June 8, 2012

Ironman Week 22


This recap is overdue, and I'm overly tired, so I'll make it quick. It was a bit of a weird week training-wise in that I did my peak ride (94 miles) and run (19 miles) and had a long swim (1:15), but all the other workouts were pretty short and low intensity. I had two scheduled rest days and ended up taking a third, and I think it helped my muscles recover a bit faster. I also realized that part of the reason I might be so exhausted lately is iron deficiency, so I've upped my intake (lots of spinach!) and will hopefully get some more energy soon.

Other highlights include taking my first fall on my bike, but fortunately both my bike and I were ok : ) I also finally got a professional fit on my bike which so far seems to help with some of my nagging issues. The big excitement this week, however, is that with just three weeks left (!!!), it's officially time to taper!
one of the big changes - a longer stem!

pm: swim / 3,400 yds / 1:15
  • warm-up:
    • 200 easy
    • 200 drill
    • 200 kick
    • 200 easy
  • main:
    • 6x150 as 50 easy free/50 non-free/50 fast
    • 4x300 pull @ 1:50 on 6:00
  • cool-down: 
    • 5x100, RI = 15"
Once again, my longest swim to date! It was a pretty steady workout, but I was definitely tired (and pruny) by the end. And those pull sets were killer!

pm: run / 5.5 mi / 0:46 / avg 8:26
I had to rush straight from my swim to the track, and after such a long swim my body was tired and not ready to run hard. On deck was 6x800 with 400 recovery (3:48, 3:52, 3:48, 3:53, 3:56, 3:55). I tried to focus on effort and keep things at a "hard" effort, and while they weren't quite as fast as last week's 800s, I was happy considering the swim beforehand.

pm: bike / 94.5 mi / 5:30 / avg 17.2 mph
I knew this was going to be my longest ride before Ironman, and I was both nervous and excited for it. It was also my first ride after my bike fit and I was eager to see how things felt. The initial challenge was simply figuring out where to go! Since I was doing it alone I didn't want to try any fancy new route, but trying to plan for 90+ miles is tough when you usually stick to a bike path! I decided to head out to Davis since the directions were pretty straightforward and I had a general idea of the route.

I headed up the bike trail to Discovery Park, hopped onto the levy of the Sacramento River, and then crossed Tower Bridge into West Sac. This part was a little sketchy and I wasn't sure I was going the right way. In one particular section there was no bike lane, so I decided to stop and pull onto the sidewalk to double check my directions. As I went to turn onto the sidewalk, however, I didn't realize the lip of the curb was so high and my wheel turned parallel with it and threw me off my bike onto the sidewalk! Fortunately I was ok, and more importantly, so was my bike! Honestly, I'm kind of glad to have this out of the way. I've been waiting for it to happen, and it wasn't that bad!
Sacramento River
Tower Bridge
It turned out I was going the right way, and eventually I came to the end of the street and saw signs for the bike route to Davis. From there I hopped on the Causeway, a 2ish mile stretch of highway intersecting empty fields between Sacramento and Davis. From the Causeway I followed the signs onto some country roads and eventually made it to Davis! From there I decided to improvise a bit. I knew the longer I rode out here the less I'd have to do back on the bike trail. So I headed out on one of the main streets, which alternately took me through rural fields, Davis neighborhoods, and then back onto wide open country roads heading toward Winters. The roads here got a little rough and didn't feel quite as safe, so after an hour and 45 minutes I turned back.

The way back was fairly uneventful, and this time I at least knew where I was going! When I got back on the bike trail I still had a couple hours to go so I headed up toward Lake Natoma and did an out-and-back. Surprisingly, I seemed to end up riding a bit faster in the latter half of the ride, and my legs felt pretty good. But I was definitely happy to be done when, nearly 94 miles, I finally arrived back home after spending what felt like the entire day on my bike. I was exhausted, starving, and a little sore, but I do think I could have rode another 17 miles. And more than that, it was the first time I thought, "You know what, maybe I can do this Ironman!"

As for how my bike felt after getting fit Tuesday? Well, it was better, but not perfect. My bum/crotch felt much better until the last 1.5 hours, and even then it was a slightly different kind of discomfort than usual. It did feel a lot better to be more stretched out, and my legs seemed to feel better as well. I had a little bit of shoulder pain, but again, not as much as usual. So I do think it was an improvement, but I'm looking forward to my follow-up on the 15th to address some of these things. At this point, I can't help but wonder if it's the actual saddle that just isn't right for me, but even if that is the case, there's not much I can do 3 weeks out : /

pm: swim / 2,350 yds / 0:50
  • warm-up:
    • 200 easy
    • 5x50 as 25 drill/25 swim
  • main:
    • 6x100 steady, RI = 10"
    • 3x200 steady, RI = 20"
    • 2x300 steady, RI = 30"
  • cool-down: 100
My coach (and the coach for MTC) was in Hawaii to race the 70.3 so our group workout was pretty simple and straightforward. I felt slower than usual, probably due to Wednesday's ride, and I struggled to keep my paces consistent as the sets got longer. My whole right side of my body, especially my arm, were sore, and I eventually realized that it was from my fall the day before. I think I tried to brace myself on impact and also tried to protect my bike, because it felt more like muscle soreness than bruising. Swimming actually felt pretty good and seemed to loosen things up.


I had an easy hour ride to do, but opted to skip it and get a little more rest. I was exhausted after the last few days, both from training and from long days at work (we had a big race happening on Sunday and were crazy busy this week/weekend), so I figured in the big picture it was the right choice.

After work I joined some coworkers and my family at a local summer tradition called Pops in the Park. Each week during summer the city hosts concerts in various local parks and people bring blankets and food and hang out picnic-style. It's a great, casual, relaxed atmosphere, and something I've been looking forward to. Since starting Ironman training back in January I've lost what little social life I did have, so it was nice to dress up and hang out with friends. Honestly, it made me look forward to post-IM life even more!
 Pops in the Park : )
Courtney & I

am: run / 19.3 mi / 3:00 / avg 9:20
I was anxious about this run for some reason, maybe because my last few long runs have been a little challenging. I was eager to get it under my belt, too, because I knew it was my last big long run before taper. I didn't settle on a route until I set out, and decided to just do an out-and-back instead of running to work. It was a beautiful morning with near perfect running weather, finally getting a reprieve from the heat.

I wouldn't say I felt great, but I felt much better than the last few long runs. My pace was fairly consistent, and I ended up negative splitting by a few minutes. I was secretly hoping for 20 miles, and I would have just added on but I was already cutting it short on time. This was definitely the type of long run I needed to gain some confidence for running a marathon (on tired legs) in a few weeks.

swim: 5,750 yards
bike: 94.5 miles
run: 24.8 miles
other: 0 hours
total time: 11.2 hours


  1. Congrats on the long ride and run!

    I've been dealing with an iron deficiency as well and I know just how exhausting it can be. I don't know if you've been tested or what your levels are, but an iron supplement has really helped me (though it took a few weeks).

  2. Nice work on that long ride!!! I feel like doing a ride that long on your own is a great test of mental toughness - I would have hard time with it - now I bet CdA will go super fast for you since you'll have so much to look at and other cyclists to think about!

    I can't believe the race is so soon.... we are ready - now time to rest!