Last weekend was alot of long slow distance for me. 2 x 2.5 hours on the bike trainer, 5 hours of riding in the foothills, and 5.5 hours of walk/jog/hiking. Lots of time for me to think about this race.
This race is a biggie for me. It was the start of my ultra-triathlon binge, it is a race that has beaten me three times (the first by clock, 12:44 on the run day. The second by water, a bad swim in bad conditions eliminated me on day 1. The third by sickness... nausea and vomit by mile 30 of the run left me unable to contonue).
This race is an opportunity to catch up with my friends, and a time for me to face the worst of my internal demons. I go into this race filled with hope for a great finish to what has been an exceptional season, and filled with doubt in my ability to beat the clock three days in a row.
The format of the race, 3 days in a row with a 12 hour cutoff each day, is a challenge to me. I tend to do better when I can just keep moving from the start through the finish, the stage race format exposes my nutrition and rest difficulties. The first two days are swimming and biking, and provided conditions are not horribly bad should go rather well. The last day is the run... hot and brutal along a highway through the lava fields. My worst event, in the worst conditions... this is where the rubber meets the road for my 2008 season.
And, that's whats been messing with my head. Can I finish the run in under 12 hours? My training says likely. My head says likely. My heart says I'll give it everyhting I have. The little demons in the back of my head laugh and giggle and tell me there's not a chance. I'm working on ignoring those little guys, and giving it my best shot and no matter what the clock says I will finish and know I did the best I could.
In 5 weeks it will be over and time to rest and recover and to look ahead to miles and miles on the bike... I have just under 5 weeks to shut the demons up and to find that happy place to race from so I can be the best Leslie I can be.
In the end I realize that I am an incredibly lucky girl to be able to go and challenge myself like this in such a beautiful place - surrounded by friends, supported by a hubby who loves and believes in me and by Marsha and Robin who think I'm nuts but love me anyways.