Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cactus Rose Prep

Race week is finally here and taper madness has set in!  We have enjoyed some distraction with the help of our Rosie, but when I found myself vacuuming the walls in the family room, I could no longer deny the taper vortex I am currently being sucked into.

Since Saturday, I have really tried to take stock of where I am in relation to this race.  What are the positives and where do the challenges lie?


My training has been spot on, having only missed a few runs, and none of my long runs.  I did cut one of the long runs short by about 2 miles, but the heat that day more than made up for the lost miles.  

500+ running miles have been invested into this race.  I have run as many "hill" workouts as I had intended to and utilized spin classes to further prepare my legs for the climbs and descents that I can't get living in the flatlands.  

Biking, swimming, yoga, weight-training, were all added in this year and I believe have made me stronger and better conditioned as an athlete.  I didn't set out to just trash my legs this training cycle.   

I am better trained physically for Cactus Rose than any other race I have ever run. I am not injured.  My weight is right where it needs to be, and my energy levels seem good.  

I have experience on this course, even though I DNF'd in 2010, I have a good idea of what to expect out there.  If I can make the first loop a fun experience, focused on enjoying the scenery, taking in the proper nutrition, and not let the brick in my head take over my race, I will get to the second loop and turn on the endurance machine.  

I know what I need to get through this race, I know how to prepare my drop bags and I know that if I put one foot in front of the other, I may not meet my time goal, but I WILL finish the race barring an unforseeable injury. 


The terrain.  The terrain.  The terrain.  No amount of hill training I can do on a treadmill can fully prepare me for the inclines in Bandera.  What's more, the rolling rock can't be duplicated on the flats I live on. 

I will be alone for this race.  I will know people out there, but I will be alone.  No crew, no family coming to encourage me, no friends that I am planning to run with.  I don't have a good track record with these circumstances, but this does not mean that record needs to continue.

My nutrition plan has not come together as well as I had hoped.  I began using EFS a few weeks ago and it looked promising, but thanks to my high maintenance stomach, I can't use the product anymore.  So water and S caps are the standard for the day.   I do know that I need about 200-250 calories per hour and I should be drinking about 20 ounces per hour, especially in the heat.  Looking at the forecast, race day will be the coolest weather I have run in this season, possibly requiring gloves and a long sleeve to start.   I will need to be very aware of my hydration level as becoming dehydrated has ended a few races for me.  

I woke up with a cold today.  I have been so healthy, so strong, and have really tried to steer clear of illness and injury.  Today, the cold that has hit several friends and family members has tried to make it's way into my body.  I'm taking everything I can to combat this thing.   The last thing I want to do is DNS because I have a cold...


My goals for this race are simple.  I need to finish.  I need to win the mental battle of this bad boy and finish this thing.  For Hans.  For Monika.  For Kelly.   For a dear friend who was suddenly sidelined from his racing schedule during one of his most successful racing seasons ever.  

I'd love to finish this race in 12 hours.  I'd be happy with 13.  What I don't want to do is set a time goal that will cause me to drop from the race if I don't think I can finish in that time frame.  

This race will serve as a mental preparation for Ironman.  Self-supported, no crews, no help other than a bare minimum aid station.  If I can get through Cactus, I feel I will be one step closer to finishing IMTX in May.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Baby!

I'd like to introduce you all to our newest family member, Rosie!  We met her when she was less than a week old.  Her mother rejected her and all of her siblings and some friends of ours from our Homeschool Co-op, adopted her and one of her sisters.  Mary hand fed the girls against all odds of them surviving.

Happily, Rosie and her sister both survived and now are 7 weeks old!  We brought Rosie home yesterday and she fits right in our busy home.

Hannah, our 12 year old lab isn't so ecstatic, but hopefully, she will find a soft spot for this sweet little girl.   KC, our little terrier mix, has done much better adjusting to not being the baby, though she is not THAT happy about things.

I'm hopeful that in a few months, Rosie and I will be able to blaze some trails together.  She has tons of energy, is very obedient, and seems to have a wonderful personality that will translate into a happy and well-balanced dog.

Taper madness has begun and she is the perfect distraction from all that I would normally be obsessing about this week.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Taper Time

My training cycle is complete and though I have had a few bumps in the road, it has been a very consistent 20+ weeks of training, probably my most consistent of any I have ever done.
I believe the cross-training from the triathlons has been the best thing I ever could have placed into the training plan.
As the mileage has picked up greatly the past month, some of that cross-training has had to drop off and I truly miss it.  As I head into the next two weeks of taper, I am looking forward to having the time again to swim more, get a few more yoga sessions in, and maybe even an extra spin session or two.

My biggest challenge will be the mental/emotional hurdle of Cactus Rose.  I am already heading into the race 0/1, which most people would feel they should take the attitude of "I'm going to kill this race", but I have a reluctant sort of revenge.  I want to kill this race, and perhaps I will, but this race is no joke.  This is not a race that I could walk if needed.  It's terrain is the most challenging I have ever been on, and as a flatlander, the most challenging to figure out how to train. I respect this trail and this race as well as this distance.

I have three goal plans for this race, the first goal of course is to finish.  The others, I may reveal beforehand, however, I hesitate to do this because I typically mess up badly when I do that.

For now, I am sticking to the taper plan, catching up on duties that have been neglected around the house, and mentally preparing for a jaunt through the hills.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012