February 27, 2012

Ironman Week 8


It seems that cramming several long and taxing workouts within a few days is not the smartest thing to do. I had to rearrange my schedule this week which meant doing my long ride earlier in the week without adequate rest. I started to feel a bit run down, like I was fighting something off, then sure enough come Wednesday I lost that fight. I took a couple days off with what felt like a cold, then turned into a nasty case of allergies thanks to this crazy wind we've been having. I alternated feeling guilty for skipping workouts this week and knowing that it was the smart thing to do to come back feeling healthy and strong. I still got in most of the key workouts (although failed horribly in the swim department...I just didn't think it was a good idea to hold my breath when I couldn't breathe out of my nose!). I'm feeling much better now, although still dealing with my allergies (ummm since when is it spring and allergy season!?) and ready to tackle this next week. As I kept repeating to myself this past week, better now than later!

pm: bike / 55 mi / 3:30 / avg 15.7 mph
This was my first mistake. When I looked at my schedule Sunday night I knew I needed to move things around. My long ride was scheduled for Friday, a day off, except that I was going to be in San Francisco all day for another grad school interview. The only other day I could fit it in with work was Monday, my other day off. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, except that I'd had a hard day of training the day before (hour swim followed by 2 hour run) and had rode 50 miles just 2 days before. My legs were definitely still feeling the effects of those workouts, too. I asked my coach what I should do and she said to go ahead and do the ride, but to expect to be slower than usual.

On Monday's I volunteer til 12:30 so I didn't get started til late afternoon. My eating was off as I hadn't had lunch yet but I didn't want to eat anything heavy right before the ride, so I hastily crammed some pasta in and then was out the door. It was a pretty nice afternoon actually, warm and sunny with little wind. I did an out-and-back to Discovery Park then headed the opposite direction toward Lake Natoma. I wasn't in a very good mood when I started, but felt a bit better as I went along. Part of it was the route I was riding on the bike trail. As fortunate as we are to have 30+ miles of paved bike trail, it gets familiar really fast. Especially on these longer rides! I need to start riding in new places, especially with new terrain (like hills!). Ok, rant over.

My legs were definitely tired but I kept the gears easy and just focused on keeping a steady, quick cadence. I actually ended up averaging the same speed as my 50 miler on Friday, but didn't feel like I was pushing myself quite as hard. My heart rate, however, remained high despite keeping my effort fairly easy. In hindsight I think it was a sign of what was to come... This probably warrants a post of it's own, but I seriously need to work on fueling better on rides. I consumed 3 Gu and one bottle of Gu Roctane (new product - review to come!), which amounts to about 550 calories over 3.5 hours. My shoulders, back, and neck were fairly uncomfortable for the latter half of the ride, too, and I know it's because of my bike fit. Every time I ride now I can't help but think how badly I need a better fitting bike. It's especially difficult to ride my bike after testing those fancy tri bikes! I finished the ride just as the sun was starting to set with an even 55 miles. Fun fact: this is my current cycling distance PR (but not for long!), and the longest I rode before Vineman 70.3 last summer.

pm: run / 1.75 mi / 0:15 / avg 8:34
Immediately following my ride I had a 15 minute "transition run" on deck. While this wasn't specifically a brick workout, I think it's meant to achieve similar effects. I'm thinking these will probably become a regular thing after long rides to get my legs used to switching to running after being in the saddle for so long. I actually had a really great run, although I probably pushed the pace a bit too much. I was starving after my ride though and just wanted to be done so I could eat dinner!

am: run / 6 mi / 0:55 / avg 9:10
I was pretty exhausted after my long ride the day before and my legs were toast, but I was still determined to get this run done. This was my first foray with speedwork since before the Chicago Marathon so I was a bit apprehensive. It called for 4x1200 in Zone 5 followed by 400 recovery between intervals. To save time I decided to do them on the levy above the bike trail instead of a track. It worked fine, but I will say 1200 fells much longer in a straightaway as opposed to 3 laps! I warmed up for a mile and was frustrated to already see my HR in zone 3. I tried slowing down but no matter what I did I couldn't get it any lower. I tried to just ignore it since it was about to be sky high anyway!

The first repeat wasn't too bad. I knew it couldn't be an all out sprint so I tried to push a little faster than tempo pace. I slowed to a walk after the first one to try to lower my HR and then jogged slowly for the rest of the 400 before turning around for the next one. The first two were pretty consistent, 5:32 (7:27/mi) & 5:33 (7:27/mi), and where I was hoping to be but I slowed a bit on the last two, 5:44 (7:47/mi) & 5:53 (7:49/mi). I had no problem keeping my heart rate in zone 5, but struggled to lower it after each repeat. My HR had been high all week so I'm thinking it was just a precursor to getting sick.

I woke up early with plans to go to my conditioning class, but I felt awful. I ended up calling in sick and spending the day on the couch : /

am: bike / 23.4 mi / 1:30 / avg 15.6 mph
After a day of rest I woke up feeling a little bit better though still congested. I decided to attempt my workout for the day, a 90 minute ride. This ended up being mistake no. 2 this week. There was crazy wind with gusts up to 35 mph, making for less than ideal riding conditions. I also knew that with an out-and-back I'd have a headwind one way and a tailwind the other. I chose to battle the wind during the first half since my ride called for a 20 minute warm-up followed by 60 minutes, moving to a harder gear every 20. I did not want to end up in a hard gear going into the wind!

Sure enough the ride out sucked. I was crawling, barely able to hold 15 mph, dodging branches and trying to keep my bike from swerving too much with the gusts. I also hit a construction detour that had me up on the levy on gravel in a rather precarious situation. I was feeling pretty shitty by the time I got to Discovery to turn around. But thankfully I had a lovely headwind on the way back, and I was suddenly seeing 18+ mph with hardly any effort. When I got home I was more congested than ever and my head felt twice it's size - too much crap blowing around in the air! And so my plans to head into work that afternoon were foiled as I ended up on the couch once again sneezing and sniffling : /

This was my only intentional rest day this week as I was in San Francisco all day for another grad school interview. The interview was in small groups with other applicants which was a new format for me but I think I did pretty well. The campus has a pretty incredible location - literally right across from Pier 39 with amazing views of the Bay : ) Afterward I treated myself to an ice cream on the Pier and then headed back home. Thanks to traffic it took me twice as long the get back as it did to get there!
 Pier 39
 Alcatraz in the distance

I thought about squeezing in a swim after work but decided an extra rest day would probably be a smarter choice.

am: swim / 1,850 yds / 1:00
Another MTC group swim! The highlight of this workout was definitely practicing mass starts! About15 people crammed into two lanes and on "Go!" all vied for precious space in the water without getting pummeled. I managed to avoid getting kicked or elbowed, but it was mostly due to letting the more experienced folks go ahead of me.
  • warm-up: 150
  • main:
    • 12x25 drills (alt. 25 kick, 25 FTD, 25 CU)
    • 30 min of: 4x25 on 0:40, 2x50 on 1:05, 1x100 on 2:20 (completed 4 sets)
    • 4x25 mass start practice
  • cool-down: 100
post-swim soak!

pm: run / 10 mi / 1:31 / avg 9:08
Once again I had to work so I couldn't join the group for a post-swim run. I had 2:12 on deck but was thinking about doing a shorter missed bike workout after work instead. I asked my coach what she thought and decided that a shorter run was better. I was off at 5pm and knew it would be dark by 6:30pm, so I knew that fitting in the whole run wouldn't be possible (nor smart after being sick). Plus, I had plans to watch the Oscars with friends at 7pm. So I decided to just run my 10 mile route home after work!

My mom dropped my stuff off and I planned for my coworker to drive my car over later. We were super busy so I ended up starting 20 minutes late but I figured I'd still have some light for the majority of my run. It was kind of strange running the route backwards but it also made it go by faster for some reason. I started out feeling a little awkward but the first few miles came in at sub-9. It started getting dark once I reached the levy of the bike trail, but by then I was more than halfway done.

Whenever I run at this time of day I seem to experience I strange phenomenon. As soon as it gets dark, my pace slows. I don't feel like I'm putting out any less effort (in fact I often feel like I'm pushing more), and yet I start seeing times much slower, sometimes up to 30 seconds! Now this may simply be a case of slowing down as I get tired, but it's weird because I usually feel like I'm running fast. Anyway, this was the case last night, although it was probably a good thing that I slowed down. I also decided to forgo my HR monitor - after the week I'd had I knew it would probably be high and I didn't want to be frustrated. I felt surprisingly good though, although my lingering foot/ankle problem did make an appearance.

swim: 1,850 yards
bike: 78.4 miles
run: 17.7 miles
other: 0 hours
total time: 8.7 hours


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