Friday, August 2, 2013

One workout can turn it all around!

No one workout is going to make or break this race, but oh man can it get me excited!

It was one workout that got me hyped up, funny how a few hours on the road can turn around how I feel and how thinking about the race effects me. That topped off with a chat with my coach and I'm counting down the days (15) until race day.

I haven't been feeling the most motivated my last 2 big workouts, a 20 mile progression run Sunday, and a 4 hour ride with intensity followed by a 9 mile brick.  I think my mindset is starting to shift towards taper, and I have never been good at tapering.  I have a bad habit of shutting down and skipping workouts telling myself its good to get rest, when really I need to stay loose, not doing anything crazy, but at least do something instead of sitting on the couch for a week before the race.

Sunday 16-20 miles was on the schedule depending on how I felt and it was one of the few times I've ever thought I'm just going to do the minimum before I even got out on the road and saw how my legs felt.  Some possible big changes are coming down the line as to where I live, and some family tragedy had me very distracted, and I just wanted to get home.

Then I got on the road, I don't remember most of the run, it was a progression run so starting first half easy and then build effort to zone 3, I took a more rolling route than usual, and ran entirely off effort.  I had my watch on, no HR monitor, but I don't think I looked at pace once, just lost in my own head. My legs were feeling surprisingly good, warmed up right away, but I just wasn't in the head space to push, so took it easy the first 13 miles, realised how far I had gone and that I should be picking it up, so stopped holding back but still wasn't working hard, I knew this would be one of my slower long runs, but just put in the miles. Last 3 miles kind of woke up and realised how close I was to 20 miles, legs were feeling good and I hadn't been pushing at all so I figured ok I'll put in a little work the last 3, finish it strong around zone 3.

Avg pace 7:32 - WTF???  I was seriously expecting around an 8min pace and would have been happy with that for the effort I put in.

But still that didn't get me excited.  I was distracted.  Thats just a run on its own, I need to ride further than I ever have before.  My longest ride so far has been 95 miles and an extra 17 miles is still an unknown.

Heres what got me excited.

Brick Workout Wednesday

77 miles on the bike, with a 9 mile run.  Getting close to race day I'm not riding as far as usual, but this had higher intensity than race day, to get a similar stress on my body, with some rest intervals much lower than race intensity.  Average watts were right at race wattage.

Going into this race was like Sunday, little motivation, knew I had to get out there and get it done, but procrastinated for a few hours.

I got on the bike and thankfully my legs felt good, it would have been a rough day if they didn't.  First interval felt rough, but after that legs started getting fired up.  Started to feel good and want to push.  My power meter crapped out half way through the ride so had to go off of effort for the last intervals and I think I had a pretty good idea of what the watts should feel like.

I've trained all year on power, and my power meter has been very sketchy the last few months so I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will work on race day, if not all of the miles I have put in the past year give me on ok idea of what it needs to feel like - never ride completely dependant on external feedback, know your body!

It started getting tough the last 45 min, the above race watts had my legs feeling heavy and struggling to get my HR as high as it was on the previous intervals.  I was starting to wonder how this brick run was going to feel because this was getting hard.  HR and breathing were easy, just the muscles in my legs were starting to feel like they didn't want to push.

Pack up the bike in the car and head out on my run.  Theres always those first few moments of the run where you wonder how the legs are going to feel, will it be a good run?

Magic...thats how my legs felt.  I started the run thinking I cant wait to get this over with, to feeling like I could keep running forever.

The goal of the run was to go 20 seconds faster than race pace and see how my stomach felt.  Well stomach felt solid, legs felt like they were pulling me forward and I had to keep holding back so I didn't run too fast.  I used to feel like this for the first 3 miles on brick runs then my legs would turn into bricks themselves.  Not this time, the consistent miles and nutrition have my legs still going strong.  9 miles later I felt like I was just 9 miles into a long run, like the bike ride hadn't happened at all.

If I feel this good on the run at Ironman Kalmar its going to be a spectacular day.  I know it wont keep feeling effortless, its going to get hard, and I need to keep that it my mind and be prepared for it, but that felt pretty damned good.  It started getting me thinking just maybe I could beat my marathon PR in an Ironman (3:34) but thats getting ahead of myself.  I'll survive the swim and stay calm, ride steady on the bike and see what my legs are capable of on the day.

Paces for the day
Bike - 20.3mph
Run - 7:40

I still get giddy looking at those paces, its a shock to see what my body is doing lately.  Going into this I was hoping to hit 17mph on the bike, and 8:30 pace on the run, I thought that was going to be a stretch to expect that kind of speed.

Now I'm starting to re-evaluate, training isn't race day though so the day will dictate.  I had a good talk with my coach.  Sometimes you have race day magic where everything feels good and your body is at 100%, sometimes you only have 80%, it happens, I've experienced that a few times.  So, if I have 100% on race day its going to be spectacular, and he said if I have 80% on race day then use all of that 80% don't let it get in my head and keep fighting.

Now time to get my ass on the road for my last long run.  14-16 miles with 10 * 1 min hill repeats, its been a long time since I've done those!

15 days, I will be an Ironman.

Carpe Diem.

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