Happy Anniversary to me! 2 years ago today I became an Ironman. And 1 year ago, I repeated my journey through Ironman Arizona and swam, biked, and ran alongside my sister (in her second IM) and one of my best friends in her first! As I was out for my "long" bike ride/ transition run today I couldn't help but think back on those days and the journey lying ahead of me.
2 years ago, as I approached the starting line of Ironman Arizona I had a solid 12 months of training behind me. I had trained 6 months for my first half IM and then another 6 months for IMAZ. I was prepared and felt all those first time jitters and excitement as the day approached. In a lot of ways it was one of my best races. Not my fastest, but there was something magical about that day. We battled extreme winds on the bike and the dry desert heat took its toll as the day wore on. But never once did I think about quitting. I can honestly say the thought never even popped into my head. I had my fastest IM swim and run that day. My bike was slow but at the end of each lap I saw my family standing on the "hot corner" cheering me on and that helped to keep the smile on my face.
Last year when we lined up, I had placed more expectations on myself. I had really worked on my biking since that first year, and with an additional 12 months of training I wanted to see what I could do. It was windy again (when is it not windy here?) and it was very hot by mid afternoon. In my first loop of the bike, when I hit the beeline and the wind blasted me in the face, I thought to myself 'I'm just going to make it through this first loop and then I'll turn my chip in and head back to the hotel'. The wind just really messed with my mind. But when I hit the turn around and came flying down the opposite side of the beeline at 30 mph I decided I would tough it out. And I ended up with my IM bike PR that day. And it was so great to see my sister and my friends during the run. My sis was about an hour behind me, so we passed each other about 3 times on every loop of the run. We'd give a little shout out and keep on moving. To watch the people you love cross the finish line... there's nothing quite like that if you are looking for inspiration.
Today I left my house and headed toward Usery. I had planned to ride about 3 hours and then run for 30 minutes. I was feeling a little dejected as I was biking so slowly. I haven't done really any cycling since IM-CDA last June until 3 weeks ago. About an hour into my ride, I kicked the negative attitude and started to look at the big picture. Yes, I am slower than a year ago. But I have this amazing base of fitness from my marathon training and it's just going to take some time to get my cycling legs back. I may not PR at Wisconsin or Arizona this year... but looking to 2010 I know I can improve leaps and bounds. So with that I am fully embracing the next 22 weeks leading up to Wisconsin. Bring it on!