amazing for an Ironman swim for me (and 3.8k should feel like a breeze after 4.5k).  Tomorrow I'm going back to the Quarry to swim again and will swim every day in Placid leading up to the race.  

But the fact remains that I have not put in the run training or the bricks.  So on race day I'll be digging deep and relying on my past marathon's to get me through.  At the end of the day, my race will depend on my ability to embrace the pounding and pain and hope my soleus stays happy, or at least not grumpy enough to force me to walk!

I've got goals for this race - I've always got goals. Most of you reading this post will know my goals.  But I have to say, my one and only goal - which is only measurable in my little head - is to race this race as hard and as smart as I can.  To trust my bike training and my power numbers, to be disciplined and patient on the bike, and then to run that marathon like I know I can.  To absorb the pain and mentally conquer all the demons that haunt my past Ironman marathons.

Can I run a sub-4 hour ironman marathon?  I think I can.  And I can tell you - on race day  - what you think, what you know, what your brain tells your body, is what you produce.  So do me a favour (or favor if you are a US friend), if you are thinking about me on July 27th, if you are following me (bib 590) on the IM site or on Facebook via Barry - send me all the mental fortitude you've got!  Because at the end of the day, when I'm putting one foot in front of the other, it's going to come down to my mental strength to stay strong and finish this Ironman like I know I can!

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