6 weeks, 5 days.

Riding in the rain is ok and riding inside is meh and running outside in the rain is <3 and also I look doofy in many types of hats.

I’m starting to get to the point where the countdown is no longer freaking me out, I’m starting to get super excited to toe that line in The Woodlands in April.  I know it’s going to be a long day.  I know it’s going to be a hard day.  I fully expect to cross that finish line battered, beaten, and in shreds.  A month ago, I just had NO idea how I would do this Ironman thing.  Now, I feel like my fitness is approaching the minimum baseline to limp across this line.  I’m torn between wanting to cling to every moment left to build precious fitness, and feeling like “I’m ready, let’s do this thing”.

Being that there’s no way to change the race date, I’ll just do my best to skate the line of increasing my fitness and staving off overtraining and burnout and the dirty dirty “i” word we won’t even speak of here but ends with jury.  I think I’m doing a decent job, I still feel excited to train most days, and while I feel that persistent training fatigue, I also don’t feel completely BEAT UP all the time.  And then, when I do, I cut or shorten a session.  Better to show up undertrained than… than the “i” word.

The corner definitely turned about 9 days ago.  That long day session, that 1 hr swim, 5 hr bike, 2 hr run, showed me that 1) I have some amazing base right now and 2) it didn’t kill me.  Yeah, I took the next day off and the day after that light, but by Tuesday, I was back to it at least at 85% killing it in cycle class.  If I can do that 8 hour workout and still pull 11-ish hours the next week, I’m approaching the zone.  And honestly, I know these stupid long races are pretty mental as well.  If I really believe I can do it, no matter whether I’m actually physically ready or not, that’s huge.

This past weekend, for my birthday, I wanted to go play bikes all day in the sunny sun sunshine.  The weather gave us cold, windy, and rainy.  I still wanted to play bikes outside.  So we rode with the BSS group for 25 miles in conditions between spitting and torrential downpour.  I oscillated between saying “eff, is this ride over yet” and “eff, I don’t want this ride to be over yet” because I am a fickle pickle.

When it was over, I decided that we could try to continue to play bikes outside closer to the house, but when we got there and left the heated confines of the Xterra, we were too chilled in our wet kit.  So, we went home to trainer it out for the remaining 2h20.  I won’t say it was torture but it was torture.  I had planned for 4-5 hours on the bike, 5 if we were out having fun, 4 if we weren’t.  So, we cut it right at 4.

It was raining pretty good outside, and I kept looking at it on the bike going “I CANT WAIT TO GO RUN IN THAT”.  I’m sure I’m weird and most runners are not into being drenched, but for some reason, it makes me so happy to run in the rain.  The plan was 30-60 mins, and we shoveled ourselves quickly out the door after our third change of clothes, and I happily clipped along at sub-11 min/mile pace and even left Zliten when he finished 5k to go run more because I didn’t want to stop and only stopped at 4.5 because I said I wouldn’t go longer.  I had all the more miles in me.

These are things I’ll draw on.  If I can make it through the bike, which, at 7 hours, give or take, will be a little torturous no matter what sort of day I’m having, I get a new start on the run.  I intend to make full costume changes between the 3 sports – it’s a long day and I want to be comfortable – but also because it helps signify that it’s starting a new thing and to put the last thing, however it went, in a bag with some dirty stinky clothes to unpack later.

Speaking of bags… it feels like I live out of them lately.  All the bags.  Just call me the triathlon bag lady.

Also, it was nice to find a 4 hour/4.5 mile brick didn’t really smash me into smithereens.  I skipped the swim I had planned yesterday but it was less of a product of CAN’T and more of a product of “I need to study for my Tri Coach cert and it’s wet and gross out there and it’s my birthday weekend and I just don’t WANNA”.  When it got nicer out later that day, we decided instead to take a walk to lunch and an errand.  I haven’t been tracking those longer walks but it was probably about the effort level of a recovery ride and almost an hour so I counted it this time.

Last week:

  • 2 weights sessions (one home dozen/kettlebells, one bodyweight/bands at work)
  • 1 swim – 1500m in ~27 min.  Oops.
  • 3 bikes – cycle class (77 min), the slowest commute into the wind ever (60 min), 4 hours split between pouring rain and indoor riding (240 min).
  • 3 runs – 45 min lunch run, 80 min morning run, 45 min brick run.
  • 1 long walk.

Total – 11.5 hours.  I did a little less in some sessions than planned (the 45 min lunch run was supposed to be 60, the 80 should have been 90, etc), but I’m going to say I held it together decently well.

This week:

It’s the last week before a rest week, and I’m feeling *pretty* decent, so I’m going to try to stick to the schedule and push it as much as I can.  I don’t have that many weeks left, so I want to keep on building, but only if the mojo is flowing.  You need mojo to build a solid structure.

  • 2 weights sessions
  • 2 swims – one 1500m lunch swim, one as-close-to-race-distance-bef0re-Zliten-goes-nuts (so at least 3k, hopefully closer to 4k).
  • 4-5 rides – though none over 2 hours.  The goal is volume and a little intensity spread out over the week.  Cycle class, a commute, some trainer time, and a outdoor recovery ride on Sunday.
  • 2 runs – my last over half marathon distance long run (20 miles) on Saturday and an easy hour mid-week.

Depending on some of the sessions, I’m looking at anywhere from 12.5-15 hours.  11-13 seems to be my IM comfort zone for training, with peaks from 14-15 some weeks.  I hope it’s enough, but it’s what I’ve been able to handle, so it will have to do.

After this week, it’s another recovery week of 7-8 hours, and then the FINAL PUSH of two weeks to taper with lots of brick work, my last long day, and maybe a little mock triathlon to bust the rust.  ITS ALL HAPPENING OMG!

In other life stuff…

Sparkles, fancy drinks, and lobster noodles.  What else can you ask for in a birthday (besides being on a tropical island and not having to work in the morning)?

I celebrated my birthday with some low-key fun.  We went out both Thursday and Saturday (but we were home by 8:30 both nights) – the former to try out some new places by work for dinner and fancy gin drinks, and the latter was to Trulucks, one of my happiest places on earth.  It’s not often that we drop that much money on wine, crab, and the best desserts known to human-kind, but it’s totally worth it once every blue moon.

I usually make a big fuss about my birthday, and invite a bunch of friends to go party hardy, but I just don’t have the energy for that now.  Doesn’t mean I’m not celebrating the whole month, but I’m just doing it a little more… quietly than normal.

Honestly, I fell off tracking just about everything once Birthdaymas (aka, March) started.  I will probably go back and do it because I promised myself I would this cycle, and I’ve resumed tracking today, but it will definitely be inaccurate.   I may come update this with my results, or I may just leave it be.  I feel like I’m eating as much as I need to, maybe a little less, definitely not more, and my weight just keeps staying right around the same set point, with lots of fluctuations up and down.

The good news is that I DID indeed spend 4 hours yesterday reviewing my Tri Coach material.  I’m going to try and take a few minutes each day to study more, and my plan is to take that test on Sunday.

This week, I don’t have a whole lot of free time to spare, so my big huge life goals beyond passing that test will be to be a little less scruffy – repaint my terrible looking toenails and pluck my caterpillars eyebrows.  I really, really do need to clean out my car and take it in for it’s overdue service, but we’ll call that a BONUS this week.  Maybe that’s the strategy.

I’ll let you know how that goes…