The second conversation we had was about training. I wanted a mental picture of what my life would look like during training. She assured me that the total volume or organization of my schedule was not significantly different from Ironman training- but there would be longer long rides, and longer long runs, and longer swims. She said there'd be more split days-- instead of doing all my workouts in the morning as I'm accustomed to doing, I would have a break and tackle a second set in the afternoon on tired legs. And similar to IM training, there are several hard days in a row followed by a recovery day.
|Sunrise on my long run. You don't see this sleeping in!|
After IMAZ I took several weeks of "off season". I had a couple of recovery weeks followed by a couple of unstructured weeks, followed by a couple of structured but very much easy weeks. Just after the first of the year we started to ramp up the training. And the ramping was very slow at first-- but honestly I felt like total dirt. Even though I wasn't doing much I would have 1-2 good workouts followed by 1-2 bad ones. And it was hit or miss. I couldn't predict which ones I was going to fail miserably. It's not like I felt like crap running and would have bad run workouts. I would have one absolutely fabulous run one week and a shitty one the next week. Or a great bike workout and a few days later one worthy of forgetting.
I was starting to doubt myself and question if I was even going to make it to the start line in May. I tried to remind myself that this is completely normal and I always have about 5-6 weeks of very blah workouts right after the off season. And sure enough, just in the last week things have finally leveled out. And I feel like me again. Energetic. Normal.
Tired but strong is my theme right now. And my happy place.
The miles are building and though I've not done anything longer than what I would in IM training yet (other than swimming!) the arrangement of my workouts leaves me in a chronic state of fatigue. Not in a bad way, I assure you... just like how you feel in the middle of Ironman training when you're piling on the work and there's no end in sight.
I don't feel fresh starting the group ride on Wednesday mornings, which is a hard enough ride when I am rested let alone already fatigued from the 3 previous days of biking. And when the group punches, I can't hang on. But when we hit our two sustained climbs where everyone attacks, I can get into a rhythm and be ok. My numbers are fine. I feel my muscles burning in a way that assures me we're making progress, and I am still hanging on. Every week I'm thinking, oh shit, I'm gonna get dropped for good. And every week, I hang on by the skin of my teeth. And every week I get a little bit stronger.
I can sleep like the dead. It takes me like 0.5 seconds to fall asleep when my head hits the pillow.
I can eat like a linebacker. In the off season, I start to get a little bored of food because I'm never super hungry, and food just seems like a chore. Now, a calorie cannot pass my line of sight without me consuming it.
|My second home...|
And I'm having fun. I'm tackling new workouts. Particularly in the pool there have been a few new workouts that are super challenging. My coach has a favorite IM specific swim workout where we do a ridiculous amount of 100s on like 1-2 seconds rest. Every time I see that swim on my plan I just pray I'm not having an "off" day. Because even on a good day it's challenging. Well, that set of 100s has turned into 300s, still on 1-2 seconds rest. Oh, and make that 15 x 300 on no rest in the middle of a 7500 yd swim. *BOOM* That's ultraman training. And it's only February. I can't wait to see what April has in store!!
As weeks go by and the big weekend gets closer, my anxiety level goes up a little. But each day I am building confidence in training, and building a history that I can refer back to when the going gets tough during the race. I feel really lucky to have a coach that has won Ultraman. I am in good hands and I gotta just keep doing what she tells me to do. We are under 100 days now. Travel plans are made. There's no turning back. I've got this.