FOR THE RECORD: If you choose to snack on seedless red grapes - maybe think about rinsing them TWICE before you indulge. Yesterday I found a small but fuzzy spider in my snack bag of red seedless - Needless to say, I lost my appetite at that point.
What a weekend! I'm still tired and it's already Wednesday but I am not leery about my 90 minute run tonight so I guess that means I am on track with my Ironman Training.
This weekend was the last official LONG WEEKEND of TRAINING for IRONMAN USA.
The workout schedule called for a 2-mile open SWIM practice and a 20 mile Zone 2 RUN. I met Team Z down at Gunston's Manor for the swim and run.
The open water SWIM went really well. I was very happy with my half mile swim loop times (19:00 - 20:00 per loop) and I felt pretty comfortable in the water - even though I grew weary of having to pull my hands and feet out of the fresh water hydra. Those weeds were just prolific! Really - ridiculous!!
The RUN started out just fine and then along came the Rain - at least it stayed warm. I heard THUNDER but never saw any lightening so I just kept on running. It really helped to see my other Team Z-mates out on the course. There is solidarity and comfort in knowing your not the only one out there. Something like "misery loves company" with a side of " GO Z!" to make you smile.
We ran along the roads leading into Mason Neck State Park and Wildlife Reserve and it was really quiet (except for the Thunder) and beautiful with lots of frogs that would leap in the low bog water along the side of the road with a loud "RIBIT" as you ran along. At one point on the second loop, I found myself laughing out loud - for every foot step - it seemed I would startle 2-3 frogs. It was one of those times that you think "If not for this workout - I would have missed this entire moment..."
I did cut my RUN down to 16 miles because I am still a little behind the rest of the group on running volume due to the pleurisy and the wedding but those 16 miles felt good so I know I have what it takes to handle another 10 miles if I stick to my RUN 5/WALK 1 intervals on IM USA race day.
My total volume for Saturday:
• 2 miles open water swimming - 1:20
• 16 mile run (5/1 intervals) - 3:25 (12:50 pace)
Sunday was the BIG RIDE and Team Z ALL-HANDS picnic! On the schedule for me was 120 miles starting in Nokesville, VA. The 120/70 mile riders started bright and early at 7AM. The day was pretty much 80 and overcast for the entire day with winds going from 10-15 mph all day long. There was always a headwind, crosswind or tailwind - which made the ride a little more challenging considering the terrain was "gently rolling". We did have some climbs but they were always long, gentle gradients with a few short steep climbs that required nothing more than a little extra power.
All in all the ride was FANTASTIC! I was able to dial my nutrition plan in and it was SPOT ON! I rode by myself the entire way - about 2 minutes back from a group of teammates that I thought I was on pace with but staying in my Zone 2 meant not trying to bridge the gap to them and since this was supposed to be training for race day - I knew that I needed to ride alone and be "OK" with it for 120 miles. But it was nice to know the group wasn't that far ahead and everybody always had a "Hi!" or "Looking Good Holly" for me when they saw me at the rest stops as I rolled in and they rolled out.
I only had one tough patch the entire ride and that was right around mile 101 on the bike. I found myself getting tired. I took the time to self-assess, took a GU that I knew would kick in in about 15-20 minutes and took the time to do some positive thinking. I told myself:
"Embrace this moment, remember what this feels like. Your going to have less than 11 miles left on race day and you will be climbing the hardest part of the bike course. Now is the time to dig deep and be strong and believe because you need to get back to Transition and get on the RUN course!"
Of course, on Sunday, there was no run to transition to but there was still another 20+ miles to go so the mental practice help and the rough patch passed and the GU, when it kicked in at Mile 109 made the last 10 mile fly by. I can honestly say that I felt STRONG when I finished. I'm sure part of it was the endorphin rush of knowing that I had just biked 120 miles but the other part of it was that I got my nutrition right. Had I needed to Run after that bike ride, I had the energy to do it. Now I KNOW my legs would have felt like BRICKS but I was not suffering from any stomach issues or general exhaustion which speaks VOLUMES about my conditioning.
Total Volume for Sunday: 119.35 miles - 8:25 hours (14.1 mph average)
Monday was a FULL REST DAY - Thank Gosh!
Tuesday was LONG AM SWIM with Team Z. I managed to get in 2850 yards in 1:30 but I was toast and very thankful not to have a second workout for the day.
Today will be a 90 minute run in Zone 2 and then it's back to "double workouts" as the official TAPER begins. Everything that follows over the next 4.5 weeks is considered "taper volumes" to get my body ready for the big day.
Just because it is a taper - don't expect to see me slacking off on workouts. I want my body and mind prepared and primed for race day so I am committed to every workout from here until race day.