The bike ride the day after Brooklyn was awful, my legs were shot and by the end of it my confidence was completely destroyed. As I made my way back to my apartment I was having some pretty severe doubts about not only my ability to make it in under 8 and a half hours but also my ability to just finish at all. After some painful foam rolling and an early bedtime I reffocused on the week ahead.
Memorial Day weekend was a planed simulation of the event with a 56 mile bike ride followed by a 10 mile run on Saturday and then a 1.2 mile open water swim race on Sunday. Nerves were at an all time high Friday when I got completely soaked walking home from work which lead to about a 10 minute meltdown on my bedroom floor while I tried to pack and get things together to take out to Jamie's house on my bike. I was soaking wet, exhausted and freaked out. After a call with my mom I pulled myself together, threw some things in a back pack and set off across town for the subway. Once off the subway I walked my bike to the GW but decided to bike over and I'm glad I did. It was beautiful although VERY stormy on the south side of the bridge, in fact part of the way across there was lightening striking as I was riding. I think this was the exact confidence booster I needed!
We woke up early and I had my generation Ucan and we set out on our bike ride with only a little sprinkle at the start. I felt completely different than the week prior and it was a confidence booster for sure. We had a few close calls with rude drivers but the bike ride was largely uneventful. With about an hour left I had to take my generation ucan gel that I had made and put into a plastic bag. This was not my most graceful moment but I did manage to eat most of it, while getting it all over my face and bike. I was pretty proud at how long I could ride with one hand, my bike handling has definitely improved!
Transitioning to the run I tried to hang with Jamie too long and gas'd myself out pretty early in the 10 miles. I need to be more aware and do my own pace and race. I did eventually get it together and the 10 mile run took my right under 2 hours which was my goal. I'm not trying to break any records, personal or otherwise on this half marathon!! The generation ucan from the bike did a great job and at the end of 10 miles I was just starting to feel hungry which was likely due to the fact I didn't get a chance to finish my whole baggie of gel.
We woke up VERY early in the morning to head down to Rumson, New Jersey to swim in the Nave-sink river. My nerves got the best of me and I threw up on a porta-potty on our way down to the river. We checked in, got our swim caps, timing chips and body marked. I was definitely chilly as we put on our wet suits but pretty excited. Luckily Jamie and I headed down to the water for a test swim because as soon as I put my face in the water and realized all I could see was a murky yellow green color I had a freak out. My heart was racing, my brain was screaming and my body was giving up. Jamie told me to try Tarzan's so I did those and then realized that was going to exhausted me quickly so I decided to try breathing every three strokes. This helped trick my brain as I saw light every three strokes. Ladawn came down and we told her our tricks and she practiced a bit.
The men's group went and we headed to the start line with Ladawn and I holding hands and a plan that we would let the crazy people go ahead of us and start once it wasn't so stressful. Once we got going I lost Jamie and Ladawn in the sea of pink caps and decided ok well here goes nothing. That first buoy seemed SO far away and it seemed as though no matter how long I saw I never was going to make it there. Eventually though I managed to make that first left turn and start toward the far buoy. Unfortunately at that point I veer'd completely off course and when I brought my head up I noticed I was almost at the dock. After cursing myself I yelled I was fine to the guy who asked if I was ok and then turned myself back on course and set back to it. At this point I felt I had been in the water an hour and was getting no where, my heart started racing and I decided to roll over to my back. I looked up at the sky taking deep even breaths trying to calm myself down. Mentally my brain was not on my side at that point as I thought about how I needed to give up, I couldn't do it, I wasn't going to make it. Luckily something clicked and I said to myself "You can't quit, quitters don't get medals and you can't take a finish picture without a medal. You have given up WAY too much to give up now, two weeks before the race"
At the turn around buoy I got kicked in the face pretty hard but luckily my goggles didn't come off and the way back went MUCH more smoothly than the trip out! Sighting on the way back was nearly impossible because of the sun and there was a bit more chop to the water but my confidence had returned and I think that helped. Overall a 49 minute swim which is not terrible!
7 days until the big race!