Friday, June 18, 2010

gonna name it stephanie

This will be my third Ironman and each one of them has been different. I don't have kids but this seems kind of similar to giving birth. At Ironman you get a medal and a hat to take home instead of a baby. Quieter but less rewarding. The parallels are uncanny. I've spent 5 months putting my body through huge physical stress and transformation. I had hormonal and emotional changes as a result of this. I had to eat well, get extra sleep, and was tired a lot (pregnancy). The race itself is some serious physical labor and one of the most painful experiences you can go through (giving birth). I have worked on mental strategies to reduce my discomfort during the labor (Lamaz anyone?). I have plans on what I will do after the race to reduce post-race depression (post-natal). After the race I won't want to do another but after a while I will forget about the pain and then sign up again.  No but seriously, I don't know if I would want more than three kids.

Checking in on my mental work...
I've been thinking hard and long about why I am doing this. I need to know the answer to that question and the answer needs to be good enough so that I don't give up. My one thing is that I want to master execution of a long race. I want to prove to myself that I can have a solid run after a solid bike. Two years ago at IM WI, I didn't have enough calories during the bike and I gave up during the run. I wasn't mentally prepared for setbacks and had no reason to push through. My training season was filled with injuries and overwhelming stress and it came with me on race day.

This season has been completely different and I want to use this opportunity to prove to myself that I am a strong competitor at this distance. I have a solid race plan written up with realistic pacing for each section of the course. I am extremely organized with my gear. I have made lists of all the potential problems I am worried could happen and can now come up with a solution for each one. If I have a clear plan ahead of time, then there is nothing to worry about because it is just a matter of executing a slight detour in the plan. I have more experience troubleshooting physical and mechanical issues on the spot this time. There is nothing and no one that is going to stand between me and success. I am not accepting less than 100% effort from myself. I have put in the work and I have the mental strength to do this thing.

last week of taper

Rest day and massage

Run 9 miles [1:14] 
35 min@8:30 pace, 2 mi@16:16, 1 mi@7:52

Core Routine
3 rounds of:
20 tick-tocks (each side) with stick
10 med ball twists
30 sec plank hold

Swim 2400yd [38 min]
MS: 4 x 600@9:06, 9:06,9:11,9:24 (race pace)
I'm planning to split up the race course into 4 sections in my mind so this was good practice for that. Section 3 of 4 is always the hardest because you are tired but still have a lot left to go. That's the time when I find it most necessary to divert my mind away from external thoughts and stay focused on swimming each stroke with perfect form. Long and strong strokes. Reach and pull through. Kick even and steady.

Run 5 miles [40:13] with 8 x (30sec hard/30 sec walk)
I did this run in the mid-day heat: 95 degrees and humid with full sun. I used the difficult conditions as a way to simulate the later sections of the Ironman marathon. When my mind thinks I should stop, I keep going. In the case of today, my skin was burning hot, my heart rate was elevated, and I just felt bad in general. However, my legs themselves felt fine, and there was no reason they couldn't keep running. I wouldn't feel much better walking in the heat anyway. It's almost always the case that my mind is ready to stop before my body.

I dropped off my bike at the bike shop today to be shipped to Coeur d'Alene with Tri Bike Transport. For $300 they take care of getting it to and from the race. Pricey yes, but worth saving the hassle of paying to rent a case, pack the bike, pay to take it on the plane, and reassemble it at the race site myself. I've got enough gear to carry around without having my bike.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

run and crossfit

Run 5 miles with 4 x (400m hard/400m moderate on 4 min)

Crossfit Helen - Gymrat version (burpees instead of 400m run)
3 rounds for time:
10 burpees
21 KB swings (15#)
12 pullups

I felt stiff and sore in the first two miles of the run but felt amazingly great after that. The morning humidity is an issue... at 7:30am it was already feeling too hot and I was drenched in sweat. I headed over to the gym for a quick strength workout. The goal right now is to sharpen up my upper body and core strength without getting too sore. Feeling strong gives me confidence and I need that.

Monday, June 14, 2010

big day at the gym

Strength Workout
Crossfit warmup
5 rounds: 7 deadlifts@95#, 7 push press@45#
3 rounds: 10 air squats, 25 situps

Swim 2900yd [54 min]
MS: 20x100yd@1:25-1:29 (on 1:45)

Bike 55 minutes with 3 x 6 min hard/2 min recover
[did in spin class]

Run 3 miles easy 
[27:20 on treadmill]

This took a solid 3 hours at the gym and then I was done. I didn't have to deal with heat or traffic and all my quality work got done as needed. It was a load off my mind to make it simple today. I hadn't been to the gym in a few weeks and it really lifted my spirits to be back there working out around other people. It makes me realize how isolated, lonely, and monotonous this training has become. Spin class was upbeat and I actually smiled and had fun. I have missed Danielle's class a lot.  How strange when smiling feels weird. This is really messing with my mind.

So... all the workouts were decent today. I feel kind of tired overall but I am going to come back in time to race.

Other things.... I dropped off my bike at the shop for it's final tune-up and cleaning, and I bought all the nutrition products I will need to top off my stash until race day. Working down the checklist.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

IronKids Triathlon

[Rest day today]

This morning I volunteered at the IronKids triathlon in Round Rock. My job was to ride back and forth on a section of the bike course and make sure everyone was safe. The age groups were 6-8, 9-11, 12-15. It's interesting to watch kids race because you can see in them the same variety of seriousness and focus as in adults. Some kids are out there with expensive tri bikes, race wheels, and aero helmets racing to win. Other kids are out there with cheap bikes from Target with pink streamers on the handlebars just having fun. Some kids were able to push themselves really hard out of a competitive spirit and some of them didn't care much about that.

It was very rewarding to see their faces light up and smile when I would ride next to them and tell them what a great job they are doing. I asked a few girls about the swim and they told me it was good but there was seaweed and it stuck to them (giggle).  When I saw kids slowing down or about to give up, I told them to go chase the kids ahead and that always lit a fire under them.

This race reminded me how triathlon is fun stuff. It's play. For the kids today, the distances were plenty long (2/4/8 miles on the bike) and for us big kids at Ironman the distances are longer but it's still the same fun game. And with that I'm gonna go chase down those girls ahead because I don't want them to beat me.