I think I’m doing taper right because I am super anxious this week. I’ve been giving myself plenty of rest time (frankly, I’ve been trying to convert all the time I would normally be training to either be in bed reading or sleeping) and I am just kind of… full on sleep. I’m at the point where I feel like I’m losing. precious. fitness. every. single. day… so let’s fire up this party already and get this race going before I can barely do a sprint tri, yeah?
… considering I know that I raced VERY WELL on almost no training, my rational brain knows this is crazy. I think I probably feel like normal humans – I have free time because I’m not spending 11 hours a week running, biking, swimming, or lifting, and I’m not completely fatigued from training. But I feel this weird combination of excited! terrified! ready! tired! relaxed! anxious! weird! not normal! at the same time. I haven’t really felt this way for a race in a while.
Quick wrap up of what I’ve done since peak because if I do well at this race, I’ll probably look back at this post and go… HOW DO I MAKE THIS HAPPEN AGAIN?
One of these things helps physical recovery, the other helps MENTAL recovery.
3 weeks out: 6.5 hours (not intentionally)
- All the sleep and food. Cut some sessions to get extra rest. This made it an exponential taper but I think that worked out better for me. The other option would have been to take a rest week in peak somewhere (I needed it) and peak a week later. If I feel stale at the race, I’ll probably go with that next time but I don’t regret it at all right now.
- Mostly medium length sessions with speed intervals.
- Long workout: a really solid 30 mile TT interval brick followed by a 10k at race pace
2 weeks out: 6 hours training
- Mid-week I started to come around and felt pretty rested (FINALLY). I resisted the temptation to bolster the schedule and instead just did the weekday scheduled stuff to the letter.
- Endurance cycle hills, race pace OWS in the wetsuit, another swim and easy bike with the BSS crew, and a nice speedy 3 mile race pace run after 2 mile warm up. Felt like I NAILED IT.
- Weekend bike went to crap with a flat tire (though I got changing practice!) but rocked a 4 mile race pace run after rolling home.
- Ate to my appetite, trying to keep the food mostly healthy (fruit veggies proteins whole grains, yadda yadda), but there were treats in there for sure. I know I’ll wish I tracked through this taper cycle but I just can’t even right now. Weight is holding steady at 180-182 so there’s that.
Race week: … I might be at 3 hours by race day?
- Continuing to eat to my appetite, pushing a balanced healthy diet at the beginning of the week, skewing towards (low fat) carb-tastic things later in the week.
- Spending as much time in bed as possible reading.
- Doing things to keep the legs loose. 30 min runs and swims with pickups, quickie brick, one day I didn’t really feel like doing my trainer ride so we walked instead probably at the same intensity I was planning.
- Trying to keep work from killing me. I’m not dead yet.
If this prep gets me to the start line feeling all springy and awesome like the feelings I’ve been flirting with this week, I may be ready to actually attack this race in a way I haven’t done in years. Here are my goals.
Back in April, we started the swim distance challenge, which lead to my longest open water swim in September of 4500m (or just under 3 miles). I almost didn’t participate because of offseason and all other manner of bullshit, but I’m really glad I did.
I would say I felt like my swim this cycle was STURDY, but not particularly speedy. And then, as I sat down to write this, I got back from one of my fastest (if not THE fastest) pool swim in my life (1:44/100m AVERAGE – with warmup and cooldown). Well then, maybe there’s something in the tank after all!
Either way, sturdy or speedy, it’s the first 40-ish minutes of a 6 hour day. No matter what happens, I’m not going to let it wreck my day. I don’t even really have any secret goals here, really. Would I like to get under 40? Sure, but ONLY if that pace matches the level of effort I’m willing to put out. As long as I get out of the water with all my parts in the right place (I have three male waves coming up right after mine), I’ll be fine with the day.
Specifically during the swim, I want to keep my brain focused on the task and not daydream. I swim better when I keep my brain engaged. Also, as odd as it sounds, I need to make sure I don’t sight TOO well, so the men after me won’t be as tempted to swim over my head. I’m willing to do some combat during swimming but lead pack guys are really freaking mean and punchy.
It was really hard to find a picture of me and a bike this cycle (sarcasm) but I think riding up the Colorado National Monument was one of the best, worst, and most humbling rides this training cycle. Every ride after that has been “well, this is easier than riding up a mountain”.
This is another place where I’m not trying to put weird pressure on myself and ruin my day because I’m a little behind some arbitrary number. My best pace in a half is 17.2 mph. Last year I was holding about 18.5 mph, I think, before my crash at mile 50. I did Kerrville at 17.5 mph this year (for one loop, not two), and that was being cautious as fuck in the rain with so much left in the tank for the run. This course has more climbing. I haven’t done a whole lot of training that would help me accurately predict what I’ll do on the new bike on Sunday, and I’m ok with that. Surprises are fun.
So, I’m going to ride bikes. With the new bike, the new course, and my new directive to maybe save a little freaking energy so I don’t die on the run, I have no clue. If I had to throw a dart at the wall, I’d aim for somewhere in the 17 mph range. But rather than chase a number on the bike computer (watts, HR, speed, etc), I feel like I have pretty well honed what a long ride feels like that I can run off of well (though I do have numbers in mind for those to judge if things are SUPER off, they won’t rule the day).
I want to stay in aero as much as possible though I will cut myself slack if I don’t feel 100% comfortable. Whatever happens, it should be an improvement on Kerrville’s 25% of the time shitshow. I want to push up the hills like I know how and try not to burn a billion matches but know I can burn some. Most importantly, rubber side down and keeping that rubber in tact!
I don’t have a lot of running pictures, but this one is pretty symbolic. It was April, I was just getting over my hip injury and mental fuckery, I was 15 lbs up, and running a few miles at 11:30/mile was hard. I’m glad April me stuck with it even if it took quite a few months for the fitness to come around.
There’s no getting around it, it’s going to be a hot day. Why didn’t I do the half at Kerrville this year? Oh right, the only way we got great temps was the pouring rain… and my fitness wasn’t there yet. I digress. 88 degrees and sunny is NOT my ideal half marathon conditions, but that’s what the day is handing me. I will be handing it salt pills, hydration, calories, and my both my middle fingers.
The good thing is I have trained in this. I’ve done race pace in hotter weather and hillier conditions off bikes, it’s just about pushing that race pace into the second hour and draining the tank and not giving up when it gets hard. This is my race to spend the dollars and not ask for change. It will be fun to see how much cash I actually have on hand right now.
This is the only place I’m really targeting a pace and finish time – I’d like to hit a 2:15 (10:18/mile). This is a pretty sizeable ask right now off a 56 mile bike in the hot sun. But I think I can get in the zip code if I don’t let my head get in the way. I just need to stay in the moment. There have been plenty of runs where at mile 1 or 3 I had NO idea how I was going to make it through and then, guess what, I did, usually speeding up at the end. I need to focus on getting to the water station and the end of the path and the end of the loop and finish this part of the road and then all those little segments will add up to 13.1 (hopefully) respectable miles of running.
Kerrville had it’s challenges, but it was the first triathlon run in quite a while I feel like I just nailed. Runs since have been showing similar promise. I’m hoping to feel this happy when I cross the finish line Sunday.
I keep adding up what the day might look like for me, and I think a super great day will be around 6:15-6:20, and a good day will be right around a PR (6:30-ish). I think my two biggest obstacles for getting in that range are any potential flat tires/mechanicals/etc on the bike (the road is pretty rugged) and issues dealing with the heat on the run. The first one I can’t really control, the best I can do is just bike smart, but the second I can fight. Barring any of that noise, I think I can turn in a solid time.
No matter what happens, if I keep my head in it the whole time, I’ll be proud of completing a successful, if very different, 70.3 cycle, and conquering this course for the first time.
Hi my name is Zliten and I always have to make race week interesting! (from recent memory: one kidney stone procedure, one ankle roll at warmup, and now a dislocated rib).
The rib seems to be just out (dislocated and put back into place), rather than cracked. I’m sure there are great doctors out there but all we’ve run into is “here’s the painkillers, just take those and zone out for a couple weeks” when we get injured. Sigh. Not what was needed here at all.
The chiropractor has worked her magic and while he’s still in a decent amount of pain, he’s feeling a lot better and pretty sure he’ll at least start the race. His wave is absolutely last in the water, he’s planning on swimming very slowly and very carefully, the bike shouldn’t be that different but he’ll not be uber fast charging up or down hills, but the ratio of run to walk is the big question mark. We’ll see!
The fun thing is… I could finish upwards of 3 hours before him, if I have a really good day and he just makes the cutoff. I’m hoping it won’t be such disparity, but I’m going to be prepared like I’m taking my toddler self for an outing – snacks, drinks, a place to sit or blanket to lay on, a change of clothes, etc. I just have no idea at that point whether I’ll want to go cheer everyone on and be a part of the rest of the race, or not. As long as the race goes well, I’m perfectly ok being the completely spent weirdo sprawled out on a blanket in the grass reading, napping, and maybe whimpering a little while stuffing fritos in my mouth.
And if I am, I’m sure I’ll be instagramming the fuck out of it. Wish me luck!