Heart rate training is kinda the bomb. As much as I’ve really, really wanted to tear up my HR strap and stomp on it’s itty bitty little pieces in January, it provides someone like me (read: someone who tends to have unreasonably high expectations of myself) a tool to actually predict that I am actually performing where I should be with my CURRENT fitness, not my unicorns and rainbows wishlist fitness that I think I should be able to perform at with the drop of a hat, even with last week being our first peak build week, culminating in an epic 3.5 hour session yesterday ending with the spin class from hell (you’re in the desert, in 4 feet of sand, it’s 117 degrees… yep) and very little speedwork and a small dose of heel fuckery and new achillies fuckery on the other side (grrrr… at least it’s gone now).
So, my expectations:
- Killing it on the swim. Fast efficient fish. I have been kicking swim ass this year. Goal: 20 lengths in 10 mins (500m in 10 mins).
- Killing it on the bike. Last year I did 15.5, so more than that. Significantly.
- Doing what I could on the run. Recovering from the stupid heel and the fact that I’m just this week starting to do any sort of speedwork and I’ve spent a zillion months just running at m-pace or below, my only goal was to make myself hurt. I knew there was about a 1% chance I could beat my time from last year but I wanted to see those heart rate numbers climb to the 170s and stay there.
And, like I said, the fact that this was build 1 week #3, which is first peak week (10.5 hours), I definitely didn’t go into this tapered. And by not tapered, I mean by A LOT. Yesterday I did my longest run for the last 3 months (1.5 hours), trainered for 30 mins, swam for 25, and then, as I said, the spin class from hell for 45 mins. Highest volume day thus far. I went to bed sore, hurting, hoping my legs and feet and body would hold out and perform. I think I actually slept crappy because I was scared of waking up just broken.
Woke up, I was a little sluggish but in one piece. We did our normal morning race day thing, I paid hommage to the feet-no-hurty dieties, and got our hotnesses on up to Lifetime 30 mins early (yay)!
I “laid out my transition” in the locker, and got all the stuff in a bag to go upstairs for the cycle/run (bike shoes, run shoes, chomps, waterbottle, zune, garmin, etc). We were able to get in and do a bunch of warmup laps which was awesome, I got to go through the process of waking up my swim stroke like I normally do, and then once the wave before us was done and we jumped in – holy SHIT it was cold (but I guess that’s good for swimming fast). I had new earplugs I was trying out and they worked well enough (and you can actually HEAR WELL with these in, which is super nice) and I got warm and rested for a few minutes and then the whistle blew and it was go time.
I was ready to hurt in the pool, but hurt smart. The two other gals in our wave just FLEW out of the gate and I wanted to try and swim them down, but I was like “WAIT”. I knew they went out too fast, and by lap 4, I overtook them just swimming consistently. I was trying to stay at 100m/2 mins. I made the first one no problemo, then just barely made the next, and slowed a bit. I knew by 2 mins to go that a) I had won my heat by a lot and b) I would have to bust some ass to get 20 full lengths. I increased my pace a bit and aimed for 19.5, and when the whistle blew, I got it. I’ll break that 2min/100m soon, but not today. I was just happy to execute on being a fast, efficient fish, and feel like I hurt a little in the pool (by the end, I was hitting the wall, gasping, and immediately turned around to swim more, it was awesome).
Transitions suck for girls. Getting on a wet sports bra is HELL. Next time, I will just say fuck it, and wear it under my swim suit and drip all over the floor. I had to ask another girl (who was not part of the fun and games) to help me get it over my back and she looked crazy mortified (oh well).
I got up to the cycle studio with my bag o crap with 2 mins to spare. They helped me adjust the bike and get my clips in, but I was still doing that 30 secs into the ride. So yay, not a fair start but whatevs. Finally, I got my music going, I had both clips in, things were good (minus the fact that my seat could have been a LITTLE lower but I wasn’t about to stop and fix it), and was HOLY CRAP GOING 50mph with not that much effort. Then I realized it was on KM so that was 30 (aka, a little slower than last year).
I got into a rhythm but the calculator was all over the place (40, 50, 60,70, 80, 0). I noticed when I fucked with the resistance it gamed the system a little bit increasing the numbers so I did that a lot. I hurt a little less on the bike than anywhere else, but I rode steady at 155-170 BPM and rocked out 18.2 miles (calibrated to a spin bike so it means nothing in RL). I tried getting all zen and closing my eyes but when I opened them I found my pace was LOWER, so I just focused on those numbers and tried to maximize them. When we hopped off, I was probably about avg 165 HR and 29.3 km, which equated to 18.2 miles. Almost 3 more than last year, YEAH!
Got to the treadmill, put my shoes on, and commented to Zliten that I hoped I could run. On the bike, the last 15 mins kinda hurt my achilies on my right, to add to the questionable nature of my left heel after my longest run in months yesterday. I was not about to end the season on a 20 minute treadmill run, so if it didn’t get better, I was planning on walking out the tri and being fine with that. They said 3,2,1 go…. and it’s been so long since I’ve ran on a treadmill I forgot how to start it. 10 second penalty. I started at 6.0 (10 min/miles) and figured I’d hold there if I couldn’t do anything else, but then my pain eased and I bumped it up 0.1 each 2 mins. I got up to the pain cave at about 10 mins in and my feet were feeling ok, so I just did what I could to stay there.
Zliten was pacing me, and he was about .01 to .02 ahead of me the whole time, so at 15 mins I turned on the next level of pain and, surprise surprise, he matched me every step of the way. I finally got equal at 1 min to go, busting ass at 8.0 to 8.5 and we both finished at 2.13. About 9:20s. After reflection, sort of disappointing for both of us, but it’s what we had in us that day.
We busted ass to tie, and tied another gal (for the run) in our heat, and beat the other gal.
Quix: 19.5 swim lengths (487m) in 10 min, 18.2 miles in 30 mins, 2.13m in 20 mins.
Zliten: 14 swim lengths (350m) in 10 mins, 21.1 miles in 30 mins, 2.13 in 20 mins.
For me, that was actually good enough to take home the overall win for the ladies (out of 10 participants)!!!! I was #1 on the swim, tied for #1 on the run, and #7 on the bike. Oddly enough, I placed #1 on the bike last year and #5 and #6 on the swim and the run. I really can only say that’s indicative of who decided to show up that day, and not my abilities. I should have been beaten on the run.
I say I love HR training because I did exactly as I expected. I knew that my run was not anywhere up to snuff, so I expected between 9-10 min/mi. I swam my last swim test right around 100m/2 min, so I knew I’d be close. My biking is much better than last year. My runs have been not as good as last year. So I did what I could, hurt as long as I could, and feel like it was a good Feb effort. I have many things I want to do:
- Break 2min/100m on the swim. I know I can do it. When I started breaking down on form I didn’t start thrashing more, I just took a deep breath and thought “long, fast efficient fish” and got back to it.
- I know I need to get better at the hills on the bike. Biking on a trainer/spin bike is awesome and all, but I need to get my quads about 2x my size now to bust up that shit. SQUATS SQUATS SQUATS SQUATS (like shots shots shots shots, but different). This means more outdoor rides!
- Run speedwork + losing the fluff. I know it will impact the rest of the disciplines (losing the fluff), but I don’t have the PRs I did to chase like I did on the other ones like when I was running and ~30 lbs down, so it goes here.
- Lift heavy and don’t look back. The IM inspiration videos I see don’t see people hefting 2lb weights. They are squatting their bodyweight. And I did that (+a little) last week. I intend to get these damn quads and hammies and calves and deltoids and abs and everything as big and strong as possible.
For now though, I’ll enjoy the win, and this deserved recovery week, and get ready for the Build 2 period in March.