For today’s edition of Kara’s Exciting Saturday Nights, I bring you: “Kara uses various race calculators to try to figure out how long it might take her to finish an Ironman and then she freaks out.”
My bike ride kicked my butt today.
On the schedule was 3 hours of riding. I met my team on the NJ side of the George Washington Bridge.
For the first two hours, I felt awesome. I felt strong, even amongst the millions (yes, millions) of hills. I was keeping up with the front of my group. It was a beautiful morning – the warmest we’ve had yet. After 2 hours up into New York State and back, we arrived again at our starting point. Basically all of my teammates come from the city, so they were going to get their last hour in by going back over the bridge and to their respective homes. Since I live in NJ and drove to the meeting spot, I needed to stay and keep riding for an hour. All alone. Wahhh.
I suddenly felt exhausted. I was thirsty. I ate half of a gel but didn’t feel much better. I was riding on the hilly part of the course again and started going SO slow. I just wanted to be done.
As I went up the last big hill, I looked at my watch and tried to do the math in my head (never a good idea) of how long it would take me to bike 112 miles at that pace.
Cue the widening eyes and sudden depression.
If I ride at that pace, I will never make the cutoff of 10.5 hours after IMLP starts (that includes the time for the swim portion, which we all know is my worst sport.) And never mind the fact that today’s particular ride was just insanely hilly…both Rev3 Quassy 70.3 and Ironman Lake Placid have hilly, challenging bike courses.
It took me almost THREE HOURS to ride 36 miles. My average moving speed was 12.4 mph. We did stop a couple times for a total of 17-ish minutes (didn’t stop my watch) but still. I’m under the impression that that’s really NOT good. I had a few miles with average paces of 16-17 mph, but obviously those huge uphills brought the average down.
I’d even dare to say I’m a little embarrassed. I should be happy that I completed a tough-for-me ride; one that I’m pretty sure is the longest outdoor ride I’ve ever done (wow, I have a lot of work to do). But now I’m overcome with an overwhelming sense of fear. I did, at least, complete at 20 minute run post-bike ride without any hiccups (literally and figuratively.) +1 for me.
I’ve been moping around all day. I know I need to work on nutrition on the bike, and I’m still getting used to riding outdoors…but what if I can’t meet the cutoff times? Not only do I not want to spend the whole race worrying about making them, but I don’t want to be disqualified. That would be absolutely devastating. Mental toughness alone can’t get me through this, I need to be a stronger rider.
It appears that I’m below average at all three sports (all sports, really) that it’s getting more and more frustrating. I don’t have a ton of time – July 28th will come quick. I can’t even fake a positive attitude right now. Help, please!