Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Page 2 of 164

Four taper problems, and how to keep the crazy in check

It’s far enough into taper that the crazies are starting to come out a little bit for both of us.  Zliten is convinced he has about 3 different major injuries.  I’m resisting the urge to cram training I feel like I missed and/or need more of in the last 3 weeks.  Both of us are on the Overthinking It express train headed directly to Madness Town.

However, we’ve been through this before, and to KNOW the taper crazy is the first step in conquering it.  Below are four taper problems explained and what you can do about them.

Hello brain!  Nice to see you have come back to me from durp-de-dur land.  Now, if you could stop it with the crazy thoughts…

Taper Problem #1 – It’s time to question EVERY decision I made during my training program, even though I trained pretty consistently.  That 12 mile run that I stopped at 6.5 in January when my glutes flipped out?  The fact that I only did 112, 100, 87, 80, and a bunch of 70 mile rides + more 4-5 hour long rides on the trainer instead of… more?  The open water swim I cut by 2 laps because it was getting dark?  I’m totally fucked on race day.

Why this happens: your brain isn’t completely consumed with or numb (I call it Ironman brain… the feeling of durrrrr…) from all the training, and now it’s awake and ready to completely overthink everything. You finally have free time, but you can’t really do anything with it because you have to rest.

What to do: Find something restful AND useful to do.  Write blog posts about your taper crazies.  Watch a TV series you’ve been putting off.  Play a game.  Go have dinner with your family (they probably miss you).  Organize your music collection.  It just needs to take up time and be off your feet.

What not to do: Use that extra time to get in those workouts you missed in January.  The hay is in the barn.  You can’t make up for it now.  Also, don’t fill your time with projects like yardwork or renovation – if it feels like a workout, even if it’s not swim/bike/run, guess what?  It’s going to hamper your taper.

I’ve fallen onto a cheese sandwich and I can’t get up!  I guess it’s naptime.

Taper Problem #2 – Somehow I’m getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night, and I’m training about half as much as you were during peak weeks.  My body is still just as exhausted.  I will never feel normal again.

Why this happens: Taper is like the ultimate rest day.  Your body is repairing itself and making itself stronger.  This, plus storing more carbs/water in your muscles, which is GOOD because you want them topped off for the race, makes you feel sluggish.

What to do: keep resting.  It will pay off.  I find that some GENTLE speedwork nearing race day helps me assure myself that the fitness is there.  You can feel those POPS of everything being normal even if your workouts by and large are feeling like garbage.

What not to do: resume high volume.  I’ve done this before – “well, I’m exhausted anyway, I might as well train more”.  You’ll hit that crappy feeling of the beginning of taper when you should be peaking on race day.  Also, don’t stress too much.  Chances are, you’ll feel awesome by the event, and if not?  You’ve undoubtedly hit some training days where you felt sub-par but crushed it anyway.  This is just another one of those days!

I completely overuse this picture on this blog but guess what?  It’s applicable a lot. 

Taper Problem #3 – Everything hurts and I’m dying.  Shin twinge?  OMG stress fracture!  Dry throat?  Holy fuck, I’m getting the plague!

Why this happens: you’re shedding fatigue, and losing the overall muscle soreness while your body gets rested and stronger and ready to race.  Niggles you would ignore otherwise stand out.  Also, you’re completely overthinking everything because you’re nervous/excited about the race.

What to do: pamper yourself.  If you’re into massages, this is a good time for one.  Relaxing in bodies of water (baths, hot tubs, floating in the lake, etc) is choice.  Lots of time stretching, foam rolling, etc will help put your body back together.  Also, if you have a random heel pain out of nowhere for no reason and running hurts?  Swim and bike instead.  I promise you will remember how to run at the race after a few days off.

What not to do: freak out.  I’ve had limbs that I was CONVINCED were broken but magically felt better on race day.  If you think something is seriously wrong (or if you actually ACUTELY injure yourself, like twisting and spraining your ankle), go seek professional help with a chiropractor or doctor, but you’re very unlikely to actually get a stress injury while REDUCING mileage if you’ve been fine all along.

It’s taper and I feel amazing!  BRB, I’m going to totally try to break my mile PR and then go bike all those 100 miles I think I forgot to do in training…

Taper Problem #4 – I have no idea what all these other things are about.  It’s a week before the race.  I feel amazing!  I should go test myself at the sprint tri that’s happening this weekend!

Why this happens: taper has worked… you’ve just come out of your fatigue a little early.  Especially, if you generally feel like crap during taper this one can catch you off guard.

What to do: rejoice that taper did what it should, and get excited for your A race.  Hit the sprint triathlon if you want, it will be a great dry run with all your race day gear.  Just keep your effort in check – I would recommend keeping your pacing to around 70.3 effort (or like 75-80% maximum effort) and give it a little gas on the last mile if you have it.

What not to do: race the sprint at 100% effort.  You may PR and prove that you are indeed in great shape, but it’s possible you’ve compromised your A race doing so.  If you can’t hold back, it’s better to just do your own thing solo.

The long and short of it is – you’ve prepared.  You put in all the work you could, even if life got in the way sometimes.  Try to enjoy the extra time you have in the last few weeks before the race and think about how awesome it will feel to cross that finish line!

Taper, officially.

While it was an anticlimactic last official week of training, the truth is now that it’s officially taper.  OMG.  Shit just got real!

Choppy lake is choppy but the rest of the day was loverly.

The weekend before last week I did my second long day.  The first one, I felt just fine after resting up Sunday and taking it a little lighter early in the week.  This one, coupled with a few nights of bad sleep, wrecked me for most of the weekdays.  I mounted a comeback and put in 4.5 hours over the weekend, more than doubling what I did during the week.

Would I have liked to have done more?  Sure.  But, the hay is in the barn.  I’m ready.  There are bales of it, piled high, ready to feed the hay-eating-beast on race day.  I can second guess things, like perhaps I could have accumulated more hay or compare myself to other farmers who might have bigger barns (more training).  I can organize my bales a bit so I can make use of them better on race day (practice transitions, more open water swimming instead of in the pool, strides on the bike and the run, etc).  However, the time for gathering the bales is now officially over so it’s simply time to protect the barn.

I did my long day #1 (2/25) a month out from long day #2 (3/25), which is 1 month out from long day #3 (Ironman day).  Between #1 and #2, I had convinced myself that I had gone too long without a long effort and I’d forget how to ride my bike.  I didn’t.  Now it’s time to remember the same thing during taper.  Your body does not forget how in a month.

It’s taper, so it’s time to replace a little #sockdoping with a little #hammocklife.

Last week (heavily modified):

  • Monday: weights and swim 11 hours sleep (OFF)
  • Tuesday: hour run and cycle class 5k run at like 12:30 pace and 11 hours sleep
  • Wednesday: weights and 20 mile BSS ride
  • Today: 2 hour run AM 9 hour sleep and 1 hour run at lunch
  • Friday: maybe a work bike commute and maybe make up the weights with a very lazy core session but also maybe not any of that.
  • Saturday: practice Olympic race at Lake Pflugerville (just us, mock-tri style) (missed 3 run miles)
  • Sunday: riding bikes to and from Barton Springs (~2 hours) and an open water swim. Due to the storm, 2h15m trainer ride.  And book/hammock reps instead of my swim.
  • 8.25 hours total

As you can see, it was kind of a fail in terms of keeping a schedule but there’s enough in there that it was still a decent recovery week.  I think I had two weeks of the thirteen so far which I significantly reduced volume.  Besides that, I’ve stayed healthy, uninjured, and (relatively) sane, so I can’t complain too much.

This week:

  • 2 weights sessions
  • 1 hour heat acclimation run (DONE), 1 brick run off the bike, 10/20 (10 mile race)
  • 1-1.5h effort ride, BSS recovery ride, 50-60 mile TT ride at Pflug.
  • 1 race distance OWS, 1 shorter OWS.
  • 11.5-ish hours

This is a lot for taper normally, but considering I took last week lighter, I’ll leave it on the plan and we’ll see how it goes.  Next week will be a significant reduction either way.  The open water swims are priority, since I’m feeling flaily at them lately.

I will make a gametime call at how hard I’m going to run 10/20.  I’m doubting I have a PR (sub-1:36) at the effort I’m willing to put out (aka, not wreck myself), but I also wouldn’t mind running it harder than easy.  It also will be determined by what I do the day before, if its a 60 mile TT ride + brick run + open water swim, I’ll probably not want to kill it for 10 miles (quite as much).

Life stuff:

Proof sometimes I dry my hair and wear makeup and real person clothes.  It might take two people getting married, but it happens!

Perspective is a weird thing.  Only training 8.25 hours last week meant we had so much tiiiiiime to do other stuff.  We went to Costco one day.  We had another Thursday date night checking out a new place for appetizers and drinks.  We went to a friend’s wedding at Voodoo Donuts and after party at a speakeasy.  I spent all Sunday afternoon enjoying the perfect weather reading in the hammock.  It was nice!

This week, I’ve got a few things to tackle, but it’s really just prepping to have the best ME I can on race day.  Now that we’re in taper, it’s time to do the non-workout part of protecting the barn – which is treating myself as nicely as possible over the next few weeks so I’m rested, refreshed, loose, and unfrazzled as possible.  To that end I have a few goals:

#1 – I’m pretty sure my calorie balance dipped into the positives last week.  I need to resume tracking for the next 3 weeks so I don’t overeat and gain a bunch of weight.

#2 – My foam roller and I have been estranged lately.  It’s probably because my body has adapted to the training and I’m not collapsing onto it every 5 minutes to unkink my back and booty.  This is a good thing.  However, just because I don’t have an urgent need for it doesn’t mean it won’t be good for me.  So, I’m rededicating myself this week, each day before bed, I need to do my quick little 5 minute rolling routine.

 

Date nights are fun, but they’ve been turning into too-late-nights.  But it’s super fun to actually go out a little.  Absence (from the couch) makes the heart grow fonder.

#3 – The good news is I have been keeping my consumption to one weekday (typically Thursday).  The bad news is I have been staying up a little too late on said weekdays when I have some booze (read: 2-3am, sleeping as late as I can before work, only getting about 6 hours sleep max).  I can use all the sleep I can get over the next three weeks.  So, I’m going to take a page from January (when I actually found bed at a decent hour most nights) and if I have drinks on the weekdays, they will be beer or beer-like substances until after the race.

#4 – And even in non-booze related evenings, I need to start shifting the time to be in bed reading to more like 9pm rather than 10pm, so I can a) be more rested and b) start waking up a little earlier.  If I can get 6:30-7am to not feel like the middle of the night, I will probably be better off on race day having to get up at 4.

In other life stuff, the bike shoes I ordered failed (way too small), and I never made it to the running store to get new shoes.  The new bike shoes are on order, and I plan to hit the running store one day this week at lunch.

Other than that, I’m pretty much taking the month to ignore anything else that is not a) race related or b) an emergency or immediate NEED.  If I don’t need to stress about something before April 22nd, I’m making the call not to.  Shipping an update at work and doing an Ironman will be enough for me this month, thank you very much.  Anything else can be added to the list starting approximately May 1st or so!

Protecting the hay.

It really is week by week here, folks.  Last week, I hit every training session and felt awesome.  This week, I’m securely on the struggle bus.  But hey, if things went great all the time we’d be terrible problem solvers, right?

Problem: too much of the left side, not enough of the right side to recover/soak it up (pictured, with a yogurt breakfast, was literally all I ate – oops).

But, since this is a recap of last week, let’s talk about the highlights.

Last week had my longest training day before the Ironman: approximately 9 hours and 40 minutes for a 2.7 mile swim (2.4 had me halfway across the lake), 112 mile TT ride, and an hour run of 5.4 miles.  I talked about it plenty here.

Last week had my peak training week before the Ironman: 16.25 hours.  I know some people who train 20-30+ hours for these races but this is definitely enough for me with a full time job and a life. 🙂

Last week I hit all my weekday workouts:

  • 2 weights workouts (at home)
  • 1 lunchtime swim for 1500m
  • 2 bikes: 1.25 hour endurance cycle class, 1.5 hour BSS ride
  • 2 runs: 52 mins, 90 mins
  • Total of about 6.5 hours.  It actually felt kinda light because the majority of my week was on Saturday, so it worked out nicely.

Normally, my A race of the season will get a 3 week taper.  Just because of how it’s working out, I’m looking at a very gradual 4-week taper.  I had more planned this week, but Monday’s workout just got straight scrapped, and Tuesday got changed from an hour run + kick ass cycle class to a 5k at a super slow pace and sleep intervals.

Although, I didn’t miss my BSS group ride.  Can’t do that.  #ridingbikes #goplayoutside

I’m the BEST at telling someone else objectively that they should back the fuck off when they’re exhaustipated and rest, a few missed workouts isn’t going to mean anything.  When it happens to me, the world is literally ending and how am I going to be ready to race 140.6 miles if I can’t manage to run for 2 hours on a random Thursday?  I have to separate the coach self and remember I’m not going to do anything good to myself by trying to cram all the 13 hours I wanted into this week, so early taper it is and my athlete (me) will just have to deal with it.

  • Monday: weights and swim 11 hours sleep (OFF)
  • Tuesday: hour run and cycle class 5k run at like 12:30 pace and 11 hours sleep
  • Wednesday: weights and 20 mile BSS ride
  • Today: 2 hour run AM 9 hour sleep and 1 hour run at lunch
  • Friday: maybe a work bike commute and maybe make up the weights with a very lazy core session but also maybe not any of that.
  • Saturday: practice Olympic race at Lake Pflugerville (just us, mock-tri style)
  • Sunday: riding bikes to and from Barton Springs (~2 hours) and an open water swim.

Coach says: I’m ready.  And the best thing I can do is to just protect all the hay that’s already in my barn even if it’s a week earlier than normal.

Life stuff:

My iguana is in her spring eating phase (which is A LOT) so we have that in common…

Let’s just get back to talking about food and macros and weights next week.  I haven’t had this in me.  I really do need to get back to it during taper to manage an increased appetite vs less activity though, I don’t want to gain the taper 5-10, please.

We did indeed get the cars inspected and register them.  My husband also woke up feeling super motivated the day after the long day (???) and went and purchased a new screen door and installed it.  I helped by napping, sitting in a chair reading instructions for like an hour, walking around the block, and then sitting inside on the couch because being outside was too much work.  I did batch cook food later though, so we ended up with some chicken tortellini soup (and Zliten did some green chili pork for tacos).

I missed out on some fun times with friends.  It’s an acceptable sacrifice for Long Day #2, and I’ve been a pretty decent human this cycle, but sometimes you can’t have it all.  I’ve loved the IM process, and I’ll be honestly a little sad to give up the long training… but I’m excited to when I can start saying YES to those kind of things again on the regular.

I’m not sure why this is relevant, but here’s an unrelated picture with 3 #ootds on a random 3-shower Tuesday.

This week, my goal is/was to get new shoes.  My bike shoes MAY make it to IM Texas, they may not.  Same with my Hokas.  In both cases, I need to at least start rotating in a new pair to have the option.  I have ordered the bike shoes.  For the run shoes, I still need to make it to the store (since I want to try out the new Arahis to see if I like them better than the Cliftons).  It’s looking tight for this week so it may have to get rescheduled but it’s good to have goals.

The rest of the week/weekend should be super fun.  Checking out a new place near work for dinner tonight, and game day at work tomorrow.  Then, a super long and exciting Saturday -after the mock tri we have a wedding, reception, and maybe another (different) party afterwards.  We’ll see how much energy we have to burn.

So, yep.  This week is about self care, protecting myself from burning down the barn, and letting the coach tell the athlete what to do instead of me just throwing tantrums.  Oh, and maybe a little fun along the way because that’s why we do this shit, right?

Long Day #2 – Being your own friend

I know there are many ways to skin a cat.  I’m not sure why you would want to, but this is what they say.  Maybe we should update this to something more pleasant.  There’s more than one way to eat a pizza?  More than one way to take a nap?  Think of the poor kitties everywhere.

Nachocat says… let’s get on with it, shall we?

Anyhoo, what I’m trying to say is the way I train is not the only way to train, obviously.  Many people find success in many different ways.  For example, many Ironman programs prescribe a weekly long run Saturday and ride Sunday.  That doesn’t work for me.  Doing a back to back doesn’t fit in my life and I don’t feel like grinding down my legs on Sunday every week would do anything but set me up for injury and burnout.  So, I cycle one long effort per week, two when I get a chance (for example, a 3 day weekend), and make up for it with plenty of mid-week volume.

However, I do not know how anyone, especially first time Ironman peeps, could be mentally and physically prepared without at least one of these long days.  They have been amazing, difficult, and hugely important days I’ll pull from when I toe the line April 22nd.

There are things you need to get used to.

First of all, I don’t do a lot of swim/bike bricks (pretty much… just in triathlons), and it’s usually no big deal because the quick dip in the lake (for up to half ironman race distance) feels like a nice wakeup and warmup.  Swimming an hour 30 in some choppy lake?  Big difference.  I felt a little more exhausted than I would have liked getting out of the water when I knew I had about 8 hours left.  I’ll have a small dent in my endurance when I get out.  I’ll have to be ready for that.

The whole endurance athlete thing is a lot of time in your own head.  To do this Ironman, you really have to learn how to be your own friend or you’re going to have a really interesting day with yourself.  I spent a lot of the swim being cranky at myself, my pace, my terrible sighting, and then when I passed the 4224 yards I saw my watch hit 1:31… and my time goal for the race is an hour 30. So, yes, MUCH slower than I swim in the pool, but I was doing just fine.  I tried to take that lesson on the bike with me and kept my head positive.

My legs typically feel awesome off the bike… for a little while.  I’ve done so, so, so many bike/run bricks and in practice, I generally get my legs rather quickly and run better and faster (to a point) off the bike then I do standalone without a warmup.  However, it’s always very mentally challenging to start a run after a long day already.  Both of my long day runs have started at night, which is good because I’ll be running into the evening.  However, both of my long day runs have started at night, which has meant they were cooler and I didn’t have to deal with starting a marathon in the late afternoon (I expect I may start running around 3:30 or 4) in the heat of the day.

Scenes from training from 8am to 9pm.  Yes that is electrical tape holding my bike bag on and it’s staying like that. 😛

I would recommend these long days to anyone training for an IM, I did one 8 weeks out, and this one was 4 weeks out.  They are supposed to be followed by a day off, which I have done, no problem, you really don’t want to do anything the next day anyway minus a walk to shake the sludge out.  They are also supposed to be followed by a rest week, which I have not done because the timing didn’t work out.  What I did (and will do this week) is take the first half of the week conservatively, for example, I just don’t feel up to my swim/weights plan tonight, so I’m going to eat dinner and go to bed instead.  I’ll rest up for longer efforts at the end of the week and the weekend (and follow THAT with a rest week).

At this point, I’m mostly set.  I think.  Perhaps.

I’ve figured out what I’m wearing for each sport.  I’ll be making two changes – bathing suit under wetsuit -> sleeved jersey and super padded bibs for the bike ->tri shorts and tri top for the run.  It will be some extra time but I’m super OK with it.  I’ve figured out where I need to aquaphor to not get wetsuit chafing.  I’ve figured out that I need to bring some butt butter to reapply every so often on the bike.  I *know* where I need to aquaphor on the run.

I’ve figured out some of my nutrition.  I actually OVERATE this long day on the bike and had stomach issues on the run where I felt nauseous and couldn’t eat.  This is fine for an hour, but not for 5-6+.  I think I figured out what went wrong.  Around hour 4-5, I put wayyy too much in the hatch too fast (two gels and my special needs reese mix plus some strong gatorades).  I was fine for the rest of the bike but I refilled my last bottle with water instead of gatorade and only ate one gel in the last hour and a half.  Result: I felt absolutely gross on the run.  I need to time things better.  It probably wasn’t too much food overall but too much at once.

The good news is I felt MUCH better once I stopped running, had a recovery drink (tasted EWWW so sweet but helped) and had cheese pizza, so I think some chicken broth would have solved things.  I need to figure out something that can break up the sugar buffet, even with my daily cake fueling consumption trying to train my stomach not to revolt, I need to break up the gels/blocks/gatorade with something NOT so sweet, I think.

I needed some breaks in the day.  I will probably get off the bike at an aide station here or there and definitely at special needs.  I will take care of what I need at run course aide stations and not feel guilty for not running through them.  I’ll try not to be an ass about it, because I’d really like to comfortably finish and I’d like to not look back on my time and think about what could have been, but it’s a long day.  If I need a few minutes somewhere to compose myself, that is OK.

Like my husband said, I’m pretty sure my endurance is not to be fucked with right now.  If it came out of my body, personified, and I saw it in a dark alley?  I’d run away screaming.  It’s absolutely insane how I’m able to persist right now.  Riding my bike at 16.2 mph or swimming at 2:11/100 yd is not impressive in and of itself, but I can do it for a damn long time.  I know it’s going to be a long day.  It’s going to be a difficult day.  There are going to be curveballs I can’t even anticipate right now.  However, I think I’ve done well to prepare myself to tackle this thing.

I have to remember that I put in the work and I rock… (badup, ching!)

I only have two things I couldn’t really figure out and need to do something about in the next few weeks.

Problem #1: I have not yet gotten to truly test IM day nutrition because I have not been able to get up early enough.  I’m not willing to sacrifice sleep to get up early.  This thing starts early.  I need to be less of a zombie before sunrise.

Solution: I need to start shifting myself more to a morning schedule.  This means, closer to the race, I need to give up my evening workouts.  I think in the second taper week, I’ll do the cycle class, the BSS ride, and then aim to do either AM or lunch training ONLY for the next week and a half.

Problem #2: I was super anxious the night before and kind of dreading this workout up until the part I actually got in and started swimming.  Even though the last one went REALLY well, I had figured it was a fluke and there was no way I was ready to put out this much effort in a single day again.  I was nervous about the lake swim since it was my first OWS since December (and really since October, because that was 400m in a warm saltwater lagoon).  I was nervous about 112 on the TT bike and that I hadn’t ridden long for the last two weeks and that I would forget how to do that.  My confidence needs some encouragement.

Solution: Well, I fixed some of it by just getting out and doing shit.  The second day went just about as well as the first, so it WASN’T a fluke, I have the fitness.  The lake swim, while I wasn’t thrilled with it at the time, was probably my best open water season opener yet.  I had a very successful, and reasonably comfortable (for smashing my crotch against a saddle for 7 hours) TT ride, even a little faster than last time.  I know by the time IM day comes I will probably forget that I remember how to do all this stuff and be nervous, but I can draw on the fact that I’ve done two long days and this is just going to be long day #3.

And… I mean, I’ve got an official badass medal.  So, I’m good, right?

The second part of this is harder to quantify and to do anything about.  I remember being about 90% excited and 10% terrified with my first 70.3.  Something happened in the years since then where I haven’t been giddy with joy on race day a lot.  I am really excited for this one.  I mean really, really excited.  For the last 5-6 years we talked about doing an Ironman by 40.  It’s here, it’s here, it’s really here, and my body is actually kind of ready.   They hay is all in the barn.  At this point, I just need to make sure it stays there and no one (read: ME) sets it on fire.

I joked to Zliten that I solved my burnout by training for an Ironman, but it’s really true.  My head has stayed in the positive MUCH more of this cycle than what’s usual, lately.  The experience of doing something so different, devoting myself to training for a few months and feeling OK if I’m putting other aspects of my life on the back burner, it’s been kind of magical.  I let up on the pressure of trying to have it all.  I didn’t want it all.  I just want this one thing and it’s really close.  I also don’t give two flying fucks what the clock says, as long as it’s within the 17 allotted hours, so there’s no stupid voice in my head saying that if you don’t hit x-pace, you’re unworthy.  I just want to officially finish.  Truly.

So, how do I prevent myself from waking up on race morning and my head going to the place where I’m not excited at all and just want to go back to sleep?  I need to train for that too.  I need to arm myself with all the positive thinking, the power songs that I’ll play while I get ready that morning, all the mantras, and I need to remember that this is my day, bitches.  The day that I’ve been picturing for years.  I will not allow myself to fuck it up with negativity.  I will celebrate the culmination of all my training, every step I’ve taken to get from that first mile I ran just to see if I could back in 2008, every one of my six half ironman races and six marathons, and every time I surprised the heck out of myself by pulling out a new feat of strength this cycle.

I need to remind 3-weeks-5-days-in-the-future-me to be brave.  You’re ready for this, physically and mentally, and it’s time to show the world.  Be relentless.  Eat the elephant one bite at a time.  Solve problems as they come up and move on.  Enjoy the day.  Hope the song that gets in your head for the whole bike is a good one.  Live in the moment, don’t think too far ahead.  Be your own friend and encourage yourself along during the day and don’t be a bitch.

And above all, savor every awesome and shitty and wonderful and terrible and painful and euphoric moment.  Because you only get one first Ironman race.

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No Regerts

In retrospect, I should have known I was in a bit of trouble when I crashed into rest week at 9:30pm on Sunday night, finishing up my last to do – passing my Tri Coach test.  Sometimes I feel guilty about bitching that I have too much to do, because, really, at least 87.3% of my life is stuff that I really do enjoy doing.  I don’t dig ditches for a living, not even close.  I choose to triathlon in my spare time because I love it.  I appreciate that I have a great big circle of awesome people in my life.  I love learning new things.  Most days knowing that the busy-ness is a product of my own choosing is enough.

New kits and rainbow socks and bike friends and finally getting to ride outside after work and totally mediocre but wonderful-in-the-moment food.  Who could ask for a better Wednesday?

Once in a while though, even the good stuff gets overwhelming.

The rest of the week was alright, but Thursday, I felt like poop mentally and physically.  I’d been dealing with fatigue, which is actually kind of normal the first part of rest week, but it was lasting a little longer than I would have liked.  I was stressing about the events of my day.  Work was being… work.  I slept late because I was tired and that meant I’d be home super late and I’d be packing the camping stuff super late and it would be another day where I didn’t get to bed on time and I’d have no time to relax and blah blah blah blah.

So I did something I don’t normally do.  I cut my swim and weights that day.  Not attempted to reschedule.  Just cut.  I could not with the idea of squishing into my wetsuit and jumping into a freezing cold lake so I just didn’t.  I halfheartedly brought a change of clothes and the bands the next day to make up weights, but lunch came and went and we just DIDN’T.  So, apparently, I took THREE whole days off last week and I have NO REGERTS about it.

Then, I suffered through quite possibly one of the more miserable 10 mile runs I’ve done.  Most of it is totally on me but not everything.  It’s true, we stayed up drinking at the campsite until well after midnight, that’s on us.  The people making noise until wee hours, making it hard to sleep when we did retire?  That’s outside of our control.  The fact that I only brought one small bottle of half strength gatorade and ate two chews (not two packages, two chews) is on me.  The fact that the weather decided to be INSANELY humid and sunny?  Not my fault.

Pre-run smiles.  Post run I doubled over, hugged the AC in the car for about five minutes, and drank 3 full bottles on the way back to camp.  By the selfie in the fourth panel there had been food and beer, so smiles returned.

However, all these things combined to make it a good mental training run.  Zliten may beg to differ, but I dealt with all these issues with minimal whining considering the facts at hand, and made it back to the car without dying at a pace I would absolutely respect for an IM finish (11:45/mile).

It wasn’t all bad though.  Earlier in the week I had two LOVELY bike rides, and one of the nicest lunch runs in a long while.  Am I thrilled with under 6 hours last week?  Not really, but I think under the circumstances, missing 1.5-2 hours of training on a rest week isn’t the end of the world, and isn’t going to be the deciding factor on how I perform on race day.

  • Runs: 10 miles in 1:57, 5.4 miles in 1 hour
  • Bikes: 9.8 cruiser miles in 1 hour, 17.6 miles in 1:23 (BSS recovery ride)
  • Swims: none (missed 1 hour lake swim)
  • Weights: one ‘bells and bands workout (missed the second planned one)
  • 5.75 hours total

One more two week training block and it’s taper time.  This weekend is the last feat of strength – long day #2.  I’m really ready to find out how this one goes.  It’s the full distance swim (2.4 miles), full distance bike (112 miles), and hour run (/walk if needed).  I’m ready to get my second 100+ ride under my belt, test out race day fueling, and confirm with myself that I haven’t lost the ability to ride my bike even if it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a more-than-half-a-workday ride.

Also, the forecast right now is 82/58 with full sun.  The last long day just happened to fall on a nice, crisp day.  This is more like what we can expect race day, so it will be good to be out in it.

  • Runs: 1 hour lunch run, 75 minute run, 1 hour run (long day)
  • Bikes: cycle class, BSS recovery ride, 112 mile TT bike Shoal Creek loops (long day)
  • Swim: lunch pool swim (DONE), 2.4 mile lake swim (long day)
  • Weights: one down already, one to go!
  • Total: 15.25 hours as projected.

Life stuff:

This is from last year but all the things are kind of the same except the weather was too hot for hats and scarves.

Going camping (especially party camping with a giant group of people) is an interesting choice for an IM training block.  If I was looking for pure recovery in the sense of the word, I was barking up the wrong tree.  Two days of drinking with a really dehydrating 2 hour run in the middle of it.  33k steps.  Dealing with that lovely time of the month in the woods (and the exhaustion that comes from it).

However, I’ve been feeling a little bleh mentally, and I am much better now, thank you.  My soul is refreshed.  I spent two nights playing in the woods, sans phones and screens, and experiencing fun things.  It’s almost as if I had a little mini-vacation.  The best thing about camping close to home?  We were back well before noon on Sunday, and I got to have the lovely day of napping and watching Star Trek, so it almost felt like a long weekend.

Luckily, yesterday was both super restful AND also productive.  The house is pretty well picked up and the camping stuff is put away.  After realizing that my few green toes that still had polish on them that matched my St Patrick’s day outfit were actually left over from Christmas, I made some time to fix that and also fix my caterpillars brows.

Besides one non-negotiable to do this week(getting both the cars inspected over lunch and paying registration), my goal is to eat, sleep, work, and triathlon.  This isn’t for forever, but I really do need to mind my rest and recovery and stress levels if I want to be successful at this. I’ve been skirting the line lately and now it’s time to go back to ignoring the world for a bit. Everything else needs to go on hold.

I tracked my food Mon-Thurs, and then went camping.  Back to it today, but that also means no useful metrics.   Same with weighing.  I weighed twice, and with those weights I was 0.4 lbs down (187.2), but that’s not weighing REGULARLY.  I’m going to keep trying, and I’m happy I’ve made it this far without saying “fuck it”, but for some reason I’m subconsciously rebelling against it.  I don’t know what to say except brains are weird.

Either way, it’s clear to me that my body is not capable of losing weight during Ironman training with the attention to detail I’m willing to put into my diet and tracking it.  That’s ok.  It was a long shot to expect it.  I have gained a lot of muscle, a lot of endurance, and a healthy respect for this distance of racing.  I can work on the number on the scale (and maybe not eating cake daily) after the race.

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