My training philosophy this year has been very different than last year. 2012 was about learning to operate on tired legs. I just kept loading and loading and loading us up until we broke. It was all about building the confidence that I could tackle 70.3 and then 26.2 miles no problem. I didn’t do any races last year in which I felt anything but ready for the distance (maybe I was a little sketchy on the marathon, but only because I had trouble making the jump in my head from 20 to 26.2 and now realize it’s no issue). I walked around in a haze for a few months, completely overloaded, exhausted.
This year, it’s completely different. Every time I’ve thought “I’m tiiiiired”, it’s been like, “oh schweet, it’s rest week” and I’ve been rarin’ to go after. The first half marathon I will run this year will be in Lubbock at my 70.3, and by that time, I’ll be able to count the double digit runs I will have done on one hand. My bike miles have been decent, but mostly on the trainer, and I can count the 50+ rides on one hand as well. My swimming kicks ass this year, and I have zero worries on that this year. What I do have a handle on is my head. Since I’m not spending so much time physically (and mentally) fatiguing myself, I can really concentrate on hurting when it’s time to hurt.
Last year, I built a HUGE tower, but it wasn’t very stable. It got me to the end of each race, but there were a lot of bricks falling down each time I really tried to test myself, standing in the way of what I wanted and knew I could accomplish on those days. And it was probably worth it, the first year of pushing my endurance limits so much further than they’ve ever been stretched, to toe those starting lines knowing I had done the distances before, that I was capable, that muscle memory could carry me through.
This year, it’s been about actually erasing some of that muscle memory. I don’t need to try to practice race pace every day. I don’t need to be 100% comfortable with race distances. Frankly, that muscle memory might have been holding me back. Slowly and carefully putting the blocks in the right places might not build as tall of a castle, and there may be gaps, but hopefully, the thoughtful mix of easy miles with a few strategically long and/or hard (that’s what she said?) workouts will be enough to plop me into race days a little hungry, a little unsure, and a little bit ready to prove things to myself.
Also, essentially missing May, which was supposed to involve a focused effort of more intensity and less sessions with longer distances, doesn’t help with the loads of volume strategy. I need to BELIEVE I can do next month without proof.
But, at least I’m back. I built the castle pretty well earlier this year, and while this knee thing has knocked a bit of it down, this week marked the first real week of picking those bricks up. And I’m pretty happy with the progress.
Went to the doc, hoping for the best. She looks at me and says, “So, are you just DYING to run?” and I did my best to say, “yes I would like to run please” rather than scream “HELL YES OMG LET ME AT THE ROADZZZZ”, I think it was somewhere in the middle. I may have had my running clothes and shoes in the car. She delivered some bad news, “Well, NOT TONIGHT…” and then some good news, “but starting tomorrow, you can.” Wheeeee! Her instructions were to start with 1.5 miles and to expect stiffness. If at any point it actually HURT I was to cut my run short. She also said she’d prefer me running on the treadmill but wouldn’t require it, just asked I stick to even surfaces and not go all offroad trail-y.
So, I did a weights session and swam a very short speedy swim and went to bed dreaming about being able to get up and RUNNNNN!
Got up in the AM and ran outside – part of my normal loop, just up to the south school and back, which is just about exactly 1.5 miles. I walked to warm up and then started ambling along very awkwardly at about 13 minute miles. This was NOT the glorious return to running I envisioned. It was tight and felt weird and I was a little mopey about it at first but then my knee started loosening up a little and went from 13s to 12s to 11s and then I had a little pain… in my freaking quad. Yes, folks, my uber big and awesome quads were complaining about 1.5 wimpy little easy miles. That was enough for the day. I spent the rest of the morning on the trainer, and then got more miles after work. I was actually sore on the second trainer, which was a bunch of SAD, but hey, first run!
I skipped weights in favor of getting more run miles. Still a little stiff and awkward, but felt better than the day before. Happy that my endurance doesn’t seem to really be having issues, besides the leg muscle and tightness stuff, running isn’t taxing any other systems very much. Swimming was decent, but I couldn’t get a good rhythm going for most of it, but was pretty happy with that pace being a crappy swim.
First 1+ hour trainer ride since the “iiiincident” and my knee had a few stiff moments, but held up pretty well. I wasn’t sure I felt ready to run off the bike yet but hoped that a few hours rest would be sufficient. Before lunch, I went on a quick walk around work campus to make sure I was ok, and I was – so I headed to the gym and knocked out 2.5 miles on the treadmill. I tested out “race pace” at the end for about .1 (just a little sub-10) and it didn’t any more hurty, stiff, or awkward than easy pace. Probably won’t try that again until race day, just to be safe.
While the body held out fine, I was definitely ready for a rest day Friday, although when I got home from work it was gorgeous and drizzly and cool and I really WANTED to run, but it felt irresponsible to run 5 times in a row on my comeback week when I usually don’t even do that healthy.
I woke up in a terrible mood, had to deal with work stuff early in the AM, and I tweaked my back getting off the toilet (?), and my lovely plan to ride and run out at Plugerville was ruined by thunderstorms. The cat and I felt the same way about this morning (it was pitifully cute – she kept curling up in these awkward looking positions to nap, getting up after a few minutes, sighing, and sleeping again). I almost started drinking at 8am instead, but Zliten convinced me to not and just TRY the trainer. Oddly enough, aero felt WONDERFUL on my back and alternating sitting up stretched it out, so 10, 15, 20 miles ticked by. I did 5 miles of tempo riding at 20-25, and then increased my easy pace to moderate and finished out 30, 40, and finally stopped at 50 miles as my knee was talking to me just a little bit.
I wasn’t sure how a run would feel but I was giving it a try. The first quarter of a mile felt weird but then it just felt… good. We set out on my 1.5 mile loop, figuring I could pull the cord early pretty easily if I felt bad, and I could run it twice if I felt great. Well, it was a day for neither – at about 1.5 miles I got a little twinge, which went away as fast as it came, but to be safe I stopped at the house instead of going out again. I had accomplished the effort for the day though – I did a solid, long effort on the bike, and I successfully ran off it feeling great. If not for my knee and my back, I could have gone for many, many more miles at that pace happily.
Knee was a little stiff, but defnitely not worse for wear. Enjoyed a righteous day of doing nothing (Arrested Development marathon + played Rift). It was glorious!
Next weekend is the Olympic race, which I feel much better about after this week. The week after, I’m hoping to get another brick in, but a shorter bike with a longer run. Then, I think I’ll feel at least somewhat ready for the 70.3 (in the way you can feel confident about a test after slacking and then cramming for it).
While I’d hoped at closer to 10 hours this week – about 8 is pretty great considering the huge run limiter. I was going to move some training to today, since it’s a holiday, however, volunteering at Cap Tex Tri for 5 hours wiped us out and my knee and back demanded rest, so I’ll hit it tomorrow. (That’s me, below, plotting which expensive bike to…erm… borrow… :D)
The good news: I have a new low of 176.0!!! Wheee!
The bad news: I just couldn’t get myself to eat the things I was supposed to for some reason. Not that I shoved Mexican combo plates down my face (except on Saturday when I did, and it was amaaaaaazing and worth it), but I definitely put together some weird and sometimes somewhat less nutritional meals than I had planned. Also, there were more random candy attacks due to stress than I would like, and the sad part is it wasn’t like “oh yum that looks good” it was the “i am grumpy and it’s there”. I mean, not a significant part of my calories at all, I just hate the habit.
The ugly: 750 calories of vodka on a Thursday. Yeah, it was a stressful week.
I’m happy with the progress of about another 3 lbs down this month. I had hoped to hit 175 – and I still could, but 176 ain’t so far away. If June continues with the trend, I’ll be in the low 170s by Buffalo Springs, and the lowest weight I’ve been since I got a real tri suit (and not my fake thrift store onesie – got about 12 lbs to go there…). That could make me very happy! I just have to eat the right things, and try to splurge mindfully, and not because my stress levels are at maximum (I can stress eat carrots like a champ, I just need to remember that). I saw this and it was very appropriate to this week (even though my runs were nowhere near the lovely exhausting ones they mention here)…
By the day:
Monday: 31 DQ, 1490 calories
Tuesday: 23 DQ, 1730 calories
Wednesday: 20 DQ.1444 calories
Thursday: 10 DQ, 2002 calories
Friday: 23 DQ, 1568 calories
Saturday: 3 DQ, 2287 calories
Sunday: 14 DQ, 1507 calories
Average DQ (diet quality score): 17.7 (youch – I haven’t been below 20 in a while, wakeup call for next week!!!)
Average calories per day: 1718. Not terrible, since I’m training again.
Weight: Low: 176.0. High: 180.0 (0.4 down from last week).
Milestone: Over the last 10 weeks, I have lost over 5% of my bodyweight. Yeah!!!
Starting to think about what happens after Kerrville/Austin 70.3 because both my parents and friends like to plan vacations way in advanced (I’m officially booked up on PTO pretty much for 2014. Maybe honeymoon in 2015? :D). We’re talking about another cruise early in the year with the fam, and a friends’ vacation probably late summer 2014, renting a huge house somewhere fun. We also have a Zliten and I week to plan in Nov/Dec somewhere warm. We’re thinking about this (the half) and then a week in the Keys. Not sure whether we’d be just fun-running it or racing it, but it looks fast and flat and fun!
So, that means, I need to predict the future for where I will be mentally and physically after tri season ends. My current thoughts:
- I don’t think I want to try to run RnRSA again. Probably not another marathon this year. I don’t see my run training being there without artificially inflating it like I have the last few years at the end of tri season, and I’d really like to see what happens without that pressure.
- I DO think I want to try to take a crack and see how close I can get to smashing my 2:08 PR and who knows, maybe a sub-2 standalone half. I also wouldn’t mind taking a crack at my 10k PR as well.
- I am NOT SURE whether I’ll want or need an offseason right away after my last 70.3. Especially with this month long injury break and the smart training I’ve been doing this year, I feel remarkably fresh mid-cycle but I’ve still got June, July, August, and September to go.
- It might be fun to spend the fall doing lots of little races that I don’t care about (Dash for Dads 5k, Turkey Trot 5 miler, etc – Austin has at least 10 races each weekend in Oct and Nov) and just seeing what I can do with rested legs and a “let’s have fun” attitude.
- We MAY want to do a spring marathon. And by WE I mean Zliten has brought up doing Austin as his first marathon (insert my requisite *I hate hills* pissing and moaning here). I’m not sure if it will work timing-wise so we’ll think about it. There are a lot of options in the area before things get too warm, but we need to consider it now so we’re not on vacation during or in too-close proximity. It would work best to be right before a vacation week, but we’d need to figure that out NOW if we want to make it happen that way.
- That begs the question… what’s the goal for 2014 tri season? Is it IM year (probably not but worth a consider)? Which one? What’s the first tri we want to do – Rookie? One of the April tris? The HITS tri in Feb? Is it the year we hit triple digits on a bike ride?
Lots to think about but I’m not going to stress. I’ll see you on the other side of my season opener in (ulp) six days. Be patient – it’s a Sunday Tri in the Dallas area (so ~4 hour drive away), so my priority after the race will be 1) In n Out 2) making it home safely 3) race day champagne and then 4) blogging. I’m not sure I’ll get to #4 that day although hopefully I’ll be so compelled by a GIGANTIC PR that I want to share with the world quickly. One can think positively, right?
Question of the week: If you and your friends could go rent a luxury house anywhere in the US for a week, where would you go and why?