I started out the week with a 1 mile swim Monday morning. I did my long run of 11.5 miles Monday afternoon/night. This was a great run, much better than last week. The weather was 100% better as well.
Tuesday morning I did a 40 minute strength session. I did 45 minutes on the trainer Tuesday afternoon, but with a twist. I added the first intensity of the year. Actually, it’s the first intensity I’ve done in three months. It felt great to go hard. I did about 15 minutes of core work after the ride.
I did another mile in the pool Wednesday morning. This swim was tough for some reason. My pace was a bit faster than normal, but not by much. I guess it was just one of “those” workouts. I decided I’d add some intensity to my run Wednesday afternoon. I ended up with about 5 miles and was pretty tired afterwards. Even though it felt hard, I really wasn’t going very fast. But, it was nice to get going after tooling around at 10-12 minute miles for the last three months. I did 20 minutes of core afterwards.
I was back in the gym Thursday morning for about 38 minutes of strength training. I did an hour on the trainer Thursday evening and did a bit of core work afterwards.
Now for the big news of the week…..big to me. I did a 4450 yard (2.5 mile) straight swim Friday morning. I realize this is a normal swim for some folks, but it was a big deal for me. I knew I could do it before, but now I KNOW I can. Best of all, I felt great during the whole swim. That’s a huge confidence boost for me. My pace was slow; it took me an hour and 30 minutes….and 9 seconds. But doing it fast wasn’t the point. I’ve got a long time before race day to work on getting faster. Doing it non-stop and not feeling like I needed a nap afterwards was the point. One of the things in the back of my mind during these long dark base months has been the fear of coming out of the water at Ironman Florida, being totally shelled, and having a bad day as a result. Not to say that won’t happen on race day, but now I know it’s possible for me to complete the swim and feel good afterwards.
I had a great 4.2 mile run Friday afternoon.
Saturday morning was predicted to be a little on the cold side (for us warm climate types anyway). I decided to go into work Saturday morning, do a little catching up, and wait for the temps to rise before starting my ride. The forecast was for high 20s/low 30s starting out, warming to low 50s. Trusting the forecast, I brought clothes for riding in 50-degree temps. Noon quickly rolled around and I did a quick check of the temperature before leaving. 37 degrees with a “feels-like” temp of 30. Not good! When I walked out the door I knew immediately that I should’ve brought warmer clothing. Oh well, I’ll be ok once I get going, I though. So I suited up, loaded up with bars, gels, and drink, and headed out.
Wow. It’s freakin cold, was all I could think the first couple of miles. But I’ll be ok once I get the blood flowing, I thought……
The ride was planned to be three hours. I was doing a 13-mile loop and figured it’d take me about four loops to complete the ride. About half way through the first loop, my fingers were numb, my toes were aching, and I was thinking, screw this, I’m going home, this ain’t fun. I’d almost decided to scrap the ride, but as I neared the end of the first loop, I decided I’d dig around in my truck and see if I could find more clothes. I found a long sleeved t-shirt and another pair of gloves. I put on the extra layer and decided I’d try one more loop. I made it through the second loop and felt a little better. Still cold, fingers and toes still hurting, but not as bad. I decided I’d keep going.
I hadn’t eaten lunch at noon before starting and I’d been so preoccupied with getting warm that I’d totally forgotten to eat or drink while riding up until this point. Doooooh! I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat on the go with my double-gloved cold hands. I’d have to stop, take off the gloves and a layer of clothing, eat, re-layer, and proceed. I’ll get around to it in a bit when I warm up a little more, I thought. I completed the third loop and was starting to feel the effects of not eating or drinking. But, I figured, what’s the use in eating now, I only have one loop to go. Not far into the fourth and final loop, my heart rate began to rise, though my pace was steady. I started to feel my energy begin to fade. My thoughts during the final half of the loop were, JUST FINISH.
I stepped off my bike back at the parking lot, glad to be finished, but feeling a little dizzy. I think I was beginning to bonk. A pretty dumb mistake on my part to not eat for the entire three hours. I was not feeling good at all.
I loaded up my bike, changed clothes and headed home. I turned the heat on full blast and soon felt the needles in my fingers and toes as the numbness started to fade. As I headed home, I noticed a Burger King up ahead. You know what comes next…. “I’ll have a number one with coke please”. Nothing like a whopper, fries and a coke to replenish the stores. I scarfed it down. Soon…….. all was right with the world again.
Hard lesson #453 learned…No matter how many layers have to be removed, EAT during long workouts. Though this was far from my most stellar ride, I was glad to have gutted it out and completed it.
This week is a recovery week for me. I’m going with a 3:1 train/recovery ratio and see how it works for me. In other words, I’ll train normally for three weeks and then take the fourth week as a recovery week. During the recovery week (this week), I’ll basically cut the duration of my long sessions in half, knock the upper heart rate limit of workouts down by 10 bpm (yep, it’s gonna be really slow), cut about a quarter of the duration off of my normal runs and rides, cut out one of the three sets of my strength sessions, and do no hard intensity. I’ll keep the core work the same. I want to feel like I’m not doing nearly enough during this week and be chomping at the bits when next Monday morning rolls around.
Bring on the recovery!