Where am I? What’s happening? Who am I?
As the days tick by I can feel my stress meter increasing. My mind is a blur and I am constantly tired. I am having fun don’t get me wrong. But as I whimpered “does it ever end?” to my husband yesterday on my way out the door for a run, I couldn’t help but wonder how I had gotten myself into this situation!
I can’t even remember what life was like before Ironman training.
I feel like every situation or event in my life is dictated by Ironman…
- A kayaking date we scheduled months ago? No. Too tired after my long brick.
- Happy hour? Only if it ends at 6PM, plus I won’t be drinking alcohol because I have to be up at 4AM.
- A family party that starts at 11AM on Saturday? There’s no way I’ll make it. I will only be a few hours into my 6-hour ride and would still need to run afterwards…
And before you say “No no no…Ironman training is all about balance and still making time for your life commitments.” Not right now. I honestly couldn’t image skipping a workout because my anxiety level that I am not ready is quickly taking over my life.
I am the strongest and fittest I have ever been in my entire life…but 140.6 miles strong?! I still can’t wrap my head around it, although big training weeks do help my anxiety a bit. (See why I couldn’t imagine skipping a workout right now!?)
Total Mileage: 182 Miles
Total Time: 18:09
Week 22 was my most fun week yet. (Remember I did say I was having fun training — just worrying a lot as well!) It was Memorial Day weekend and I knew a three day training bender was on the horizon. Over the course of the long weekend I covered 181 miles!
Saturday: 2 mile swim, 80 mile ride and 5 mile run (I felt great! I was SUPER focused on nutrition and making sure I was eating every 45 minutes and drinking a ton. You can see how this effected me and just proves even more how important nutrition is. I got done with the bike and felt perfectly fine to run.)
Sunday: 12 mile bike and 13.2 mile run
Monday: 65 mile bike and 4 mile run
By Tuesday morning I felt exhausted and could feel a cold coming on. I had pushed hard, but was proud of my efforts and discipline.
I was also able to stock up on nutrition for the last few weeks of training. Only $70 later at Dicks…I needed to order online, but I had used up everything I had over the long holiday weekend.
Total Mileage:165 Miles
Total Time:17 Hours
Week 23 was a little challenging, but having Monday off for my long ride was a life saver. That weekend I was heading up to the Finger Lakes in New York for my best friend’s Bachelorette Party and I knew some drinking and relaxing was going to take place. I actually ended up taking my first rest day since May 9 on that Sunday. That’s a good thing because we enjoyed a lot of wine all weekend!! I did still manage to get in 12.5 miles on Saturday before most of the girls were up. My other two girlfriends ran 2 miles with me (miles 7 and 8 for me), which was nice to have a little bit of company. Also I took PTO on Friday and got in another ride on the trainer and met one of my girlfriends at this AMAZING pool out in Geneva. It’s an Olympic training facility called Spire and has an Olympic size pool! In my normal pool, if I want to swim the full 2.4 Ironman distance I have to swim 87 laps — in Spire’s pool it was only 43.5 laps!
We also practiced swimming in our wet suits for a few laps since I am racing this weekend and I haven’t worn my wet suit since last July! It was just SO amazing!! My normal pool only has 4 lanes (sometimes less) and usually I have to share a lane with 2+ people. Spire has 10 lanes and the lanes are double in size, plus my friend and I were the only ones in the entire pool. It’s crazy! Definitely made me enjoy my 2.4 mile swim more than usual!
This weekend I am racing both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday I am racing an Olympic distance triathlon and Sunday is my b-race of the year — my second 70.3 Half Ironman! I am super curious how Sunday will go. It’s crazy how last summer I thought 70.3 was HUGE. I mean don’t get me wrong, it still is a HUGE distance…but it’s not 140.6 huge. I am a little nervous, but considerably WAY less nervous than last summer. This will be my 4th year doing this race (but first attempt at the half distance this year). So I am pretty comfortable with the venue and how the race is ran. I am most nervous for the swim. I just haven’t done an OWS since last August. I hope I am OK in my wet suit as well. Sometimes I tend to panic and have to focus on staying calm and in control. I hate when it feels so tight that I cannot breathe! But if I breathe slowly and calmly I will be fine.
I am really hoping to PR compared to my Half Ironman last summer because I am in way better shape now and because I am comfortable at this venue. Also racing back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday will help to simulate a longer distance at race pace.
I’m chomping at the bit to see a starting line! Here’s to hoping this weekend goes smooth and helps boost my confidence levels.
4 thoughts on “A Slave to Ironman Training (Week 22 & 23 Recap)”
Ethan! Wow I really love how you put it, “I keep reminding myself that this isn’t “real life”. It is unsustainable for the long haul, but that’s by design.” SO true. I feel like I have tunnel vision. Someone says something about a date in August and I can’t mentally process it because it’s after the Ironman. What will life be like after the Ironman?! “IM is special, and this heavy peak training is the most special of the special.” Well said my friend. We are in a very different place than most people. We had friends over last night and I kept trying to explain why we do what we do and all I kept hearing is “You’re crazy!” Some people won’t ever understand, but I know there are people out there like you who do. People who have to ask “why” will never truly understand. We are ALMOST there. Like you said a few more weeks at this effort and then it’s taper time and it becomes all mental. Of all the marathons I’ve ran, I don’t believe I truly understood or tapered correctly. Now after training for my first full Ironman I think “Ahh yes…taper makes sense now…”
You captured the mood well. Continuously tired. Always preparing for a workout, working out, or recovering from a workout. Eat, shower, laundry, sleep, grocery shop. I keep reminding myself that this isn’t “real life”. It is unsustainable for the long haul, but that’s by design. Only need to maintain this volume for a little while, although it feels like an eternity. IM is special, and this heavy peak training is the most special of the special. I have had to adopt the mental policy of looking no further than today and tomorrow at the calendar, I get way too overwhelmed when I look at the big picture. I find myself longing for race day, if only because it’ll be the first workout on truly rested legs in 6 months, that alone is going to make it feel sublime, let alone the whole accomplishment-of-a-lifetime thing.
Thank you for sharing your story, it helps knowing other people are in the same place.
“You found your way back to the ledge I see.” Seriously LOL! Yes I am on the ledge a few times a week, but tend to relax just a bit when I look at my weekly mileage. I know the next couple of weeks will be crazy plus we are moving soon! I just gotta make it through and keep my priorities straight! I am doing a local 70.3 – it’s called The Great Western Reserve Triathlon. I’m going to do the Olympic on Saturday and then the half on Sunday. Really interested to see how the half goes!
You found your way back to the ledge I see. Get off, you have no business being there. Your training plan and training levels look perfect. You may not feel ready, but you will be. You are right where you should be.
Trust me. I lived on that ledge for several ween in 2014. You’ve got this.
The next 3-4 weeks will be crazy. It will be ok. Just get thru one workout at a time. And you CAN skip a workout. It’s a cumulative thing. One workout won’t change anything (but I would get those last few long bricks in the next few weeks). But, if something important comes up and your family needs you, just go. The break will recharge the mental fatigue and get you ready for the next workout.
Which 70.3 are you doing? You should do great with the extra training volume. All my PRs fell pre-Ironman. But don’t stress about it, whatever happens. This is a glorified training day with concierge service. Don’t go all out and then need a week to recover. Enjoy the day!