Tuesday, June 25, 2013

1 Year since my first Triathlon 8 Weeks to Ironman

I cant believe the year its been.  I did my first triathlon - Ironman Buffalo Springs 70.3 a year ago and what a shock to the system that was!  Nothing like jumping in the deep end and seeing what happens :p

After that race I was hooked, it was a wild ride to this point but I've loved it, hated it, stayed in bed avoiding it, and trained for it, annoyed friends and family with it, enjoyed the hell out of it!  A stress frature of my pelvis got me started, but its turned me into a stronger athlete than I ever imagined I could be.  Hell its still weird thinking of myself as an athlete.

8 Weeks to Ironman

I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about it.  2 years ago I first heard about Ironman at the finish line of my first Half Marathon, and said thats crazy why would anyone ever want to do something like that?  I guess I've answered that.  I wanted a challenge, something that scared me and took me to the limits of what I thought possible.  This fits the bill.

8 weeks feels like so little time until such a big test of my mental and physical limits, it seemed years away when I signed up for this last fall but its coming up fast.  I know I've put in consistant training, I dont think I could have prepared any better, its the last push before this Finish line I've been chasing becomes reality.

Training is going well at the moment.  Its been interesting seeing my body recovery over the last week from Cotswold.  Running pace has been the biggest indicator, in the same HR pace went down from 9min/miles to 8:10, to 7:51, to 7:48 on my long run.

Took some lessons from Cotswold, I was forced to start slowly because of some pain in my back, but ended up negative splitting the run, and feeling strong enough to go into the red zone the last 3 miles.  So that was a good reminder in Ironman if I go out comfortably I will have something left in the race.  Someone said that Ironman isnt about who goes the fastest, its about who slows down the least!

So I took that into my long run this weekend, 20 miles that turned into 22.  Plan was 20 miles at MAF effort (basically zone 2) for the first 10 miles, then hold that pace for the last 10 as HR rises.  These long runs I always try to pick something to focus on to improve my efficiency and this time it was arm swing, keeping them moving back and forth and not crossing over.

I usually start a long run in that MAF zone, but I get up into the upper HR of it a mile or two in, this time I stayed at the low end for 7 or 8 miles until I built into the middle of the zone.  It was a windy day I was being blown around but had some good tunes, and legs felt their old spark.  I was supposed to watch pace on the back half, but I was just in cruise mode feeling relaxed and happy so that kind of went out the window, just tried to hold what felt like the right pace and effort and floated along, spot checking once in a while not getting bogged down by the numbers.

Hit 20 miles and felt like I was in the first hour I was feeling so good, so I decided to add on a couple miles.  I love finishing these long runs just feeling good, no muscles were complaining, I was upright and running strong, I was starting to get hungry but that was about the only indicator I had run that long.  Turned out my pace was steady, 2nd half was slightly faster than the first and the whole run felt easy :D

With 8 miles on Saturday it made a 30 mile run weekend.

I'm off for a brick workout with some intensity on the bike.  Carpe Diem ;)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Holy Shit 4:56 in a 70.3!

Its taken me too long to write this up, this race was a breakthrough for me, hurt like hell but felt good to get it done!

Cotswold 70.3

The idea with this race was to just go in there and try to put together a solid day.  I was disappointed with Barcelona 70.3 and frustrated I couldn't seem to get under 6 hours at this distance, when my training indicated I should be able to no problem.  Scrambled online to find another 70.3 that was a decent time out from Ironman Kalmar and not filled up - Cotswold 70.3 fit the bill.


So the best way to prepare for an Endurance event is to show up a few days early, have some time to relax and rest going into it.

Psh screw that, 7 hour drive the day before is how I like to roll :p  Tightens up the lower back and gluteus nicely.

Then you would have an easy spin and maybe a swim the day before just to keep things loose and ready for race day.

Or...have some dinner, a beer and collapse into bed without anything organised. 

Ok so maybe I was not taking this as seriously as usual but it was a last minute decision, just decided not to stress and go in with low expectations.


The swim has been my nemesis...I've always panicked, and then proceeded to get lost which leads to more panic.

This time we actually had 5 minutes to warm up so I waddled into the water (In my new to me slightly used wetsuit from a freaking awesome friend from the MaccaX triathlon group).  I proceeded to warm up the same way I assume the pro's do....by putting my face in the water and blowing bubbles...

I figured my best bet at a decent swim was not getting lost, so I found some feet early that seemed to know what direction the buoys were in and proceeded to follow along.  Its shocking how much faster the swim is when you dont zig zag along swimming a few extra 100m.

Out of the water in 38:xx, a big improvement over Barcelona where I swam like 52min.


Once I meandered around a bit in transition, I got the the part I was looking forward to the bike!  Hopped on all fired up, ready to go smash it, this is usually the only part of a 70.3 that goes well for me.

And....I felt like crap.  Huh probably shouldn't have skipped that shake out spin...or well driven down 7 hours the day before.  The first hour was rough, speed was still decent but effort was high, HR was high and it felt like I was peddling squares.  After about an hour things started to spark up, and I took a risk and went high end of my watts range, because they just weren't there the first hour.

It was an odd bike course, no closed roads like the big races, a few places bikes were going either direction and you couldn't always pass because the road was too tiny.  So it ended up being more like a fartlek ride, a couple shots right around lactic threshold and above to get around groups of people when the road widened, a few bits low watts having to stay back out of the draft zone of big groups until there was a stretch to pass them all.  I think that kind of riding suits me more, I'm not as comfortable with the sustained long efforts, something I still need to work on for Ironman.  The bike was a little bit short, Avg speed 21.3mph.

THE RUN - 3 Loops

Damnit I really need to learn to pee on the bike, I just cant seem to do it!  First mile was around 10:30 because I had to stop for a bathroom break :p

Get of the bike and....PAIN...deja vue.  I was wondering if this was going to be another appearance of the hunch back of Barcelona.  Fortunately it was only on one side (same side that was aching on the car ride over, go figure, my mini needs better lumbar support!), and it wasn't causing me to hunch over, pain I can deal with so quick stretch in the first mile and just run.  I did walk all of the aid stations for a little relief from the back and quick stretch.

 First loop took it a little easier than I would have, back was aching. 2nd loop things started to loosen up pain was going away just felt tight, ok time to pick it up.

3rd loop - Suffer (in a good way :D) Because of the loops you couldn't tell who was in front of you and who was behind so at one of the turn around I saw a girl about 2 min ahead of me that looked crazy fit, and decided I was going to catch her.  Sometimes I need play games with myself like choosing a target to push into that zone where everything is screaming to stop.

Target acquired, time to race these last 3 miles like a 5k.  I was already starting to hurt, but just started digging.  HR starting shooting up, I passed a girl, didn't know if she was on the last loop or not, so I surged just so she wouldn't come with me as I went by, everything started screaming at me to stop, breath started coming in gasps, but I didn't want to be passed in the last 2 miles.  I started counting steps, something I hadn't tried before, counting to 8 and then starting back at one, anything to take my mind off of how much it hurt.  I thought about the last set of 1k intervals I had done, and how hard the last one was but I went faster than I thought I could.  And then the finish line came, and I felt...shattered. 1:43:xx  I know it could have been faster without the bathroom break and walking the aid stations but I am ecstatic with that time.

I had absolutely nothing left.  Just the way it should be, I hadn't felt that in a 70.3 before, the first one I did I gave in mentally, 2nd one I just was in bad pain, this felt so good to be just shattered.