Eight weeks until Kerrville 70.3. And I daresay I’m starting to feel kinda sorta like an athlete again.

I joked that we should have ridden six more miles so we could be a Tool song (46&2). I was not up for six more miles that day though.

A fat, slow, out of shape athlete, yeah, but I’m actually using the a- word again (not THAT one, we all know I have no issues using that other one, especially when referencing myself). What made the switch flip? I pondered it a bit this morning, and then the answer appeared plain and simple. I’ve made a plan. I get up in the morning, and I do the thing that’s on the plan. My body and my brain are showing up. I’m not perfect. I have bad days, I reschedule sometimes, I skip things very occasionally, but I am showing the eff up again. This is everything.

Last Week – 7/19-7/25

  • Monday: 4 mile run/walk
  • Tuesday: 1.5-2k swim, weights
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: 45 min TT bike/3 mile run/walk weights
  • Friday: 1.1k 1.5-2k swim
  • Saturday: weights
  • Sunday: 40 mile road bike outside, 2 mile run/walk
  • Total time ~7 hours

Monday’s run was hooooootttt but fine, and my second longest run of the year. I had to reschedule my brick on Thursday morning, and 45 minutes on the TT bike and a run after was JUST PLENTY FOR THE DAY THANKS, I was way too dusted to lift also so I just skipped it. Friday, I had to cut my swim short due to scheduling issues, but I did try some faster 100s during it to compensate for the brevity. Sunday’s bike ride was like pulling teeth for some reason. I actually went faster than I have all year on the road bike, but it just felt… annoying. The run, again, was just fine. Hot, but fine.

Moving right along to this week – 7/26-8/1

  • Monday: 1.5-2k swim, weights
  • Tuesday: 5 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: weights/1 hour heat acclimation bike 40 min heat acclimation walk
  • Thursday: 1 hour TT bike/3 mile run/walk
  • Friday: weights
  • Saturday: lake swim (1500m)
  • Sunday: 2-ish hour TT outside, 3 mile run/walk
  • Total time ~9 hours

Tomorrow’s plan is intimidating. Death Star and X-wing (our TT bikes) have now been serviced, I got my chain replaced (finally) from the great chain debacle of 2019, and they are squeaky clean and ready for action again. The question is, am I? Let’s just call a spade a spade – I’m afraid of riding my race bike outside right now. It’s been two years. In the best of shape and days, I’m a little skittish on it when I’m not on a closed race course. These are not the best days and I am definitely in the worst shape. I worry my back won’t be up to the task. However, the way out is through, so it’s time. Let’s test the waters.

Speaking of testing the waters… I swam in the lake today for the first time in almost two years! It was perhaps the slowest swim I have ever logged in my life, but I now can officially check swam the race distance in open water under the official cut off time off the To Do Before The Race list. My stroke was awful, I couldn’t figure out how to sight the buoys without either stopping and treading water or tweaking my back for the first loop and a half, but I think I remember how to open water again now and hopefully the next jaunt will be faster.

My “it’s not a hickey, I swear” picture proof.

This week also had some other successes that contributed to that “feeling like an athlete” thing. I showed the eff up to all three weights sessions this week. Next week, I plan to move to the adjustable kettlebell that Joel bought during his optimistic months of the pandemic and I summarily ignored, because it’s finally time to increase from 15 to 20 lbs! Monday’s 5 mile run was the longest I’ve run since March 2020 and was just fine. On Thursday’s brick run, I just literally forgot to walk my first interval. I was going along at a (very slow but steady) clip and all of a sudden, it was half a mile in. I went back to my run/walkplan immediately because I didn’t want to push my luck, but it was nice to have a brief moment where I was lost in the run again. Also, my garmin sez I’m 100% heat acclimated. I feel it. It’s effing hot, and heat acclimation does not equal not whining like a little baby whilst triathleting in it, but it feels less stifling and my heart rate isn’t spiking on the run as much (+1 VO2 max this week, wut wut!).

It’s bizarre to me that it’s five weeks until taper. It was all so unofficial this season. I started biking because I was tired of not biking. I got back in the pool once I was fully vaccinated for no other reason than I hoped it would help my back. I started running because I had to, I suppose, and that’s when it became real, but I think even at that point, I had so little hope that I’d be able to climb to a 70.3, I didn’t want to jinx it. I guess I should take a rest week at some point, but I am building so slowly and these paces are so slow it’s not even that taxing and I just don’t… want to. And that’s different than the last, oh, 18 months, so I’ll allow it. This cycle ain’t about anything but regaining my sanity and identity, so if I make mistakes, so be it.

Next week! (8/2-8/8)

  • Monday: 1.5-2k swim, weights
  • Tuesday: 1 hour TT bike/3-4 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: 1.5-2k swim, weights
  • Thursday: off/heat acclimation walk or bike
  • Friday: 6 mile run/walk
  • Saturday: weights
  • Sunday: 45 mile bike (TT or road), 4 mile run/walk

It’s possible one of those swims could push to Saturday like this week (and that would give me the opportunity to swim in the lake again). Sunday’s bike will be TT if at all possible but I do need to extend the mileage to 45. I’d love to squeeze another easy bike ride in there for mileage/heat acclimation maintenance, but Thursdays are rouuuuugh at work. If not, I’ll try to get out for a walk instead. 6 miles of run feels daunting, but it’s what I need to do and it happens to be the next integer after 5. I won’t even run 13 before the race, most likely. If I continue to add one mile per week, I’m looking at topping out at 10 before taper. I could cheat and increase more than a mile per week or fudge my taper a week or two, but neither of these sound like smart ideas right now. We shall see. I ran a max of 10 coming back from injury 6 weeks before BSLT 2013 and I survived. That’s all I’m looking to do here, so it will be fine (yep, will be fine, totally fine, yep, uh huh, totally not just trying to convince myself here).

Heat acclimated, sure, but still whiny (and hungry)

The rest of my goals haven’t been quite so awesomely, but let’s talk about it instead of burying my head in the sand:

Track my food, aiming for 1200+activity per day on average – I started strong last week… for a few days… and then fell off and didn’t get back to it until Monday. This week, I did the same, but I at least retroactively went back and logged this morning. I don’t know what the mental block is right now. This literally takes 5 minutes and I KNOW it will help me. I need to make a set time for it, so I’m going to say if I haven’t logged by the time I eat dinner each day, I can’t do anything else until I am caught up logging my food.

Weigh daily – for me this helps it become just a metric and not an emotional thing – hahahaha yeah, it’s very much an emotional thing right now. Last week, I was decent about it and got super grumpy that nothing is changing and didn’t get on the scale once this week. Grrr. Will start again tomorrow (since I’ve already eaten today).

Stretch at least 3x/week, even if it’s not directly after a workout – I’ve been decent at this. (note to self – get up and stretch now, afk 5 mins brb)

Ice daily – I’ve been hitting most days, and also found that our Air Relax leg massage boots actually have positive effects on my BACK as well. The body parts, they’re like, connected to each other. Who knew? Definitely not someone that had a personal training and triathlon coaching certification. 😛 In retrospect, the boots were for athletes and I didn’t deserve them. Stupid sentiment I agree, but that’s exactly where my brain had been, I guess. My brain now deems me worthy to use them now and am using them a few times a week.

For the next week or two, I’m just going to keep trying to work these four habits into the routine and keep my training inertia rolling. Nothing more, nothing less. Consistency, patience, and persistence will get me to the places I want to be. It’s not even that difficult, I just gotta show up.