Wednesday, August 23, 2006

bikram yoga... sweat-o-rama

Run - 7 miles, 1:01 - with hills
Yoga - 90 minute class

It has not been warm outside lately and I have started to get concerned that I am losing my heat acclimation that I built up during the earlier part of the summer. Since in the past it has always been about 95 degrees on the day of Ironman, it is important that I am heat acclimated. Preparing for this is just one more of the obsessive-compulsive details I can do to give myself a competitive edge.

How do I do this? Sitting in the sauna is good, but it's too hot (and small) in there to do any physical activity. Hmmm... I came up with the idea of going to Bikram yoga and went to my first class yesterday afternoon. Bikram yoga is like regular yoga except the room is an infrared sauna, so it is hot. As I went in the room for the first time and laid down on my mat to relax before class, I was already dying of heat. About 5 minutes into the first standing breathing exercises, sweat was already dripping off and making a puddle below me. Halfway through, my full size towel was saturated and I was so drenched I looked like I just got out of the shower. I didn't know I could sweat this much. As my muscles got warmed up, it felt good. What a great detoxifier too! I only had one water bottle with me and could have used about 2 or 3 more. Some people didn't seem to be sweating much, which amazes me. The yoga itself was not hard since it was the basic poses that I do regularly. The heat was great though, and I think this is going to be a perfect way to get used to working my body in heat. I signed up for a two-week membership of unlimited classes so I can go as much as I want during my taper.

Maybe I'll keep going after my taper too. It was fun.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

things looking up

Swim - 1.2 miles, 41 min

Things are looking up today. I started the day dragging and exhausted, but felt so much better after my massage. Mentally I feel just rejuvenated enough to be slightly interested in doing some workouts this week. I went to the store and bought some groceries, which in itself seemed to cheer me up. I had a huge spinach salad for dinner with avocado, leeks, strawberries, and tomatoes, and then followed that with a bowl of plain yogurt and cereal.

I also went to the store and bought myself the Vol. 1 cd by the band Hurt. I love the songs Rapture and Fall Apart and have been in need of something new to listen to. The Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium has gotten me through the past two months, which says a lot considering how much time I spend with my mp3 player, but one can only listen to that so much. I wish Evanescence would release their new album now, but I guess I will have to get through on their one new song.

Besides everything else it offers, Ironman teaches the necessity of knowing how to care for oneself.

Monday, August 21, 2006

last mega-weekend


Notes to self for taper:
-Make sure to get to yoga class
-Do not ride the Ironman bike course anymore!!
-Ride parts of the Horribly Hilly course instead
-Do more structured pool workouts to sharpen up technique
-Reincorporate abs and pushups
-Sleep at least 9 hours each night
-Be extra nice to self
-Read books and magazines that are not related to triathlon

[Sunday 8/20/06]
Bike - 91 miles, 6:11
Run - 6 miles, 55 min

After this workout, for the first time I can honestly say that I feel ready to do Ironman. I started tired and I didn't get progressively more tired throughout the workout. Usually fatigue is linear, but my body is so far beyond normal now that I feel just as tired after 20 miles on the bike as I do after 91 and a 6 mile run. Fatigue is fatigue is fatigue. This was my last mega-workout of the training season! Yippee! Now I am starting my three-week taper to race day.

I took a new route for the first 50 miles of the ride (the Bombay Bicycle Club "Days of Wine and Roses" ride), and then did a loop of the Ironman course. The first half of the ride was rolling hills to moderate, which was a nice change from the usually hilly stuff. I nailed the bike nutrition today and know exactly what I have to do on race day. Key point: do not rely on Gatorade under any circumstances. It does not have the right mix of nutrients and electrolytes. Another key point: the value of bagels with peanut butter and jelly should not be underestimated.

The first mile of the run was tough, but after that I got into a groove and felt great on the hilly course that I ran. I can't explain it, but I felt nearly "fresh". Given how hard I have been training, clearly there is no possible way that I was fresh. Things are going on with my body now that I have never experienced before and can not explain. I have gotten to unchartered territory in my fitness level and ability to work through fatigue. It amazes me.

Now all I have to do is ease up and recover. I am set.

[Saturday 8/19/06]
Swim - 2.4 miles, 1:20
Bike - 37 miles, 2:13
Run - 6.7 miles, 1:01

Not much change in my state of mind today. I know I am almost there so I can't give up, but this is getting less and less fun. My body is toast. Beyond toast. The workouts were ok but I felt like I was just going through the motions, slogging through the miles. It is beginning to feel like work. I tried to be as nice to myself as possible.

This morning they were holding the Madison Open Water Swim on the Ironman course in Lake Monona so the buoys were set up in the same places that they will be for Ironman. It was nice to swim the course and know exactly how far out I go, and to be able to practice sighting off of big flourescent buoys. Plus, there were lots of swimmers out there. I didn't compete but I watched.

After the swim I treated myself to go the morning farmer's market with a friend and get a delicious cornmeal crepe breakfast burrito. The crepe was the highlight of my week, though I proceeded to have an Ironman meltdown as I was eating it. In the relentless spirit of Ironman training, there was little time for melting down - I had to get going on my bike ride. The bike ride was uninteresting and I didn't attempt to go anywhere unusual, basically just the regular route out to Verona and back.

Then on to the run... does this workout ever end? I went through the Arboretum and on some of the trails in there. I haven't ran the trails by myself before because I don't know where they go and think I will get hopelessly lost. Today I didn't care if I got lost and was thinking that maybe getting lost would actually cheer me up. I didn't get lost, but I did have a nice time on the trails. I visited a special place in the woods that a friend of mine devotes to her mother who has passed away. I stopped my run to continue the meltdown at this place and to ask her mother for help. I think she helped me a great deal because I felt better and figured out how to get through tomorrow.

[Friday 8/18/06]

I couldn't bear the thought of getting the water today so I decided to skip it. It is getting really tough to maintain this. I am near mental breakdown. I have been having trouble sleeping because I am so worried about how painful the Ironman run is going to be after the bike. I am dreading the weekend.