Ironman North Carolina Training: Week 6

I am ridiculously behind on my Ironman training recaps, and I had half a mind to let them slip into obscurity, but then I remembered you only get one first Ironman training cycle (and, very possibly, only one, period) and want to document them to the best of my ability. Truthfully, it's been hard to do just about anything other than work and train, so finding the time is hard, but I want to have these memories for better or for worse.

Monday 7/11
2300yd speed swim @ 1:53/100yd / 30 minutes core

Tuesday 7/12
90 minute trainer ride + 3.92 mile run @ 8:56
PM: After not really feeling like I was pushing myself hard enough for the first few weeks of training, or that the training wasn't pushing me hard enough, I let my coach know how I was feeling. And then I got two 2-hour bricks on my schedule this week. Well, okay then. This trainer ride was boooorrrrrinnnggg. I think I tried watching Orange is the New Black, and maybe I also tried a Peloton class that just didn't do it for me, but I just couldn't get into it. And then I had the complete opposite experience on my run! It felt really tough, but I pushed through. I ran a bit faster than expected and really pushed at the end to get that sub-9 (which I don't see much of these days). I ran for time but if I had noticed my distance I would have kept going to get in an even 4 miles.

Wednesday 7/13
2700yd stamina swim @ 1:50/100yd / 30 minutes strength

Thursday 7/14
90 minute trainer ride + 3 mile run @ 9:42
PM: Today I had almost the exact opposite experience as my Tuesday brick. The bike was fine but the run succckkkkked. This was the hottest day we've had so far this summer, although only slightly hotter than Tuesday so I thought it would be okay. It turned out that the heat index was 96 even after 8pm when the sun was going down. I was so hot and so dehydrated I was getting dizzy and feeling like I might puke and/or pass out. I kept going for as long as I could and was hoping to make it all the way back home, but when I got to 3 miles I just had to call it a day and walk the rest of the way. Lesson learned - bringing water on all runs from now on, no matter how short!

Friday 7/15
Rest day

Saturday 7/16
1 hour aerial yoga / 7.88 mile bike @ 14.8mph
PM: This was just...a complete mess of a day. My plan has me do long runs on Saturdays and long rides/short runs on Sundays, which is the opposite of how I trained for the half last year and hasn't really been working for me. So this morning I got up to do my long run and I just couldn't get myself out the door. I wanted to go to aerial yoga later in the day, so I figured I would just switch my days and do the ride after yoga.

So I went to aerial yoga in the afternoon expecting a fun treat like last week, but that was not what happened. There was a sub (which I knew ahead of time but went anyway), and I just didn't care for the way she taught. There were about 8 people in the class, one of whom is pretty experienced, then me (it was only my second time), and everyone else was brand new. The sub is the teacher for the level 2 class, so maybe that's why, but I thought she went through the instructions really quickly and not very thoroughly - even the things I sort of knew how to do from last week I couldn't really do per her instruction. There was one time where I didn't hear the first step of something so I fell behind and then just stood there for the next few minutes while they added on from there. I guess I could have asked, but I didn't. It also felt a lot harder than last week, which is fine, I mean it is exercise, but I don't need exercise, I need fun! It ended up being very frustrating. I was just really thankful that Alyssa and I had gone the week prior because I don't think it would have been a very positive experience if that had been our introduction to aerial yoga.

After yoga I felt really tired and not in a great mood, and it took me a while but I finally got all my things and headed out to the trail. I had a 2.5 hour bike followed by a 30-minute run. I had seen some storms on the radar before I left, but it looked like they weren't going to hit until I was finishing up. So it was around 5pm when I got started and there were some clouds I was concerned about, but I kept going...until I was 15 minutes in and saw lightning. At that point I figured it just wasn't meant to be and turned around, rode back to the parking lot, and went home.

Sunday 7/17
12 mile run @ 9:30 / 1800yd recovery swim @ 1:55/100yd
AM: After my botched day yesterday, I was really determined to at least get in my long run today. I ran a new route - the running store down the street does group runs throughout the week and they post all of their routes on MapMyRun, so I have been stealing those - and Ben even ran with me for the first 4 miles! We live on a long hill and started out first by going north up it, so we got in some elevation during the first few miles! We went through some neighborhoods we hadn't seen yet that we really liked and reminded us of where we moved from, so we made a mental note that we should move there. Then we jumped on Rock Creek Parkway, which is a long trail that runs north-south on the west side of the city. It goes right by the zoo, which is free, so we took a little detour into the zoo to look at the lions. That's when Ben left to head back home, and I continued south all the way down the trail until I got back down to the monuments. From there I went back north and finished in our neighborhood. I had 40 minutes of stoppage, compared to 15 minutes for 10 miles last week, compared to 40 for 10 miles 2 weeks before that - and neither of those times did I stop to look at animals at the zoo. Factoring that out, I think there was only one just-because stop and that was when there was no shade anymore and it got SUPER hot and I felt like I was on fire. This was my longest post-injury run and considering that the route ended up being hillier and harder than I was expecting, I was pretty happy with how it went.

PM: This was the first week that my planned has included a third, recovery swim on the weekend, and I didn't hate it. I settled into a really nice, relaxed stroke and swam a mile straight (continuous swimming isn't really ever on my plan).

This Week
Swim - 3.86 miles 
Bike -  58.7 miles (50.8 trainer, 7.9 outdoor)
Run - 18.93 miles
Total - 81.45

IMNC Training To-Date
Swim - 15.03 miles 
Bike -  373 miles (255.5 trainer, 117.5 outdoor)
Run - 98.2 miles
Total - 486.21

Week 6 Reflections:
  • Although I believe that there is some serious sacrifice that has to come with Ironman training, I have decided that I will not let myself be miserable during it. This weekend I woke up at 4:30am (okay then I hit snooze until 5 and then I sleepily turned off my alarm so when I actually got up it was 6) for my long run, and by the time I was ready to get ready to head out (7:45am), I just wasn't feeling it. I had a long run, 1-mile recovery swim, and core (which I was planning to sub for aerial yoga) on my schedule, and then on Sunday I had a long ride followed by a 30-minute run, and it just felt like a lot. Because it is a lot, because IM training is supposed to be a lot. But I'm still having a hard time finding the balance between what I should do (train) and what I want to do (namely, eat doughnuts in bed and go out and explore DC). I make myself feel guilty for giving in to the wants, but this week I decided that as long as I get it done, somehow, some way, I am fine. I will be fine. 
  • Related: I prefer to do long rides + short bricks on Saturdays, and long runs on Sundays. Not sure why my coach has me doing the opposite, and I hate questioning him because he's the expert, but I fell into the opposite rhythm with my HIM training last year, and I really like it for a lot of reasons (one being the option to eat doughnuts for breakfast on Saturdays).
  • Despite all this talk about doughnuts, I am actually down two more pounds and am now hovering at or below normal-for-me weight. I have never exercised with the goal of losing weight, but over the last 5 years of regular running and other exercise, my body has clearly changed. With that said, I actually weigh more now than I did when I was "skinny" (er, skinnier) and am only a couple pounds away from the heaviest I've ever been. I've obviously replaced a lot of fat with muscle, but I can tell when my weight fluctuates based on how I feel during workouts and how it affects my training.


  1. oh my gosh, i love running in the summer, but thursday's run sounds terrifying. i'm glad you stopped though!
    ugh that sucks about the sucky aerial yoga teacher :( i hope next time you go it's a better one. i hate trying new teachers for anything because you never know when they are gonna suck and ruin your experience.
    i like your way of thinking.. ironman training definitely should be a lot, but you should enjoy life and giving into wants as well, because you still train a bunch and get 'er done, and because doughnuts should never be ignored.

  2. So as you know Ive been following your progress on Instagram and snapchat, and even here... but I had to comment today. you rock! Seriously so inspired seeing you train for this!