Momentum in training is a funny thing. One day you can feel like everything is going perfectly, your confidence will be at all time high only to be ruined during the next training session by a blood sugar low, bike breaking or otherwise feeling totally run down. Last weekend I was fortunate enough to experience all those things in a 48 hour period!
Friday evening I was tremendously excited for a huge training weekend. That evening I met with Cliff to discuss some IM nutrition strategy and go over some of my other fears about the race as a type 1 and as an athlete. The best advice he gave me was to write everything down in a schedule for the 72 hours prior to the race - leave nothing to chance. By following a schedule I essentially don't have to think about anything and can just focus on the race. I've noticed that in the workouts where I write down my nutrition and pace strategy I'm vastly more successful than in the workouts that I try and do all that via memory - so I think Cliff may be onto something!
Saturday morning I was up at my parent's house nervous as anything for an open water swim practice. After the disaster at White Pond I went searching for a new OWS venue and came across Putnam Lake at the suggestion of Jordan Rapp (a professional triathlete and part of the Slowtwitch.com family). Putnam Lake is a private lake near Patterson, NY; I contacted the community board president to ask her permission to swim in the lake. After explaining my story Barbara was tremendously supportive and simply asked that I sign a waiver and have someone follow me along in a row boat. So Saturday morning I entered Putnam Lake with my Mom & Dad rowing close behind.
Putnam Lake was beautiful! For an hour and 10 minutes I swam to my hearts content, was relaxed in the water and FINALLY felt comfortable in an open water environment. If only I could have added 2,000 people hitting me in the head while swimming I really would have gotten in a great practice. My parents were a bit less successful in their rowing as I had to re-enter the water to drag them into shore. Although a huge heart felt thank you goes out to my Mom & Dad for getting in a row boat (probably for only their first or second time ever) just so I could chase down this crazy dream. After the swim things took a horrible turn however.
I returned to my parents house, loaded up my bike with the day's nutrition and headed up Dahila Dr. ready to attack Bear Mountain. 2 minutes into the ride disaster struck:
Now if you look closely at the picture you can probably notice an essential piece of my bike is missing - I'll give you a hint; THE FING AEROBARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As I climbed the steep hill out of my parents drive way I snapped my deck right off the front fork and crashed to the ground. If my Mom wasn't arleady nervous about the Ironman, witnessing her only son crash to the pavement did nothing to alleviate her fears. Thankfully I was going up hill or I would have gotten pretty badly hurt. Strictly Bicycles replaced the fork for free but this ruined my Saturday workouts.
Stupidly, I tried to go out for a run Saturday afternoon after bringing my bike into the shop. However, my nutrition plan for the day was shot to hell. Starving I had a grilled chicken sandwich for lunch which has far too much fat (from mayo, bread and cheese) and protein in it to digest quickly enough for the carbs to be absorbed 2 hours before a long run. However, I arrogantly thought I could beat physiology and proceeded to follow my nutrition protocol. As I left my apartment for the last time for a run(I moved up to my parent's house Sunday for my final days before heading to UVA!) I was greeted by a monsoon.
For the first 45 minutes of the run I felt strong, but then could tell I wasn't digesting my nutrition properly. An hour into my run my blood sugar was 95 and I could barely maintain a 9:45 pace (my E pace is 8:50). So workout # 2 of the day had to be scrapped. The digestive and fatigue issues had me fighting off lows throughout the night on Saturday and all day on Sunday where I took a self prescribed much needed day off.
Ironman training is a grinding process, I knew I still needed to get in my long run and ride so I spoke with my boss letting him know I'd be in late on Monday and out on Tuesday to do my long run and ride respectively. Monday morning I woke up at 5:30, was out the door by 6am and completed my 2 hour run. Tuesday I hopped on my bike for a 70 mile ride followed by a 30 minute brick. Each workout went as well as they could have but my performance in those 2 workouts isn't really the point. Ironman training requires adaptation and life as a diabetic requires adaptation. Environmental factors, life events and stress all effect how my blood sugars will react to certain foods and my ability to complete workouts. Each day presents a new challenge and if I just keep on trucking I'll find success in both.