Sunday, June 15, 2014
Happy Father's Day! I know so many wonderful fathers. Of course, carrying a wee bit of bias, the most wonderful of them all is mine, Colonel Bernard W Berger, MD.
I spent the past few days in Lake Placid, NY training on the Ironman course I will be racing on in July.
The Adirondacks are breath-taking and I enjoyed the fresh air and simple pleasures this area had to offer.
The weather was not the most agreeable but we made the most of it.
Thursday was gloomy with on-and-off showers so we swam in the "not-so-mirror-like", Mirror Lake. There was quite a strong current and 1.2 miles of the 2.4 mile swim was into a dramatic chop. We were being slapped around relentlessly by white caps and no doubt I swallowed a few pints of Mirror Lake.
Still, I had a lovely swim.
On Friday, it was pouring rain. Dumping. We decided to take a long run and ran a tough 18 miles around the ironman course. I appreciated what it felt like to run the final 2 miles UPhill back into town. This is a two loop run course. So, for the race I will "rinse and repeat", as my coach says. That's going to be a grind, especially after the bike (see below).
On Saturday morning, the rain had finally stopped and the sun popped her head out for a bit. This was as good a day as any to ride the bike course...twice. Two loops, 112 miles, which included screaming downhills on not-so-smooth pavement, false flats and an infamous 20 mile section of climbing heading back to town the tail end of which includes the "three bears". This is a series of 3 hills right before the turn-around in town named "mama bear", "baby bear" and "papa bear". Riding the loop twice ("rinse and repeat") means this course takes you again through these climbs, with a total elevation gain of nearly 5,000 feet...and so, there are really 6 bears. Rawwrrrrr!!!
By the time I returned to the biggest climb/bear, "papa bear", on the second loop, the rain had been pouring down on me for about 45 minutes and the pleasantries of riding on such a beautiful bike course had faded. My quads were screaming and my fatigue had set in. The only thing I could do to trick my mind into grinding up this final climb was to think of "papa bear" in a different light: to think of "papa bear" as my own father and embrace, respect and LOVE the climb.
And so I did.
I can only imagine what it will feel like to swim 2.4 miles BEFORE biking this course and run a marathon AFTER it. This will indeed be an epic race.
Happy Father's Day to all the stupendous "papa bears" out there. You are loved.