Image courtesy of Ironman Virtual Club
This past Saturday I completed the Ironman VR6 in a special way…more on that later. Now, three days later with my sunburn fading and my joints much happier I can reflect on the challenge I conquered!
I have to admit when signed up for the challenge I misread the distances a little bit. Instead of a 40K ride, my mind saw a 20K ride. And rather than a 3K run, I saw a 5K run. Luckily, the night before I set out to race, I opened a text from my mom asking where I was planning to complete my 40K ride. That’s when it hit me that I would be riding my highest mileage yet and I hadn’t mentally prepared for that. Thank goodness she texted me otherwise I would have been in a pretty crummy mood after completing a 20K ride to figure out I then had to go do an additional 40K. Feeling grateful for a mother’s intuition that caught at least one of my mistakes.
My race plan was to wake up early around 7:00a Saturday, pack up my bike and snacks and head out to White Rock Lake. The order of events would be: 10K run, 40K bike and 5K run (remember…I still don’t know it’s just a 3K).
Unlike the majority of athletes partaking in virtual race, I wasn’t planning to break the activities apart throughout the weekend. I wanted to challenge myself to complete 53km of work in one day. Something I have never done before.
The morning started out great with an evenly paced 10K, finishing out at about 1:08. My husband and I did the run together, which kept us both way more honest with our pacing. I took a little time after the run to re-fuel and then hopped on my bike for the 40K.
My legs felt GREAT for the first 10 miles of the ride and those were a fast 10 miles too! But something happened around mile 11 and I could feel some strain in my hips, but I reminded myself that I still had 13 miles and a full lap around the lake the go. That kept me going for another 2 miles, then at mile 13 I had to stop eat some pretzels, drink water, question all my life’s decisions leading up to here, then decide to keep pedaling for the remaining 11 miles.
For the most part, those were some pretty bad miles. I can’t even describe the tightness in my hips. But I. Did. It. And just like that, 1:43 later, I was off the God forsaken machine.
Now for the real butt of the joke! Remember I thought I had to do a 5K now. So what did I do? I hobbled off my bike, knees and hips questionably in order, and set off to walk the final 5K and feeling like a true athletic hero for doing it. I didn’t realize until 10 minutes after completing the 5K (in the car on the way home) that I only needed to do a 3K. And Ironman VR rules say they won’t accept lengths more than a kilometer over the mandated length. Oops.
On the way home, stewing over the 5K and knowing I needed to do a 3K, I decided to be dropped off exactly 1.86 miles away from home (because I am sure as heck not doing more than the minimum at this point) so that I could still complete Ironman VR6 in one day. So that’s what I did – I walked home and finished the race and felt like a dang champ for doing it.
5 final lessons from VR6:
- It’s not always about winning the race, sometimes it is just about the challenge of completing the race. In this case for me, my time would have been astronomically better if I had done the ride on another day. But my purpose was to challenge my body to completed 53K of work in one day. And I am proud of that accomplishment regardless of my final standing!
- It’s VERY important to say “on your left” when passing on a bike. What was up with so few people doing it???
- Take more than 2 water bottles.
- Snacks save lives.
- Last and certainly not least – WEAR MORE SUNSCREEN THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED. Oh but you think you move so fast the sun rays can’t catch you? Think again!
So now, after taking my well deserved and enjoyed rest days, I am getting back up heading out on a nice run and moving on to the next challenge!
Congrats to my fellow finishers – great race!