Ironman Training (Weeks 26, 27, 28)


Well my two biggest training weeks are done and dusted. And even a week of taper is already over too!

12 days until Ironman Lake Placid and I am filled with a variety of emotions and thoughts…

A friend who is also doing Lake Placid wrote a blog post the other day, and she hit the nail on the head by describing her feelings as going from “it’s no big deal” to “this is a REALLY big deal”.

This change of thought happens to me by the hour. Sometimes I think “I’ve been doing this for months, it’s just a catered training day. It’s natural for me. I will be just fine.”

And then the next hour my stomach is in knots and I think “Oh my gosh. I will be so heart broken, embarrassed, disappointed and upset if I don’t finish. How will my life go on if I don’t finish? What if everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong?! Did I do enough training? Do I even belong there?”

And then the next thing I know I’m back to “YES I cannot wait. I can’t wait to experience it all. I cannot wait to be there in the moment. I am a good athlete. It will be awesome.”

It’s exhausting…

SO…here’s what I’ve been up to the past three weeks:

Week 26 Recap (Peak Week #1)
Total Mileage: 217 Miles
Total Time: 21:47 Hours

Week 27 Recap (Peak Week #2)
Total Mileage: 214
Total Time: 21 Hours

Week 28 Recap (Taper Week 1 of 3)
Total Mileage: 131
Total Time:14:03
*This was also our moving week/weekend!!*

My two peak weeks of training were actually really good. I was tired of course, but I wasn’t miserable. The long ride during peak week #1 was an 86 mile ride titled “The Peninsula Death Ride”. I’m not even sure how gravity worked on some of those hills. I rode with a small group of riders. One rider is also doing Ironman Lake Placid, so it was comforting to bounce ideas, fears and comments off of him. Another rider in the group had done Lake Placid in 2016, so it was even more awesome to ask the questions I had rolling around the back of my head. He told me I looked strong on the hills and I really appreciated hearing that. He also pointed out hills that were pretty comparable to Lake Placid and it was a big confidence boost knowing how it felt to climb those hills and still feel good.

Peak week #2 I did a 90-mile ride and a 6-mile run afterwards and I felt fantastic. My nutrition was spot on. I can’t believe how good I have gotten at eating on the bike compared to last year! I also tried eating a bologna sandwich (after reading about GI distress/cramps for endurance athletes and learning that fat intake during big races is important.) I found out that I enjoyed having something more salty than sweet, so I am going to go with one of those on race day. I also ran an 18-miler and a 20-miler and felt decent during those runs. All confidence building workouts.

And alas, 4th of July weekend I had 5 days off work to train and to move into our new house. It felt like a weird Ground Hog’s Day. I told my husband I would be done with my training by 1PM every day and I held true to my word, except I was left exhausted for the actual moving part of each day. (At one point my husband caught me lying down on the ground while painting a wall, it wasn’t very efficient FYI.)

Still the man remains a saint and goes down in history as the greatest husband ever. He was extremely understanding of my tiredness, soreness and stress level. He did the bulk of the moving and lifting and would still make sure I had enough to eat and drink. He didn’t mind when I would pass out at 8PM leaving him to clean stuff up. He comforted me at 5AM when I was almost on the verge of tears about to head out to train YET AGAIN even though I was utterly exhausted. He is the real MVP of my entire Ironman journey, because I honestly could not have made it this far without him.

Over the course of the 5 days of moving — I trained 234.5 miles. Ouch.

So here we are now, completely moved into our new house. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of stuff to put away and organize, but we made it.

My home gym is also coming along very nicely. I’m so excited for this room. I still need to hang stuff up and paint, but I’ve decided I will tackle all of this after the Ironman.

For now I am enjoying my new running routes in a new city during the final days of Ironman training. We live a mile from Lake Erie now, so it’s nice to run up there to the beach. There’s so much going on, but it’s all good and exciting things. I just pray I can keep my sanity and composure. It’s all mental at this point.

“The cake is baked, now you gotta let it cool.” — Referring to the Ironman taper.

6 thoughts on “Ironman Training (Weeks 26, 27, 28)

  1. Ethan!! — So true. Taper is a unique, weird, crazy, incredible time. YES the race itself is the prize for all our hard work — it seriously is a catered training day.

    I love how you put it “The finish line is a special memory, but it is the starting line that really means everything.”

    And from the Iroman essay “You’ll tear up in your goggles. Everybody does.”

    I get chills thinking about standing there on the beach. I just can’t believe it’s almost here and we will be there, doing an Ironman instead of just talking about it and training for it!

  2. Love it! Taper is such a unique time. I am excited for the race to be here, but I kinda don’t want this whole thing to end. Somewhere near the end of the peak phase of training I realized we’ve become mentally unbreakable, just finishing the training is such an accomplishment. I keep reminding myself of what ppl told me before my first marathon, that the race itself is the prize for getting through training. Soak it up and enjoy it. The finish line is a special memory, but it is the starting line that really means everything.

    Can’t wait!

  3. I’ve loved following your journey and wish you the best! Can’t wait to hear how it went!

  4. RAY!! Thank you for being such a kind and wise supporter. I always take what you say to heart. So much good information you sent. I will def be checking out your race report. Wonderful tips on packing. I am planning on packing this weekend and writing out all my training I did over the last 30 weeks to physically SHOW myself that I am ready and that I did the work to belong there.

    I did re-read that IM essay thing a few days ago. I will keep revisiting that. It’s an oldie but goodie. I also love the quote about your training self vs. your racing self. My training self has worked her butt off — i hope my racing self can honor her.

    “You will have highs and lows during the day. You will be tested in ways you don’t expect…” This reminds me of other things I’ve read recently that are similar…basically don’t panic if you start to feel terrible or despaired, or upset, etc. I will go through a variety of emotions and feelings and most times those feelings (both good and bad) don’t last the entire race.

    I am still most nervous about the bike cutoff, but I think i will be OK (most days I think like this, but sometimes I go off the ledge and start panicking 🙂 ) Everyone says that the minute your face is in the water your training takes over since this is what you’ve been doing for months. I sure hope that happens to me because just thinking of standing there on the beach puts my stomach in knots!! Honestly at this point I just want it to be here instead of constantly thinking/stressing/flipping out about it.

  5. Awesome! You are ready!!!!

    Remember, winning and success is crossing the starting line. The rest is a celebration of your journey. You will have highs and lows during the day. You will be tested in ways you don’t expect. The point of all of this training is to give your self the physical stamina and mental toughness to find a way to keep moving forward no matter what is happening around you.

    “There are two separate halfs  to your fitness self. There is the training self, and the racing self. The training self does all the hard work. He gets up at 3 am. He runs in the dark, in the rain, in the heat, and in the snow. The training self ignores the snooze button, the fatigue, and the pain. The training self gives your racing self the gifts of fitness and endurence.  The training self does all of the hard work. The racing self only has to show up a few times a year, and it only has one job.
    He has to honor your training self.
    He has to make all of your training self’s hard work and sacrifices worthwhile.
    No matter what you do on race day, never let your training self down.”
    -Coach Rick-Endurance Nation

    “Ironman is about pain. It is about adversity. It is about pushing beyond your limitations and your expectations. It is about how the human spirit faces adversity and overcomes it…”
    -Author Unknown

    There is a long essay about the Ironman Taper and Race Day that circulates the IM FB pages and IM blogs that I posted on your blog before you ran IM Ohio 70.3. Go re-read it. It will mean so much more now. Drink the soup!

    Think about special needs bags. Suggest extra tubes/CO2 canisters, sun screen, lip balm, ibuprofen, antacids, special treats, etc for the bike. Head lamp, dry socks, etc for the run. Encouraging notes from family and other loved ones in both (bonus style points if the notes are from young kids written in crayon). Attend the official course talk. Attend the Endurance Nation unofficial course talk which is usually better. Drive the bike course. Do a practice swim. Expect to buy WAY too much swag. The free event poster looks awesome in home gyms. The big thing is the finishers jacket (and race kits, and name t-shirts, and coffee mugs, and bath robes (seriously), and throw pillows (seriously), and cookie cutters (no words). The pre-race banquet and post race breakfast are not a huge deal but part of the experience…go to them and listen to all of the pep talks from Mike Riley. It’s worth doing.

    Also, plan your finishers photo. Seriously. There will be 2000-2500 finishers…over 8 hours. Even at peak times, it will be a trickle. Unless you are gunning for a Kona slot (or trying to beat the 17 hour cut-off) then a few seconds won’t matter. If there are a few runners with you, let them go as you approach the finish chute. Pick a time when you will be alone. Zip up the tri kit. Straighten the hat. Big smile. Every chear and every high-five will be for you. Every flash is on you. Listen to the announcement…you will want to hear Mike Riley call you in. Make sure all 6 photographers are watching you cross…all alone. This is a moment you will want to remember forever.

    If you are bored, I have linked my race report below. Just to give you a feel for how the day can flow. I look forward to reading your race report.

    Have a great race!

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