Questions & Answers & Questions

Yesterday I had a big workout on the schedule - biggest one ever.  It would answer some questions - like where I am at in my training, how is my recovery going, how much laundry can I create in one day... and give me the chance to practice race-day nutrition, pacing, etc.  I did a shorter version of this workout two years ago.  Well, actually more riding that time but less running.  Yesterday my coach had ordered a 90 km bike, 15 km run, 50 km bike then 10 km run.  Big day.

I prepped all my bottles, set out clothes and got everything ready Friday night, so I wouldn't forget anything and I could make the transition times between each segment efficient.  I headed out on my own Saturday morning, and the first day of fall dawned pretty quiet, with only a few cyclist and runners out on the roads, and of course the ubiquitous garage sale early birds.  I took the first part of the ride easy, then gradually increased the pace until I was working pretty hard for the last half.  The 90 km went by pretty quickly, and soon enough I was back at home to switch gears for segment number two.

Morning solo roll out.
Jason joined me for my 15 km run - he rode along and acted as a mobile aid station (as well as good company).  We covered a combination of road and gravel path and I stuck to my plan for IM of 8 minutes run, 2 minutes walk.  Seemed to work fine, but my legs definitely felt tired by halfway through and I felt like I was slowing down.  I didn't want to push the pace too much as I still had two other workouts to do, so just carried on, concentrating on staying fueled up and positive.

Being followed by my mobile aid station.
Jason decided to join me for ride #2 as well and we headed out.  I wanted to make sure I was working hard the whole way, and he was under instructions to make sure I didn't slack off.  I stood and powered over every hill, and stayed aero and worked it on the flats.  There were a lot of Jens Voigt-style "shut up legs" self talk moments as my legs were tired from the earlier ride and run I'd done already that day. But I just kept reminding myself that an Ironman ride was 180 km, and today I was doing a total of only 140 so had nothing to complain about.

Ride #2 of the day.
The last segment - run #2 (10 km) - was where things got really tough.  Jason and Humu joined me on a short section through the trails for the first 10 minutes, and I could barely run.  My legs were sore and they didn't want to do any motion that resembled human running.  I just kept going and knew they'd eventually come around.  I turned out onto the road, leaving Jason and Humu to play in the woods.  After about 15 minutes, my legs had settled in and I felt good again.  That lasted for about a half an hour, then they were getting tight and sore.  Great mental training, as I reminded myself what that last 10 km of an Ironman marathon feels like.  I decided I would focus on my pace, and I determined to keep my pace for the remaining few kms the same as my "regular" run pace, and my walk breaks could be easy.  It took all the concentration I had: watching the numbers on my Garmin, gritting my teeth and just putting one foot in front of the other.  But it worked, even though my legs didn't want to, I made them cooperate and hit the pace I wanted.

Heading down the road for the last 10 km.

I was pretty happy to see Jason at the end of my run, but had to choke back a couple of tears as I was exhausted, sore, and by that point running on fumes alone.  After a shower, compression tights, pizza, and Netflix I was feeling a lot better, but my legs were still pretty much on fire.  As expected, I tossed and turned all night (I never sleep well after a hard workout), but to my surprise I feel better than I thought I would today.  Not that I want to run today or anything - and Coach Kiki if you're reading this, I am definitely looking forward to my upcoming recovery week!  

Looking at the calendar, I know there will be the final big push during October.  I am ready and looking forward to the increase in hours and intensity.  I feel like my running is slowly improving - I am not really running faster than ever, but I think I can hold my pace longer and not slow down as much over the last half of the marathon.  Cycling - I still have a lot of questions around where I am at and where I'd like to be, and am hoping and know that my coach will be challenging me over the next month.  I can't wait!


  1. If you need some cheering during your training I can come out and do that. I need some cheer training my self for the big day!

  2. That sounds great CB, I'll do some training down by your neck of the woods soon then!

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