It Was the Best of Runs, It Was the Worst of Runs

Jun 28, 2014 | My Iron Year, Training Daze

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Lynne Tapper

I am a lifelong endurance athlete with the dual goal of training and racing until my bones turn to dust and sharing that passion with as many people as possible.

Today was the first day that I thought…I might just have what it takes to complete this insane physical challenge.  It was not because I ran at a record pace or because I felt like I could go on forever.  It was because of everything that went wrong.  Throughout it all, I persevered.  I never wavered or got frustrated, I just soldiered on.

My day began in Fairfield, Connecticut.  We had stayed at a friend’s house on Thursday night so we could get Eli to the camp bus in Westport. Since I was not at home, I knew that my Friday training session (40-minute bike followed by a 2-hour run!) would have to wait until the afternoon.  I was already a bit anxious about the timing and the heat.  But…as I know, the timing for the bike will be about 9:00 am and the run will be many, many hours later, probably close to 4:30 pm.  The more practice I get doing these activities later the day, the better.  Intellectually, I knew that…I still wasn’t looking forward to it.

I started the 40-minute ride close to 12:00 p.m.  I fueled and hydrated on the bike to prepare for the run.  As I left for the run, I saw Sofie and Leland driving back from some errands.  I was 4 minutes into the run.  They stopped to wave and cheer me on.  I started bawling.  This was not what they expected to see.  I told Leland that I didn’t want to do this run. I didn’t think I could do this run. I was sooooo tired.  I couldn’t imagine running for 2 hours at 1:00 in the afternoon!  He was at a loss, but told me to just go…it would be better than helping Sofie clean out of her room before leaving for camp.  He was right. 😉 I think this incident qualifies as my second official meltdown.

As they drove away, I just started moving.  I told myself that I could just go slow. I could put one foot in front of the other and however long or far I went, it didn’t matter. It was miles under my belt, training in the bank (if that even makes sense).  The workout called for a 30 minute warm-up and then 2 miles at a 9:50-10:00 min per mile, 2 miles at 9:40-9:50 min per mile, 2 miles at 9:30-9:40 min per mile, and a final 2 miles at 9:20-9:30 min per mile. This is a bit slower for me, but after riding 112 miles on the bike, I’ll be thrilled if I run a 10:00 minute per mile pace for 26 miles!  So, this particular workout was practice.  As I progressed,  I was doing great.  I was hitting my marks. I couldn’t believe it.  Considering how I started out, I was beyond thrilled.

Here comes the “WORST” part.

All of a sudden I had some uncomfortable intestinal distress (is there any other kind?).  I had to run into the woods and “take care of business.”  I did this three times.  After the final time, I thought I’d just walk for a bit and see how I felt. I wasn’t that far from home and I had done most of the workout.  I was surprised at how calm I was.  I didn’t get upset about not executing the workout perfectly.  I thought to myself, “This could happen in the race. Let’s see how I do.”

At first, I thought I’d just walk all the way home.  But after only a few minutes, I tried to run again. I felt fine. I couldn’t believe it! I ended up doing the final 2 miles of the main set right on target, between 9:20-9:25 minute per mile pace!

As I was running, I drafted this post in my head. It truly was the WORST of runs and the BEST of runs. I started with a meltdown followed by some stomach issues but ended up learning so much more. I learned that I can face this adversity and finish strong.

If I had any doubts about being able to complete this Ironman on August 17th, they were wiped away from this 2-hour run.  Now I just need to keep this feeling going for 7 more weeks!


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