Ironman North Carolina Training: Week 16

Monday 9/19
60 minutes yoga
PM: A full rest day today, including a day off from work for recovery, but I opted to do an hour's worth of yin tonight to loosen up from yesterday's race.

Tuesday 9/20
4.2 mile run @ 9:24
AM: I got up this morning intending to run, but as the sun takes longer and longer to wake up, it's getting harder and harder to fit in runs before work. And not only that, but something in me was excited for evening running - something I haven't done in over a month, and not regularly for over two months. I knew it would probably still be hot and muggy and not the fall afternoon I was dreaming of, but as I have struggled to find the fun in training these past few weeks, I wanted to embrace any inkling my brain was giving me about what might be enjoyable.

PM: Yeah, so, about that evening run...Morning me is stupid and should not be listened to. This wasn't horrible by any means, but I was super hungry and my stomach was crampy and, as I should have known, there were approximately eleventy billion people out crowding the sidewalks. Despite that, I was in a good mood from IM 70.3 Atlantic City so it was still an enjoyable run...just probably would have been more enjoyable without those downsides.

Wednesday 9/21
30 minutes strength training / 650yd @ 1:51/100yd
AM: Got strength training done. No time for core so I pushed it to Friday (and since I'm writing this after the fact, I can go ahead and tell you what I already knew would happen: it never got done).

PM: I went to the pool a little early in hopes of getting done early and going to bed early since I had to wake up early, but that didn't happen. The pool was really crowded - I checked the schedule and found out there is a Masters swim group that goes until 8:15 so there is really no point in getting there any earlier than that - and I had to wait like 10 minutes just to be able to share a lane with 2 other people. After a few laps my goggles started getting leaky, and I'd had a meltdown when I got home from work and Ben and I got into a fight before I left to go swim, and to be honest I really just wanted to be home and not at the pool. So, not my proudest moment, but basically after my warmup I just decided screw it, and went home. 

Thursday 9/22
60 minute trainer ride + 4.5 mile run @ 9:05
AM: I really, really, really did not want to get up and do this, and I think I would have slept in if I knew my coworkers wouldn't ask me about my training that day (they always do - and believe it or not, I actually don't talk about this stuff in real life unless someone asks!), and I was already thinking I'd have to tell them I bailed on swimming and I didn't want any more embarrassment, so I got up. This brick turned out to be entirely uneventful, except for the fact that it was a month out from race day! To be honest, for most of the day I was really down about that because this training cycle hasn't exactly gone the way I always pictured it, but by the end of the day I was starting to feel more hopeful and accept this journey for what it's been, both good and bad.

PM: I was half considering making up last night's swim after work tonight, but then I worked until 7pm (after getting up at 4am and already working out for almost 2 hours today) so that obviously didn't happen.

Friday 9/23
Unplanned Rest Day
AM: Supposed to get up early for core. Didn't.

PM: Supposed to swim after work. Didn't.

Saturday 9/24
18 mile run @ 9:53
AM: After skipping a bunch of workouts and basically doing nothing this week, I really needed to get some things right this weekend. Normally I do long runs on Sundays, but my friend was going to be in town to ride with me on Sunday, so I switched my days. I had 14 on my schedule but wanted to do more like 16-18 to build up my confidence, since I hadn't run farther than 14 miles since my 18-miler over a month ago. I texted Christy earlier in the week and luckily she was game to shoot for 16ish miles, even though she just got back from Australia and was battling a bad cold. Just knowing I would be meeting up with her was a huge motivator when I woke up on Saturday morning! No way I would have been even remotely excited about running that far if I had been doing it on my own. 

Christy met me at a Metro stop not far from my apartment, and we set out on our run. Our first stop was the zoo, which I've run to once before but in kind of a roundabout way, but this time we ran directly there. Turns out it's only about a mile from me! The lions and tigers weren't out and we got lost in the parking lot trying to leave the zoo and get back onto the trail, but it was still worth it for a change of scenery. From there we continued down the Rock Creek Park trail, which is mostly shaded (although we didn't really need it since the fall weather was starting to set in!). Christy was a trooper but she really wasn't feeling great, so after 4.5 miles she decided it would be best to bow out. Those first few miles absolutely flew by and for the first time in a long time, I wasn't preoccupied with how far I had left to go. When she decided to stop, I was honestly worried about making it through another 13.5 miles on my own! I just didn't know if I had the mental strength to run another 2+ hours alone. 

This was the last long run I'll do in DC before race day, so I really wanted to see as much of it as I could! I've explored so many places I might not have otherwise just from doing long runs here over the last few months, so I knew it might be a while before I get back to them. After Christy left I continued down Rock Creek Park and hit the waterfront, then made an impromptu decision to run across the Arlington Memorial Bridge, which crosses the river to Arlington National Cemetery, and back. When I got back to the DC side I went down to West Potomac Park, where transition and the bike out and run out had been for the Nation's Tri a couple weeks ago, and ran some of the same route at the Nation's Tri over to East Potomac Park. The park makes a ~3.5 mile loop which is great for distance but so boring. And it got worse when I hit the point at the end and turned around to realize I now had a pretty fierce headwind in my face. I had just hit mile 10 and would hit 12 when I left the park, and I really wasn't sure if I'd keep going on my planned route at that point or just run the 3 miles home and call it a day at 15 miles.

I got out of the park and ran the half mile or so up to the Mall and to my street, when I realized it was blocked off because of the opening of the National Museum of African American Culture and History, the newest Smithsonian Museum. That pretty much made my decision for me, so I turned at the first place I could and headed toward Capitol Hill. I made it to the top of the hill right when my watch hit mile 14, so I figured I would at least run back down (because what was the point of doing the work to get up there if I didn't enjoy the free ride back down), which got me closer to 15 miles. I passed a bikeshare right then and was so tempted to stop and go home, but I didn't really feel like biking any more than I felt like running. So on I went, past mile 16 and at that point I was 2 miles from home so why not just finish what I set out to do? Unfortunately the last two miles are a gradual climb (not really steep enough to even notice in a lot of places, but still) and I was absolute toast by the time I finished!

PM: Again, I thought about making up a swim this afternoon, but I decided not to force it. I'm obviously not ready to get back in the pool, for whatever reason. Plus, I was extremely wiped out from my morning run! I laid on the couch or in bed all day - I seriously couldn't get enough rest!

Sunday 9/25
70 mile ride @ 15.3mph + 4.8 mile run @ 9:24
My friend Leah, who is also doing IMNC, was in town this weekend and I am so thankful that she met me for a long ride this morning! We had 40 miles on our plan, but we wanted to stretch it out further since we'd barely hit 50 miles on rides since our 110-miler a month prior. We had originally talked about doing 80-90 miles, but our coach, who I think wasn't super happy that I added 4 miles to my run yesterday, told us we could do 60-70, so 70 it was. 

We rode out at the W&OD, which will probably be my last time riding there! It was under 60 degrees when we started and I actually wore long sleeves and pants for the entire ride. Leah had a cold so we took it pretty easy. Even with her there it wasn't my favorite ride or thing to be doing, but having her there definitely helped me keep going. There were a few times when I know I would have gotten frustrated and stopped if I had been on my own.

We had a 45 minute run afterward but Leah had to leave, so I went alone. I could either go one direction and do 4-5 loops of a shaded, flat route, or go another direction with no shade and head on a gradual incline before a hill. I did one loop of the flat route before realizing that I was being dumb and had no reason to be afraid of going the other way - especially since it was a really nice fall day out, so the fact that there was no shade wasn't an issue. 

I was really proud of myself for choosing the harder route, and it really wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Like, at all. And, since what goes up must come down, the last 15 minutes or so were pretty fun!

This Week 
Swim - 0.37 miles 
 Bike - 89.6 miles
Run - 31.53 miles 
Total - 98.97

 IMNC Training To-Date 
Swim - 44.18 miles 
 Bike - 1399.12 miles
Run - 360.16 miles 
Total - 1803.46

Week 16 Reflections:

  • I had a great week of swimming 2 weeks ago, but since then swimming has been on the decline, ending with a whopping 0.4 miles this week. To be fair, I was supposed to swim in races the previous 2 weeks but there were...issues...with both of them, so that's not really my fault. The extremely shortened and canceled swims this week were totally my fault, but whatever. I'd swim all the livelong day in open water, I'm just SO over the pool. Especially when there are like 50 other people in it (actually like 15 but that's a lot for a 6-lane pool!). I felt like I was doing really well with swimming and seeing a lot of improvement, but a quick glance that, for various reasons, I've only completed about 70% of the swims on my schedule, and only 80% of the swims I feasibly could have done (if that makes sense). I really wanted to do better than that this year since I kind of underestimated it last year, so getting back in the pool is definitely a goal moving forward!

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