I mistakenly thought that my 3rd week out would be a taper week. Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled when I say 19 hrs on my training calendar. And that was with taking Monday off. Oof.
But, typical to how I've approached this thing, I just put my head down and did what was asked of me. Tuesday was a 4 km swim workout, including 30 x 100 free at IM pace. Ick. Wed was a 1:30 run. I am sooo over running. Thurs was a 1:30 bike and 30 min run. But I got them done.
Friday was another swimbikerun day with 3.6 km swim and my usual Deer Creek - High Grade bike adventure and a run. My coach insisted on riding with me, which is intimidating, but also but cool. I usually do the Deer Creek ride solo because I just need to do it on my own terms. I don't want added pressure of keeping up with people or feeling guilty about stopping if I can't breathe. But in the end, it was a good thing Michelle went with me. Immediately upon leaving my HR was in the 160's. At the start of the climb, my HR was 175. It is normally 165 in that section. I had to stop and bring my HR down. Lame. Especially when my coach was with me. On the easier section, my HR was still way too high so we decided to just make it to the top of the switchbacks. My HR zoomed to 180, which was really odd because my legs pretty much spun up the hill. We got to the top and Michelle declared that my ride was done and had me turn around. Even coasting down the hill, my HR was 125-130 and on the flats I was at 140. She pulled the plug on my run as well and told me to "go home, eat, nap, and watch a movie." Ok! I needed to get my body rested enough so I could hit my targets for Saturday and Sunday. So I got some food, went home, had a nap (supervised by both kitties) and then hung out on the couch all night. Really lame for a Friday night, but I needed it.
As much of a bummer as that was, it was nice having Michelle with me. If she wasn't, I would have been stubborn and forced my way (very slowly) up the damn hill. She did tell me that my bike fits me perfectly (it should) and that my legs are really strong (yay!). And for the first time in my training, I actually cracked. I've had other times where I was really tired and then somehow ran the fastest mile splits of my life. This time, I was really, truly too tired to perform. Michelle was beginning to wonder if I was bomb-proof because I just kept on going. If there was a good time to crack, I suppose Friday was it. It shows that my training load has finally caught up to me.
Saturday was a 5 hour ride and a 40 min run. She had notes in there about riding 80 miles, but I had strict instructions to keep the ride at 5 hrs and to keep my HR around 135 for the whole ride. Ok. I met my friend Ryan and he took me on a random 2-wheeled tour of Littleton, Denver, Wheatridge, Golden, Red Rocks, Morrison, and Deer Creek. I wish I had pics, especially around Red Rocks, but I just didn't feel like messing with my phone.
We were on trails the first 2:15 of the ride, until we got to Golden. And from Golden to Chatfield Reservoir, we went through random neighborhoods that had a lot of hills. My HR was much better though. Average HR was 132 and I think it peaked out at 165. Good deal.
My MP3 player died 2 hrs into the bike so I had to do the 40 min run without music. It was also a bit hot out. But my legs and stomach felt good - I ended up going 0.15 mile farther than last week. (of course, I had ridden 2 hrs less this week).
I think I finally have my nutrition figured out, which is awesome. My bricks in April and early May had MAJOR side stitches for the first 20 min of the run. Like "hurts bad enough I need to walk and stick my fingers in my ribcage every 4 minutes" kind of bad. We've been working on my bike nutrition and I think I finally have it nailed down, because my past 2 long bricks have been awesome. It seems that the key is to dilute my drink mix and to eat most of my calories. This is kind of a pain in the ass to execute but I will do it if it means my stomach is happier.
After the brick, my friend and I went and got wings and beer, and laughed about how a 5 hr ride seems short. Our waitress thought we were crazy. Ironman: where insanity is all relative.
Sunday required some pep-talks. I had a 2:15 run, where the middle :45 needed to be at HIM pace. And then I had a 1:30 recovery ride. I decided to get up semi-early (6:15 AM) and drive over to the High Line Canal for my run. High Line is a nice, even, wide dirt path that goes all over Denver. You've got green grass, pretty mountain views, and mansions to look at while you run. And it is fairly flat. So if your run sucks, it will at least be pretty.
This was another one of those "just get it done" kind of workouts that ended up being pretty great. The first 30 minutes really sucked, my legs were really heavy and my stride was choppy. Then around 35 min I realized I was running smooth and kinda fast. I started my 45 min HIM pace at 40 min into the run and I was really suprised with how well I did. I was using this run as a test for my nutrition, which is probably the least proven on the run. At every mile, I'd walk for 0.05 mi where I'd drink and eat 2 chews (30 cals). This seemed to work, I had good energy and my stomach was fine, even at the harder efforts. Even better, my peak 5k pace was 10:22 min/mile and my peak 1 mile pace was 10:15 min/mile (which includes the little walk breaks). Solid! And the really great part is that for the efforts, my HR was only around 150-155. I can only hope to do that during my race. I had 45 min remaining in my run so I chilled out and ran at a slower but comfortable pace. I then realized why my coach had me run the HIM effort in the middle of this run. It was so my legs would get tired and I would have to finish my run on tired legs. Ah hah! That coach of mine is so smart sometimes. I finished up the run with 12.34 miles and a pace of 10:58. A full 30 seconds/mile faster than last week's long 14-mile run, where the last part was awful. What a difference a week makes. I sooo needed this run and the confidence boost that came along with it.
Then I did an easy 1:30 ride on the trails by my house and that was the end of the week!
This week looks much more tapery. 12 hrs. Swim and bike seem pretty easy. Running is not easy with Tuesday having 4 x 1 mile fast efforts and Saturday's 1 hr run having 3 miles at sub-9:15. That's a 5k on a 9:15 pace. I don't run that fast, or at least I didn't 6 months ago. I think I do now. We shall see.
Race day is 13 days away and so far so good. No freaking out, no crazy dreams, just a feeling of good solid training and knowing I'm ready to get it done. :)