Beginning the Final Push To IM Hawaii 2006

It has been quite some time since my last update after Ironman Japan. A lot has happened since then, and now it is already time to get started in the final preparation for Ironman Hawaii on Oct 21st.

It has been a fun 3 months since Ironman Japan, and I have enjoyed doing some shorter races and getting away from the norm by doing some paddleboarding and mountain biking. After Ironman Japan, I had decided that I would step away from the long distance training of Ironman and do some shorter races to try and build up some speed. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I still get excited about changing things up. As an athlete, there is nothing better than feeling fast, and this is not something that I normally focus on.

My first test of fitness would be the Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 race – which was 1 month after Japan. From what I had heard about the course, I was looking forward to a hilly, hot race. Texas was actually having a cold spell, which I suppose was good thing – temperatures in the upper 80s rather than 100+. When we flew in, I was wondering where the hills were – I couldn’t see anything that resembled a hill anywhere in sight. We went and checked out the course and they actually did find a few hill for us to climb. There was a good strong field at the race with Natascha Badman, Desiree Ficker, Andrea Fisher, Amanda Lovato and a number of other athletes. It was a good feeling to get racing again. The race went pretty good – nothing spectacular but all in all a good effort. Natascha smashed the course and Desiree was strong as well – and I came in third.

After the trip to Texas, I was sticking close to home for a while. I have always been a home body, so staying home for an extended period of time is always enjoyable. During the summer in San Diego, we have plenty of local races, running & triathlon. I can always find something to slip into if I want to get in a good workout. Continuing on with the speed theme, I stepped into the Scripps Ranch, July 4th 10km. It was fun to do a running race – I hadn’t done one in a long time – especially a 10km. I started out conservatively and felt strong and was able to build throughout the race. That same weekend I would do the Carlsbad Triathlon. It is a local race – I could sleep in my own bed, and ride my bike to the start line. I wanted to try and have a good solid swim and bike segment of the race. Well, the swim was dreadful, but the bike was great – so I accomplished half of what I wanted. I was able to toe the line with the likes of Michellie Jones. Of course I would be of no threat to her in a race so short, but it was fun once again to get out there and mix it up.

The final race in my line-up was Vineman 70.3. I had always wanted to do this race, but have never had the opportunity. This year, because the race is now a 70.3 race, it attracted a very strong professional field. We were really spoiled when it came to traveling to this race. A good friend flew us up to the local Santa Rosa airport in his jet. No packing the bike, no dealing with airport security – it was amazing. It would really be hard to go back to flying coach after that. The race course was really nice – but unfortunately I wasn’t having one of my best races, so even riding and running through the amazing vineyards wouldn’t help. I struggled through the race and was glad to cross the finish line. It was then end of a long string of training and racing and I think my body was a little tired.

After Vineman it was time to do something totally different. I had enjoyed doing some paddle boarding with Roch. The ocean water temperature was amazing this summer, so it was fun to get out in the water. Roch was very patient with my feeble attempt to learn the sport. The first time we went out, there was some surf. Roch had to take both paddleboards in and out through the surf as I swam. I was too afraid to go through the surf with a 12 foot paddleboard. Once out through the surf, it was a lot of fun. My arms were ready to fall off the next day – but hey, it has got to be good for swimming!!!

The real adventure of the summer would be the TransRockies Challenge 7 day Mountain bike race. This was a 7 day stage race covering over 300 miles and climbing over 30,000 ft. (www.transrockies.com) I would be on a team with our neighbor and fellow triathlete Jason Tuffs, while Roch was on a team with friend and sponsor Mike Dannelley (American Interbanc.com). We really did not know what we were in for. Arriving at the start of the race, I was like a fish out of water. There were all of these amazing mountain bike athletes and then there was me. Everyone kept asking me if I had been doing a lot of mountain biking – well no I really hadn’t. This started to make me nervous. The race was probably one of the hardest, scariest and most fun things that I have ever done. You can check out some updates along with photos that I did on the TransRockies on the Multisports.com website at: http://www.multisports.com/news.html .

Now it is back to reality and back to the task at hand – getting ready for Ironman Hawaii. I am hoping that by switching things up a bit this year with my preparation, I will arrive at the start line with a fresh outlook on things and a body that is ready to go!!!

I will keep you posted on my preparation. Also as we get to the final week before the race, you can check back here for a more regular blog of my final prep and all the happenings on the Big Island.

Heather

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