Monday, June 30, 2014

Ramblings - IM Peak Training Edition

Here I am 33 days out from IM Boulder - here's what rattling around in my little brain.

The training this year doesn't seem nearly as scary/hard as the past two IM builds.  Really, it seems like I've just been s/b/r'ing along at a "normal" volume.  Things didn't really start to feel too crazy until last week when I hit 16+ hours.  I know I've been training a bunch, it just hasn't felt like it.  Probably because this volume has become my new normal.

I officially went into food lockdown mode last week.  No bread, no sweets (except my nightly dose of dark chocolate), no fruit.  Just lots of meat, veg, sweet potatoes, avocado, and nuts.  I dropped weight successfully last year and am hoping to do the same this year.  For whatever reason, I think I'll be a bit heavier than last year, but I do think I've gained more muscle since then.

My motto is now "just survive the next 3 weeks".  I figure I have 2 really hard 20+ hour week, a medium-hard week, and then sweet, sweet taper.  One of my friends actually asked me if I was starting my taper soon and I just laughed.  I'm a month out.  Its too early to think of taper.

I need to stop comparing myself to my friend's training schedules.  I have several friends who already have several 100 mile rides under them.  My longest ride (yesterday) was 87 miles.  I was so wrapped up in this that last week, I went and printed off my TrainingPeaks schedule from 2013 IMCDA and compared it to where I am now.  Turns out, I'm the same to even slightly ahead of last year.  I will be fine.  Deep breaths. Chill the f out.

As usual, I'm still dinking around with my nutrition.  I'm trying to eat real food.  Do you know how much crap you have to carry with you for a 7 hour bike ride, fueled by real food?!?!  Its a ton of food.  I quickly learned that the FeedZone rice cakes, while tasty, are not at all practical for IM bike rides.  I've been trying to use Salty Balls, but they get really sticky and are hard to swallow (insert joke here....).  They're enough of a pain where I find that I'm not eating enough of them.  And I have to carry them around (bento box, special needs).  So this past weekend I tried Bonk Breakers.  They're at the aid stations for Boulder (so I don't need to carry 7 hours worth) and are gluten free.  Each one is 220-270 calories, so I'd need to eat ~1 1/3 per hour. They're also less sticky and go down a bit easier.  For this weekend's ride, I packed 6 bars and 2 packs of Honey Stinger Chews and did ok.  The main issue is that real food takes freaking forever to chew and swallow.  I even timed myself - 3 minutes.  And when you're eating something every 15 minutes, I'm spending 12 minutes PER HOUR chewing.  Blech.  My stomach was happy though, so I think I just need to get over the chewing thing and consider it race entertainment.

My shoulder is finally happy.  I did something gnarly to my left rotator cuff, causing it to snap like a rubber band.  I finally found a chiro/ART guy who is pretty aggressive with my treatment.  I've had 4 pain-free swims.  No time like a month before your IM to get your shoulders back and happy, right?

My 20 year high school reunion was this past weekend.  They had a Friday night happy hour and a Saturday afternoon BBQ.  The Friday thing was downtown and cost $40/per person and from what I could tell only covered the cost of a private room and some appetizers.  Doesn't that seem excessive?  I mean, if I was travelling to town for this, I'd probably go with it and call it a "vacation expense".  But to spend $80 for both of us and only get appetizers?  Not to mention the fact that it was going to be a lot of "on my feet time", I'd likely have to go and eat dinner somewhere else before the event, and I'd probably have to leave early since I had to get up at 5:20 and run/swim before the BBQ.  I dunno, maybe I was being cheap, but it was hard for me to see many pluses.  I went to the BBQ, only got 2 plates in me.  Will continued to be a great sherpa, telling me to quit talking and get more food.  I saw some people I really enjoyed catching up with, but again, I don't know.  With facebook, it seems that you can find people you want to re-connect with and develop relationships.  Talking to someone for 5 minutes every 10 years doesn't seem all that meaningful.  Maybe I was just tired and cranky, who knows.

The long training stuff is starting to build up.  I'm trying to find pretty places so it isn't so awful.  Saturday I had a 2:15 run and a 0:45 OWS.  So I parked my truck at Chatfield (where I swim) and decided to run up Waterton Canyon.  This run is a bit deceiving, as it is a pretty steady uphill as you go up the canyon (and then downhill on the way back).  But I think the IM Boulder run course has shallow uphill grades, so this type of terrain should be good for me.  Plus, its pretty:

I'm not really working much right now (long story that I don't want to get into here).  On the bright side, this gives me plenty of time for training and napping.  On the not-so-good side I don't have much money and with me being home more, I have access to more food.  So I'm eating more.  But I kinda don't like being at work when I'm not being paid, so....

I'm more than a little worried about the heat for Boulder.  I'm pretty heat sensitive (IMTX didn't go well for me - it has h.o.t !!)  The good thing about not being trapped in an office for 9 hours day means I can do my shorter rides/runs at the hottest time of the day.  That way I get some heat training in but I can also recover.  (My long runs are early in the morning - I have no desire to run for 2+ hours in the heat).

We did a ride in Boulder yesterday where I tried to hit the "highlights": St Vrain out and back, the eastern portion of the course (not really a highlight, but we needed to see it), and the "3 Sisters" (3-ish hills at mile 99 of the Boulder bike course).  The forecast was 95 degrees and this would be a great test to see how Osmo would treat me.  Normally I get heat headaches and afterwards, I feel like I have a hangover.  After 5:15 of riding (87 miles) no heat headaches, no stomach issues, and today I don't have that familiar "I've been run over by a bus" feeling.  Awesome!  Also, the course isn't so bad.  While St Vrain is a mean trick on the part of race organizers (you zoom down the hill at 40+ mph only to turn around and ride back up the hill), there's really only one steep bit where you have to work.  AND its early in the ride, like mile 15 so you're fresh.  The "3 Sisters" at mile 99 are doable.  The first hill is the steepest, so you just need to turn the corner and immediately gear down and you'll be fine.  Remember to not be a hero and things will be ok.  (but they'll still suck - any hill at mile 99 on a ride sucks).  The true trick to the Boulder course is the 10+ miles of false flat, into the wind portion east of I-25 on CR-19.  Its not hard, but there's nothing to look at but farms and oil fields.  You feel like you should be going a whole lot faster than you are.  And if you're not smart, you'll cook yourself.  Definitely a good place to ride by power/HR to avoid killing yourself.
Miller Farms, along the Boulder bike course.  Aka Radiator Springs from Cars.
There's my brain dump!  Happy training!

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