June 20, 2010

Fast (for me) Century, Fatigue and Summer Colds

I've had an interesting week hence the interesting title. After my torture session (or massage), I woke up feeling really sore and had a bike ride on the schedule. Even though the weather looked great I decided to set up the trainer instead thinking I could minimize the discomfort. But after a few minutes of pedaling I could tell I was in deadsville. I was utterly fatigued from head to toe and just had nothing. I survived 30 easy minutes and used the rest of my morning to clean and organize my apartment, a much better use of my time given the circumstances.

As of Thursday I was on vacation for a long, relaxing weekend and I can honestly say I've never needed it more. I slept, and slept and slept, nearly 12 hours one night. I did a short ride Friday and still felt flat so a seed of worry was planted. On Wednesday I had signed up for the Montauk Century since I had 100 on the schedule and figured it would be nice to do it in an organized fashion. But nothing sounds more dreadful than a hundred miles on dead legs. So I crossed my fingers and hoped.

On Friday night I developed some chest pain and tightness along with a nagging cough. I brushed it off as another lingering symptom of fatigue and prayed I wasn't getting sick. But after four short hours of sleep I awoke Saturday morning to a miserable chest cold. I was fine otherwise - no head congestion, no fever, no aches, no sick feeling. So I got dressed and soldiered on, hoping the century would go well... and it did. While I didn't feel my best I felt good enough to push and it paid off. I completed my first sub 6-hour 100 and I felt great. I hit the century mark in 5:41:29 and ended up completing 102.6 miles in 5:49:02. I really worked for it, but I also didn't feel destroyed. I've been putting a lot of energy into improving on the bike and feel like it's finally paying off. I can't wait to see where I am by October.

Today was a sick day in the world of training. It included sleeping nine hours, having a leisurely brunch (involving a delicious bloody mary), watching a movie, having a late lunch (involving a beer) and a very lazy evening (involving a few sips of wine). All day I debated heading out for a ride or testing my lungs on a run but it was 90 degrees and humid and my lungs were unhappy so I decided to just relax. I can likely beat this with a few missed days, but if I push too much I'll have multiple missed days and even more miserable days so I'll be patient. After all, a brunch, a nap and a bloody mary never hurt anyone.

June 15, 2010

Birthday Fun

Celebrating my birthday and new age group with a destination race was a great thing to do. It removed the usual race weekend pressures and gave me a memorable experience. I'll always remember turning 35. Here's a glimpse of my weekend.

Upon arrival in Maryland, it's important to immediately locate a kitschy place to enjoy the local specialty - blue claw crabs

And since it's a race weekend, it's important to carb load

But enjoying blue claws is no joke - you need instructions and special tools

Let the feast begin

The resulting wreckage

After-dinner happiness

This was Friday night in St. Michaels, Maryland. We topped off the evening with a visit to the local ice cream parlor (more carbs) and a stroll around town. It wasn't my actual birthday, but definitely the designated celebration day given it was a race weekend. I'll post pics from pre-race and race once I get my hands on them.

My recovery is coming along beautifully. I was minimally sore but incredibly stiff so I've been rockin' the compression tights, enjoying my good friend advil and stretching lightly. I did a 30-minute swim this morning that felt like absolute heaven (and if you know me, you know that's saying A LOT). It feels so good to move when your body is heavy with fatigue. I had an 80-minute massage/torture session tonight that actually drove me to tears, but I'm sure it will be worth it when I wake up feeling fresh tomorrow.

June 14, 2010

Eagleman 70.3, AKA the Hottest, Windiest, Hardest 70.3 I've Ever Done

Every time I try to get back to posting here I end up insanely busy elsewhere in my life and slack off. The past week was a whirlwind. I was really stretched at work and attempting to prepare for another weekend away, this time for a race. It was not only my first of the season, but it was my first since the ill-fated Ironman and injury last year. It was also my birthday weekend, so I wanted to: (A) Finish; (B) Have fun; (C) Enjoy some non-race time. Was I successful? Yes on all fronts, but not without a fight.

I've done two other 70.3s, New Orleans and Providence. Both were challenging in their own ways and both were quite hot. But Eagleman elevated challenging and hot to new levels. I'd been warned the race was known for scorching heat and high winds, but the warnings were gross understatements. It was balmy at the start and the first blow of the day was the call for no wetsuits. I'm a mediocre swimmer when I'm actually training and I've been to the pool about 4 times in the last month. But I didn't let it get me down. I got into this sport to conquer fears and test my abilities so this was just another thing I thought I couldn't do that I needed to check off the list.

The swim was actually fine without the suit. I was cruising along and really enjoying myself, thinking "hey, maybe I'm not as slow as I thought." But then as I walked out of the water and glanced at my watch - 57 minutes - I was shocked. I know I haven't been diligent with training, but to go from my usual 45ish to 57 was a huge drop. But what can you do? I stopped for some support from my boyfriend in the swim exit chute and took my time in T1. I wanted to regroup before the bike.

The plan going into the race was to let it rip on the bike just in case I couldn't pull out a good run. I've only done one brick this year and it was on a 100 mile ride. Not exactly the most optimal training for an HIM. I also haven't raced on my foot so there was the chance it was going to be a death march even if the conditions were ideal. But the conditions were far from ideal so I'm glad I gave the bike everything I had. I pushed a higher HR range the entire ride and never stopped pedaling. The course is dead flat but totally exposed so it's hot, sunny and windy. The wind never relented and at times my legs burned as if I were riding uphill. I wanted to finish in less than 3 hours so I never let up regardless of how tired I was and it paid off. I was off the bike in 2:58, a really great accomplishment for me.

The run. Oh, the run. As I rode the final few miles we were passing runners just starting the half marathon. A majority of the field was not only walking, but shuffling along in pure misery. I felt a little ill at the thought of joining them. When people are that broken down in the first few miles you know it's going to be a struggle. I started out with an easy pace and went 100% on RPE. With the heat, sun and humidity (actual temperature 96, real feel 108) it was the only way to go. There were no mile markers and I was thankful for that. I just had my eye on reaching the turnaround as the only benchmark for how I was doing. I was able to run the entire course with very slow walks through each aid station where I dumped as much ice water over myself as I could and struggled to get fluids into me. My stomach was sloshy and I was battling side stitches the entire time so after the 6th or so aid station I couldn't ingest any more fluids. I held ice in my mouth and continued to douse myself. A debilitating side stitch totally destroyed my finish chute run but I was able to hobble in. It took 2:16, my slowest half marathon ever but my proudest finish.

The race wasn't about PRs or time goals, it was about making a comeback and putting a little more distance between my injury and recovery. I sometimes feel like I'm training on a time bomb and any given workout might be my last. As a result I'm undertraining compared to the machine I was last year. But I'm enjoying my life in a different way and if I can still toe the line, feel good and finish, it's enough for me in this phase of my life. Next year may be a different story.

I have some catch up posts to share and will get moving this week. The weekend also included some birthday fun and there are, of course, photos to be posted as well. Congrats to everyone who endured and finished Eagleman!

June 3, 2010

Free Drinks

So few things in life are free so it's always a nice treat to get something gratis. Ironman has switched beverage sponsors from Gatorade Endurance, my training fuel of choice, to PowerBar Perform. I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of PowerBar anything. I think the gels taste awful, the chocolate is similar to a chemically frosting with a heavy dose of salt, and the bars have never been my cup of tea except for the amazingly delicious Triple Threat. However, I'm always open to trying new things so I was thrilled when I arrived home to find a case of PowerBar Perform waiting for me. I heard buzz about Ironman racers receiving a trial so I wasn't entirely surprised but was still thoroughly delighted.

I actually have stomach issues in regular life, but for some reason I can consume just about anything in sport with no troubles. I can "live off the land" in all races, which really simplifies my preparation. I've always been a Gatorade girl, but was specifically training with Endurance because all WTC Ironman and 70.3 races, as well as most major marathons, offered it on the course. And I like it so it's a bonus. Now that WTC has switched I'm not likely to convert 100%, but I'll definitely be doing some long training days with PowerBar Perform to be sure I feel adequately fueled for race day. I have a big brick tomorrow, a 90 mile ride and 40 minute run, so I'll be putting it to the test and will report back what I think.

In my never ending struggle to find a way to train for Ironman without giving up my life and being miserable, I tried another new approach today. I have been avoiding the pool like the plague so I told my coach I'd rather just go, swim and get it over with. No sets, no rests, no wasted time. So I did a 60 minute continuous swim and loved it! Yes, it felt like forever at times but to free the mind and not be counting laps as I bounced back and forth like a ping pong ball was brilliant. Right now I have two swims each week - the 60 minute and a 75 minute. If all goes well I'll give that one a shot this weekend. And if all goes really well, I'll actually be able to finish and not fall apart on July 25, all after having enjoyed my spring, my summer and my life.

June 1, 2010

Viva Italia!

The best time to book a vacation is right after finishing another vacation. That's exactly what I did today. For the past several weeks we've been contemplating a trip to Italy in July. At first I worried my race would prevent me from going, but when we looked at the dates, it fell during the first week of my taper. There is a slight risk I'll still be jet lagged on race day, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. I'll be spending nearly nine days in Italy and my road bike will be making the journey with me. All I have to do is show up, relax, ride a little and relax some more. It sounds like a great taper to me!

Yesterday was the final day in Lake Placid. We had planned to ride a loop of the IMLP course, check out of the hotel and then take a scenic flight over the high peaks. But when we stepped outside in the morning there was a heavy haze and the smell of campfire in the air. It turned out there was a massive forest fire in Quebec that was blanketing a huge area with smoke. We ended up doing the ride, but the lack of visibility killed our flight plans.

The ride was incredible, by far one of my best on the Lake Placid course yet. The smoke led to some watery eyes and a craving for smores, but was otherwise tolerable. We stopped and took a few photos and enjoyed our final moments in the Adirondacks.

Today was rest but tomorrow begins with a 4:45am wake up so I can do my long run before work. I haven't tackled a Wednesday long run yet so tomorrow will be the test. Hopefully the logistics will work out and I won't be falling asleep by 3pm at my desk!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...