Sunday, July 27, 2014

Finishing Strong...

This has been an interesting month of training. After today I've done 45 hours of training in 27 days and I've taken 11 rest days. That means 45 hours of training in 16 days, which is an average of 2.8 hours of training on those days I training.

I look back to the first week of June, when I got back from Boise and started my training for Ironman Boulder. It seems like a lifetime ago.

First off I was fat. Fat and softer than I'd been in at least 7 years. The excess beer and the huge amount of wings I was eating with virtually no training had taken it's toll. I remember the ride back from Boise and sitting in the car for 32 hours. My belly was so big that my belt buckle was imprinting into my stomach and it was hurting and itchy.

The first week or two of training was brutal. It was more than brutal it was down right scary. I'd never had my butt kicked so hard. With all the training I'd done over the years I always have a pretty good base that I can draw from. I thought that would be the case, it wasn't. It was brutal. Those first rides and swims it was most apparent.

Yes the swims were had. I remember on the first swim I almost wanted to quit at 150 yards because my arms were sore and I had no mojo.

I know it was worse than I remember because I have such a bad memory. I'm sure if I ready back to those first training week or two blog post it will come back to me. I do remember the long rides at 24 kph average. Mind you now that I've had a couple of good rides I wonder how much of it is the wheels?

My high weight was 206.4 lbs and my low has been 197 lbs. I would be lower but I fell off the wagon big time in June and when you are drinking beer you CANNOT lose weight. Not possible.

These past 8 weeks have also been tough mentally. It's been the hardest training from a mental standpoint. I've had to mentally push myself to train more than I ever have in the past. By far. What kept me motivated was because I signed up to race to raise money for Doctors without Borders and mentally preparing to make this my last Ironman.

The week before last I did under 5 hours. The 3 workouts I did were high quality.

This week was my last real training week and I wanted to finish strong. It turned out I did just over 16 hours for the week. I would have done one more hour with a run but it was pouring rain outside and I'm now made of sugar. Plus there was lots of lightening. That said I just bailed because I'm not getting wet.

So I look back and look at my training log and count the weeks and I did it. It will end up being about 110 hours of training over 2 months. As of today I'm in much better shape than I was when I started 60 days ago. Without question.

I do believe that I'm in good enough shape to finish, at least I should be. Especially if I take it somewhat easy this week. You can't train 16 hours in one week, or 110 hours over 60 days and not be at least in good enough shape to finish. I even did some swimming during these session.

There was also learning over these 60 days. I learned that I have to eat carbs and that a ketosis diet is not the best. Which I knew, I just wanted to try and lose weight. I learned I need more calories than 1200 per day. Which I knew, I just wanted to try and lose weight. Actually maybe there wasn't lots of learning this session. Just hopeful thinking.

Yesterday I had a great bike ride and averaged over 30 kph for 113 km. Today was my last real ride before the race and I wanted to do a back to back longish ride so that it would work the riding legs once again and fatigue them.

My plan was to do another 4 hours. It was really hot and humid outside. My favourite. I started off a little slower than yesterday I could feel I wasn't as strong. It was a combination of into the wind and the heat. Yesterday was not as hot. Heat and humidity slows you down.

I wasn't that far off at my 32 km point I was only 60 seconds off the yesterdays time for the same spot. I got to the 1 hour 30 point and realized that 4 hours wasn't going to happen, I was getting mentally burnt out and it just felt intuitively that I was doing the right thing turning back.

As I was riding back I mentally couldn't do the same route. It's my regular route and I've done it so many times it was going to be torture if I had to ride it one last time. I decided to take a different way home. Different, nicer scenery and it cut some time off the ride.

By the time I got home I had finished a quality 2:33 hour ride and averaged a respectable 29.3 kph. That gave me about 190 km over a 24 hour period.

It didn't take me long to realize I made the right decision. I had a protein shake, then some lunch and before I knew it all I wanted to do was sleep. I headed up to the bedroom to watch serial killers on You Tube and fall asleep.

Within 5 minutes I was out and when I mean out I mean out. It was the type of out where at one point I could hear things around me yet I couldn't open my eyes. My body felt like it was hit by a cement truck. The closest way to describe the feeling was the feeling I have after a night of total debauchery with beer and the abuse of my body is so bad that I can't move for 24 hours. It's like I'm in a hospital and my body is healing the internal organ damage. That's what my body felt like after this ride. I was beat up to the extreme.

That's when I knew I made the right decision to cut the ride short. When your body is beat up so bad after 2:30 another 1:30 wouldn't have been any greater benefit. I actually felt good when I couldn't move and I was so beat up. It made me feel confident that doing this session today was good. It made me feel good about riding harder during the heat was the right thing to do.

I think I slept for about 2 hours before I could open my eyes. Unlike a night after heavy beer, I was able to semi-recuperate after a couple of hours sleeping. Then I ate some dinner. My plan for the rest of the night was to do a swim and then a run and I'd be done for the week.

Swimming is not what I most like and I know from the last swim I'm good enough to finish I pushed myself out the door regardless to do my 2nd swim in 4 days. One more good swim and I'd be ready.

It started off with time moving slowly. Some swims, especially if I have a lot on my mind or I'm excited about something the time flies. Tonight it was slow. What I thought should have been 12 minutes turned out to be 5 minutes. I kept telling myself to get into my head and think about stuff to get my mind racing. It didn't work. Good thing I have underwater iPod and can listen to music.

My pet peeve tonight was the pool was full of middle-aged Chinese people that don't swim, they float through the water like alligators. This seems to be a Sunday only occurrence. Not a problem except they show no pool etiquette. They don't keep in their own lanes. One guy just jumped in my lane oblivious to me swimming there. I got annoyed but just moved into another lane that just freed up.

I pushed through the swim and managed to finish off a 3 km swim. That's near 7 km of swimming in 4 days. I'm ready to finish. Not to go fast, but to finish.

During my swim I could see out the window of the pool area the lightening. It was a show. It was raining hard as well. That's when I figured I guess I finish off the week with 16 hours of training and not 17. No big deal. If I can, I'll do a run in the morning tomorrow before we pack up and start our driving road trip to Boulder.

About an hour after I got home from the swim I realized today's session in the pool and the ride was the best thing I could have done. I am sore. My arms feel like lead. Same with my legs. Between the bike and the swim, my entire body is sore, in a good way. It was a complete body workout.

With only one-week to Ironman Boulder no matter what I do I cannot get in better shape. The only thing I could do at this point is hurt my fitness by over training and not resting up enough. This is my official taper week. I'll do some spinning bike work and some easy runs just to keep things moving. No swimming. My experience is that a full week of rest from swimming works best. It fully recovers my arms.

So as I was swimming I reflected on 8 weeks ago in the pool fitness to today in the pools fitness. No comparison. I feel much better. I also thought that even though I'm not doing Ironman training when I get back I'm going to try and keep up my swimming. Only difference is I'm not going to do sets or keep track of distance. Just swim continuously for time. Just like running and cycling and by doing that see if I like swimming more.

I'm not where I wanted to be. I wanted to be 10 lbs lighter. I guess it could be worse. I could still be at the same weight of 206.4 lbs.

All and all I feel pretty good. I was also given some motivation today when I saw that Simon Cross finished Ironman Switzerland in 11:55 and he's fat and done as much training as me. That's a super respectable time. Anything under 12 hours is exceptional. Anything in the 12's is still very respectable, for me anyway. Now Simon has set the water mark. Damn and I'm competitive I know I'll be thinking about beating that time by 9 seconds.

As of 10 pm tonight I haven't yet packed. I might leave it till the morning. I do know that when I get to Boulder I'm going to take my bike in for a tune up. I'm getting some grinding in the crank. Perhaps the drive back from Boise with rain and grit it got into the hubs and crank and it's slowing me down. One can only hope that's the case. Regardless, better safe than sorry.

Bike - 2:33:54 / 75 km
Swim - 1:03:55 / 3 km

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