Since I’ve become one of those triathletes who can’t seem to stop talking about their races, you might know that in t minus 6 days, I’ll be racing in my first half Ironman distance race in New York State. With some planning ahead (i.e. what the heck do I eat and drink?) that I’m glad to have help from my fellow triathlete friends with, I feel mostly ready.
If you follow the blog, you’ll know that I was a bit under the weather last week and the week before leading up to a vacation to New York for a gran fondo. But I’m feeling much better (though still not 100%, and especially not when I’m exercising) and this weekend I was able to get out for an open water swim with a local group and then for the MEC Century Ride (100km, not miles).
Given the way I took a lot of extra time off, I don’t think 100km will tire me out too much with my race a week away. For some people, 100km is big and scary. For me, it’s maybe the perfect distance–long enough to warrant ice cream in celebration but also short enough that things don’t really start to ache and I’m not rushing to get off my bike as soon as possible. 100 mile centuries are long and fun with the right group, 100 kilometre ones (or “Medio Fondo” distances, perhaps) might be more my style. I sort of take pride in the fact that I can go and go and go when it comes to distance, but riding a quick 100km yesterday felt so darn good.
Maybe it felt so good because of the sunshine–Mother Nature made up for the rainy ride last weekend with this past weekend. Or maybe it was the company–my training pal Katie and I went out together and I knew that even if I couldn’t keep pace with our super duper fast friends (this means you, Amy and Chris), there would be people I know going all kinds of paces. We fell in with a group of people we didn’t know personally but that I recognized from some social media posts from friends who I ride with! I am so glad I (creepily) mentioned that I recognized them, because riding in 7 strong was great and there was lots of conversation to be had in between Clif bars.
The event itself was also so well run! I saw tons of familiar faces, like Sam, who blogged about her day and said she had fun riding herself even if it was hot. I agree with her that the ride on the path out of town was not my favourite, but it gave me a reason to push a little when we got off of it and onto the open roads and away from all the fellow riders and turns that make me nervous. The rest stops were well-stocked and filled with friendly volunteers, and the cost was less than 50$ whether you registered day-of or in advance. That’s what I’m talking about! MEC does a good job with these rides, which I know they have in other cities, and with their running series. Next year, I’m thinking of signing up for the whole series for 75$ and getting a bunch of races on my student budget for what would normally pay for one. Plus they still feed you post-ride!
We ended up averaging a pretty quick pace, which I’ll take as a bonus on top of the fun I had. After my 23km/hr fondo in the rain and hills with bike issues, I’ll take 30.6 over 100km as indication that I’ve still got “it.” I’m excited for my race but will be glad for the freedom after of being able to ride with friends a little more and to do more group riding.
For now, it’s time for a taper. This week and next, when I’ll be recovering and relishing my accomplishment if things go according to plan this weekend, I’ll be glad to have some shorter workouts to give me the time to finish my thesis, which is in draft form and coming along, finally, at least in my opinion! Usually, and I think like a lot of other recreational triathletes who do the training as a form of exercise and stress relief, I get pretty antsy backing off before a race. So today I’m thankful for my thesis, even if it is kicking my butt!
Happy Monday, folks!
Have you ever done a MEC event?
What is your favourite distance to bike?
How did you enjoy the sunshine this past weekend?