May 29, 2012

Ironman Week 21


Oh man, this was the week where I felt like I was just living Ironman training. It was my biggest volume week thus far, and while training took up all of my free time, the rest of the time I was exhausted and starving. The latter was no joke, I was eating everything in sight. Overall it was a great week with one really long, big day (see Friday) and by Sunday's long run my body was feeling the accumulation of the week's training. I'm happy with how it all went, but it also got me looking forward to post-IM when I once again have some free time and am no longer a slave to triathlon.

am: swim / 3,300 yds / 1:20
Another swim distance PR! The highlight actually had nothing to do with the workout - it was the showdown I had with the swim team coach. I think I've mentioned it before, but the swim team at my gym is notorious for using more than their allotted lanes for their practices. They happen to practice in the evenings when I often do my workouts...I think you can see where this is going. I got there around 6:30 and hopped into lane 2 (designated as lap swim during this time slot) and started my warm-up.

When swim practice started around 6:45, I was interrupted in the middle of a lap by a swim team kid. When I reached the wall the coach was standing their and informed me that they needed to use my lane. I told him that according to the chart, this one (as well as lane 1) were designated for lap swimming. His response was that he didn't care what the charts say, and I shot back that I was a paying member of the club. He then asked me if I was going to move, and I said no. He didn't bother me the rest of the evening and I eventually shared my lane with another lap swimmer. The whole time I could feel all the parents' eyes on me. Sorry, but your kids' swim team is not the most important thing, and it does not require the entire pool!

Anyway, this swim felt super long, and my arms were pretty tired by the end. My whole body was tired from the Motherlode ride the day before, and I found it hard to hit faster paces.The first set of 50s I averaged about 47", the 300s I did at a 1:55 pace (not quite sure what IM race pace is yet), and the second set of 50s averaged 49" as I was pretty tired by that point.
  • warm-up: 500 easy
  • main:
    • 8x50 fast on 1:20
    • 6x300 @ IM race pace effort (~1:55)
    • 8x50 fast on 1:20
  • cool-down: 200 easy
 amazing sunset post-swim

    pm: run / 3.6 mi / 0:26 / avg 7:23
    This track workout just about killed me. After a 0.5 mile warm-up and drills, we were given the workout: 6x800 at 2 minutes faster than half marathon pace. Seeing that my most current half marathon pace was about 8:30 (at Shamrock'n in March), that meant 800s at 6:30 pace....ummm yeeaaa riiiight. After the first two, I knew there was no way I could run that pace for that many intervals, and instead settled for an all-out effort, whatever pace that ended up being (3:25, 3:27, 3:33, 3:37, 3:38, 3:38). I felt like puking several times, but thankfully never did. I didn't have time for a cool-down as I had a work gathering to rush off to.

    I was also supposed to do an easy hour ride this morning, but gave into temptation and slept in. And for once, I didn't regret it a bit : )

    am: bike / 26.5 mi / 1:30 / avg 17.7 mph
    I had the option to do this workout on a trainer or on hilly terrain outside. There aren't a lot of hills that don't require a drive, and since I was doing this before work I wanted to start from my house to save time. So to simulate hills I did 2x [5x2:00] in the hard gears. I felt pretty strong throughout, and the intervals made the time go by faster than usual. It ended up being a really good workout and a great way to start my day.

    am: run / 6 mi / 0:56 / avg 9:20
    Easy morning run with my pup along the river. Afterword I attended the memorial service for a friend who passed away last weekend. I've known him and his family for a very long time and it simply broke my heart to hear the news. After the service I spent the afternoon amongst old friends, reminiscing about good times, but knowing someone was missing and would always be missed.

    pm: swim / 2,500 yds / 1:00
    • warm-up:
      • 200 easy
      • 100 kick
    • main:
      • 5x50 as 25 fist drill/25 swim, RI = 10-15"
      • 10x100 on 1:50
      • 5x50 as 25 fist drill/25 swim, RI = 10-15"
      • 10x50 on 1:00
    • cool-down: 200 easy
    By the time I left the memorial I was mentally exhausted, but I still had to go into work for a couple hours. I almost skipped this swim after, but somehow made it to the pool. The usual MTC swim was switched to an open water swim earlier in the day, so I was on my own for this one. Those 100s absolutely killed me! I wasn't sure how fast I could swim them, and I was afraid I'd be too slow and have practically no rest. To my surprise the first one clocked in at 1:37, but as I went on they eventually got closer to 1:41. I took a little extra rest halfway through and was again able to get sub-1:40 but slowed again by the last few. Lastly, just a word on fist drills - does anyone else feel like an idiot when you do them?

    When I saw this workout on my schedule, I initially thought it was a mistake. A 3 hour brick and a 3 hour long ride? No way. But after a quick text to coach, turns out it's the real deal. Let me just say it was a looooong day!

    pm: bike / 35 mi / 2:00 / avg 17.4 mph
    I procrastinated and got a later start than I'd planned, but I was on my bike around 11:30am. The forecast had predicted rain, but so far it had held off. As I started out, however, their were some ominous dark clouds off in the distance. Since I had to run and then ride again, I wanted to use my house as home base, which meant I did my riding and running on the bike trail. I did an out-and-back to Discovery Park and then went out another 20 or so minutes in the opposite direction to finish up the first leg of the day. Felt pretty good, but I knew I still had a lot coming.

    pm: run / 6.5 mi / 1:00 / avg 9:14
    I took my pup along for the company and did a loop around the river. I tried not to push it since I still had another long ride coming up. I took a Gu halfway through since I was starting to get hungry and wasn't even close to being done for the day. I got rained on a bit at the start of the run, but within the first mile it was all sunny skies. This was seriously a bipolar weather day.

    pm: bike / 51 mi / 3:00 / avg 17 mph
    I took a short break after my run to eat something and mix some more Gu Roctane. I also wanted to rest my bum and neck which had started to give me trouble on the first ride. After about 30 minutes I headed back out, this time in the opposite direction toward Folsom. My legs felt surprisingly decent, but my left shoulder and the side of my neck absolutely killed me. I knew it was a fit thing, but it made the ride a little miserable. The clouds were the strangest thing today, and except for a little wind (mostly a crosswind, thankfully) it ended up being a perfect day for a ride. 

    I turned around at Beal's Point and headed back down the bike trail, and then added on another 15 minute out-and-back to reach 3 hours. I was pretty pleased with how I did on each leg individually and the workout as a whole. It was my longest yet (and my longest ride - although broken - at 86 miles) and gave me some confidence for IM. I do think I could have ate more since by the end I was starving (I averaged about 250 cals per hour). I spent the rest of the day crashed out on the couch, eating whatever I could get my hands on.
     Beal's Point, Folsom Lake
    pm: swim / 2,600 yds* / 0:50
    This was originally supposed to be a rest day with the swim on Sunday, but I had plans Sunday evening so I switched things around. I headed to Lake Natoma after work, and as I got closer the sky got ominously darker. I was hoping it wouldn't rain on me, and wondered if an open water swim was such a good idea. When I got to the lake, however, despite a cloudy and dark sky there was no rain, so I went for it. It wasn't a great swim like the last few times. I got chilled midway through and just wasn't into it mentally. I went a ways further than in the past since I had 50 minutes to do, and it just felt long. The best part was looking up and seeing a big rainbow in the sky. On a random note, does anyone else feel drunk after a longer open water swim? I always stumble around for a few minutes and feel dizzy...maybe it's being vertical after being horizontal for so long? Or maybe it's just me... ; )

    am: run / 17 mi / 2:41 / avg 9:30
    Similar to last week, this long run was tough. My muscles felt better than they did on the last one, but I was slower than I expected to be. I know I need to cut myself some slack; I can't expect to see my usual running paces after a big week like this. And so I focused on effort instead of pace, and actually ended up speeding up a fair amount in the last few miles. It was a beautiful morning and quite peaceful out on the bike trail. I did an out-and-back in one direction and then did my usual on foot commute to work.
     up on the levy
    from J St. bridge, with Guy West bridge in the distance
     pit stop at Glenn Hall
    McKinley rose garden

    swim: 8,400 yards
    bike: 112.5 miles
    run: 33.1 miles
    other: 0 hours
    total time: 14.7 hours


    1. Awesome training week Rachel. Great job! I think the dizzy feeling with OWS is common. I know that if conditions are choppy I get a bit nauseous from the motion of the waves, but if I take it easy getting out it usually goes away pretty quickly.

    2. Wow...brick and a long ride! You are doing amazing and I love reading about your workouts. Great job!

    3. Great week! That brick and long ride sounds tough but probably a great mental toughness test for the IM!

      I also feel drunk when I get out of the water after an open water swim! Sometimes it is worse than others but I definitely think it will happen at CdA - probably twice if you include the little lap on the shore we have to take.

      My pace on my long run during IM training has consistently been slower than normal -sometimes over a full minute slower than my open marathon pace. Don't worry - I think that's normal. This amount of volume takes it out of you!

      We are in the home stretch!

      p.s. I'm sorry to hear about your family friend. :(

    4. did I see something about a converting from a runner to a triathlete? No way, you will always be a runner!

    5. Whoa, that Friday is crazy! But it looks like you got to see some lovely scenery during your rides.

    6. I'm impressed you got through those Friday workouts! That sounds crazy to me! (perhaps the reason that I am not a triathlete...)

      And I'm so sorry to hear about your friend.