Monday, September 7, 2009

All the cool kids are doing it

It seems like everyone is blogging about something these days and in my never ending futile attempt to be one of the cool kids I figured I might as well give it a shot too. While my life is pretty mundane I do have a teensy weensy interest in this little sport known as triathlon. I am nearing the completion of my second season and next year I plan on taking the plunge into the full Ironman distance (No, not the one in Hawaii). I figured a semi-routine blog would be a good way to let my family and friends in on the journey.

My original intent was to start this thing up next weekend as I spend a few days volunteering at Ironman Wisconsin and take the first official step towards becoming an Ironman: slapping down the hefty registration fee. However, I figured things could be a little hectic and knowing me, I would push this off so long that it would never get done. Well, for a change I'm ahead of the curve.

Today I took an unofficial step towards becoming an Ironman, a step that I will be taking many times over in the future. This morning I awoke at 6:00 am, strangely chipper and well rested. Although, I did have to set an alarm to wake up. I mean who in their right mind gets up that early when they don't have to? After a decent breakfast and a little too much internet surfing I meticulously began filling water bottles with gatorade endurance. A couple went in the fridge for later and the rest went down with me to the bike after I threw on some biking gear (shorts, jersey, and arm warmers since it was chilly out). It took me a little while to get the bike set up (bottles in their places, food in the bento box, double check that I have the spare tube and tools, pump the tires up, etc.) and after that I kind of just sat and stared at it for awhile. I was going to be spending the next 5-6 hours on it and I was oddly a little nervous.

Cyclists call it a century. 100 miles. To an ironman that's merely a fraction of his race. I had never attempted the distance before. There was really little doubt that I could do it. I had completed several 70-80 mile rides in training for my half-ironman events this summer and another 20 or so miles didn't seem like too much to ask. Of course at the same time there was that little bit of unknown, like hitting mile 18 of the marathon last year knowing that I was now running further than I ever had before. For my psychological sake, I kept telling myself that I was doing two 50 mile rides, with a brief pit stop at the apartment in between for refueling. I hope that wasn't cheating ;)

The ride itself was pretty uneventful. My legs didn't fall off. I didn't get run off the road by upset motorists. I didn't have any annoying songs stuck in my head. It was cool and for the first part I wished I had more than just arm warmers. I remember doing rides last February and March when it was only 40 degrees out and now I couldn't handle low 60's. Despite that it was a nice calm morning with very little traffic, which is why I love early morning rides. Too bad they don't happen all that often. Before I knew it I was back at the apartment with the first 50 miles in the book. The legs felt good at that point and I felt like I could push the pace a little the second half.

It took me all of 10 minutes to stop to refuel and I reasoned that wasn't too timely of a layover. I was back on my way and still enjoying things. The wind had picked up a little and I could feel it pushing me along. I enjoyed it while I could, but tried not to think about the last 25 miles in which it would be a headwind. I continued along, mooed at some cows, outran a dog, and before I knew it I was turning around to head back home. At this point in the ride I was starting to feel my legs getting tired and my butt was starting to ache from being on the saddle for so long. I really just wanted to get home. The last few miles were a struggle on weary legs and into the wind. A few of the hills particular kicked my butt, but I managed to continue pedaling. I kept looking at my watch to see how many miles were left. Only 20 miles, down to 15, woohoo less than 10! Soon enough I was pulling back into the parking lot and hopping off the bike quicker than you could blink.

So now that that's done I should sleep easy tonight (which I really should be doing right now). The first century is in the books and I feel pretty good about it. There will be plenty more in the future as I train for the 112 mile bike leg, but for know I think I've laid another brick in the ironman foundation and building that foundation has really been what this year has been all about.

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