Kinetic Half Ironman Training: 3 Weeks Out

I *just* realized that I have been wrong in the titles of these posts. Technically my counting was correct if I were counting from the beginning of the week, but by the time I post them I'm one week closer to race day than I've been saying - eek! I actually only have three weeks to go until the Kinetic Half Ironman!

Woof, this week did not go as planned! The only highlight was a 5k PR on Friday night, but everything else was way under par. My run mileage was super low and I didn't even do a long run, which I knew would most likely be the case since I had the race on Friday night and a big ride on Sunday, but it still felt weird. My bike mileage ended up being low too, though, because I broke my bike almost 25 miles into the ride and wasn't able to finish the 60 miles I had planned. It was an interesting week, and not a great one, but there's nothing I can do except move on. Some things I learned this week:
  • I'm not a social runner. I already knew this, yet I started running (and swimming and biking) with a tri group at my Y about 2.5 months ago. It started out with 1 run per week, which was fine, but a few weeks ago we increased to 2 runs per week. And on the weekends I've been doing brick runs with friends after our long rides, so that put me up to 3 social runs a week, which is a lot for someone who, until 2.5 months ago, ran alone like 95% of the time (and generally prefers it that way). I also started taking my dog for daily 1ish mile runs about a month ago, but he's not the best runner so it's stressful for me sometimes. I need running to be my alone time, my time to think and to decompress and honestly, as a huge introvert, time to just not be around anyone or talk to anyone or listen to anyone (sadly, that includes my dog). I went for what ended up only being my 4th solo run in 27 days on Thursday this week and it was glorious and exactly what I needed.
  • Run streaking is not for me. I have never really been interested in attempting a run streak, but I accidentally started one about a month ago when I ran for a few days straight and then started running daily with my dog, so it just kind of happened and then I just kind of kept it going (minimum of 1 mile per day with Bane and there were several days when that's the only running I did). At first it was kind of fun and exciting to see how long I could keep it up, but it got old after a while and officially ended on Sunday this week (which, ironically, is my 6-year running anniversary). It was interesting to see how my body responded to running daily, especially since at some point (in the future when/if I stop doing long distance triathlons) I do want to try out a higher mileage training plan to reach some of my big running goals. It was nice to test the waters a little bit (and I do mean a little bit since my total mileage was still well under my 4x/week marathon training mileage) but ultimately I am not interested in running that often no matter how short the distance is.  
  • Bike maintenance is important! Like I mentioned already...I broke my bike on a ride this week. I'm still not entirely sure how it happened, or even what happened exactly, but I started having some trouble with my gears around 20 miles in, then my chain popped and immediately after that it somehow jammed and snapped my rear derailer clean off. In layman's terms, one minute I was riding my bike and the next minute I had rendered it unrideable. The guys I was with said they had never seen that happen before, but I guess I'm just that talented. I don't know if there was anything I could have done to prevent it, but I do know that I didn't do my due diligence. My gears had been acting funky off an on for a while and that I really should have gotten a tune-up before now. I definitely learned my lesson - my road bike is in the shop getting repaired and tuned up and my tri bike, which is also having some shifting problems and is overdue for a tune-up, will be going in ASAP.
1.1 mile run with Bane @ 11:35

YTri Spin + 3.2 mile brick run @ 8:19 /
1 mile run with Bane @ 10:41
Spin class today was just okay! I didn't love the structure of the class, but it was fine. The run afterward was a bit longer than what we've been doing - yay! - although the group got separated and we were a little confused on the route so the people I was with ended up missing about a half mile of it, oops!

1.29 mile run with Bane @ 10:39 + Strength Training
Once again, I stayed up too late last night and didn't even consider getting up in the morning to work out. After work I went to the gym since I wasn't able to get in any strength training last week. I knew I didn't want to do anything too taxing on my legs since I had a 5k coming up on Friday, so I stuck to upper body.

4.7 mile run @ 8:49 / 16.25 mile Zwift ride
I had a lot of anxiety when I woke up for run group this morning, and I just couldn't get myself to go. Like I said above, all the runs I've been doing with other people (and dogs!) have been really taking it out of me, and I think it all came to a head today. I had planned to do 6 miles with the group and then 75 minutes on the trainer on Zwift after work, but since I skipped this morning I split the difference after work. I ended up just running until I felt like stopping, and then I did an hour on the trainer. I felt really crappy about skipping run group this morning, but a lot better after doing the workouts on my own tonight.

2450yd swim @ 1:51/100yd /
Crystal City 5k Fridays @ 7:25 (5k PR!)
I sucked at swimming this morning. I just didn't have any speed. On the bright side, my slow/crappy swim pace is now faster than what used to be my fast pace.

After work I took the Metro over to Crystal City for the 3rd 5k Friday! I hadn't raced a 5k in almost 2 years and had been playing with the idea of running one this spring when I found out about this series. I wasn't sure which dates, if any, I'd be able to make, but when I read Courtney's recap of last Friday's 5k, I realized I could make it this Friday and I signed up. My main goal was to PR (23:46), which I thought I was probably capable of but not sure since I've been focusing on distance since that last 5k 2 years ago, and haven't done any speedwork in 6+ weeks. My reach goal was to break 23 minutes.

This race series is fairly low key, so there were no corrals at the start (now that I think about it - are there usually corrals for a 5k?) I probably should have started closer to the front given my goals, but I ended up next to a guy running with his ~7 year old granddaughter, and a girl who almost ripped her timing chip off her bib because she didn't know what it was for, if that tells you anything about my placement at the start. But since I'm not a serious runner I felt too self-conscious about trying to move any farther forward, so I figured I'd just start with the pack and deal with getting out of it as quickly as possible.

That turned out to be...a horrible strategy, as was every strategy (or lack thereof) that I had this race. There were a few turns in the first quarter mile and we ran in some narrow arrows, so it was really hard to break through the pack. In hindsight, I think I wasted a ton of energy trying to get around people and, when I finally was able to start running normally about half a mile in, to make up for lost time. My first mile came in at 7:25 and, given the amount of starting and stopping and bobbing and weaving I did at the start, I have to believe I was running close to a 7:00-minute mile when I finally broke free, which felt very fast (too fast). I already felt like death after the first mile and knew that for such a short race, I was in for a long two miles ahead. My stomach was also cramping and the 80* temperature was starting to get to me. I seriously considered slowing down to walk and throwing in the towel on my PR attempt, and the only reason I didn't was because I would have been so embarrassed!

The course is flat but there are some gentle inclines and declines, and I think the second mile had more declines because it did feel a little easier. But for whatever reason my body still kept speeding up to a pace that I knew wasn't sustainable, and I was still hardcore riding the struggle bus. There was a water stop just before the mile 2 marker, and as I approached it I wanted so badly to stop, but my pride wouldn't let me do it. I ran past it until I go to the last volunteer and just couldn't take it anymore and, for the first time ever, maybe, I walked a water stop in a 5k. I walked a water stop. In a 5k. And my second mile still somehow came in at 7:19. I'm not bragging, I'm just seriously in disbelief that that's possible.

Everything hurt and I felt like I was dying, and I wish I could say I sucked it up and got myself to the finish, but I didn't. A couple minutes after that water stop I walked again for like 10 seconds to get my heart rate back down (seriously, I could not get my body to slow down and my heart rate just kept shooting up), and then I walked again for about 20 seconds to text Ben to tell him that I was hurting and giving up. I really felt like I had given up at that point, and was prepared to death march to the finish and hang my head in defeat. Given my too-fast first 2 miles I could still finish in a totally respectable time, or a pretty good time, maybe even close to my PR, but I didn't think I had it in me to keep it up for a PR time. During the last mile I just focused on getting myself to slow down enough so my heart rate wasn't out of control and I wouldn't need to walk yet again. Things finally started to click with about half a mile left to go, and I just focused on getting to the finish. When I finally did finish I felt so awful I really thought I might puke - it was really one of the worst races I've ever run!

I was shocked when I stopped my watch at the finish line and saw that my time was 23:05! I really didn't even think I was going to beat my PR, and I was really surprised to have beaten it by ~40 seconds (I didn't even look up my PR time beforehand, but I thought it was in the 23:30s - it was actually 23:47). My official time later was 23:02, which I was simultaneously proud of, shocked by,  and bummed that I was so close to breaking 23 minutes! I don't know if I just forgot how to pace in a 5k, or if I got too caught up in trying to get through the crowd at the beginning, but I didn't run this race well at all. While I'm proud of my time, it never feels good to me to race like crap, no matter what the time clock says! I do hope to get under 23 minutes next time, whenever that is, but I hope to do it in a much more controlled and intentional fashion than I did this time. Regardless of how poorly I paced, I think my finish photo at least showed that I worked hard for this one!

1.22 mile run @ 9:23
No long run today. I knew it would be tough with the race last night and my plans today, which included counting cars at a project site for work and driving down to the mountains for my bike ride tomorrow. The race really took it out of me and my legs were tired, plus I biked about 4 miles, all uphill, to the highest part of DC and walked a couple miles in cold rain around the site for work. I attempted to go for a 6ish mile run when I got home, but after a mile I realized I was being stupid and that I was in danger of not having any legs left for the bike ride. I went home and did a much-needed and long overdue hour of yin yoga instead. I can't remember the last time I didn't do a long run as planned, and it felt weird that my longest run this week wasn't even 5 miles, but I just had to listen to my body and be smart. 

24.37 mile bike @ 12.9mph
I have only ever ridden in the mountains once, but I stupidly signed up for a mountainous 104-mile ride at the end of May and this was my first real practice ride! I've been riding on hills but nothing quite like this. I ended up with my highest elevation gain ever at 3000 feet, topping the record I set just last week (2100 feet), even though this ride was almost 45 miles shorter than last week. That's a lot of climing. It was so so beautiful I almost didn't mind the climbing, and the descents were so much fun! It was going well until I broke my rear derailer just before mile 25. Luckily my IMNC coach was riding with us, with his wife following along as support, so I was able to hop into the RV with her while the others finished the rest of the 60 miles we had planned to do. I'm pretty bummed about not getting to finish (and of course about having to spend money to fix my bike)and kind of freaking out that I won't be ready for Mountains of Misery, but I hope I can get back out to try again soon. It was such a treat and those two hours out in the mountain air completely renewed my sense of adventure.

Weekly Mileage
Swim: 2450 yds (1.4 miles)
Bike:  41 miles + 53 minutes spin
Run:  15.7 miles

2017 Miles
Swim: 16.6 miles
Bike: 346.2 miles + 13.3 hours spin
Run: 451.1 miles

Coming up next this week:
My main focus this week is to get back to a normal routine - no run streaking, no races, etc. Although my training volume and intensity have mostly been where they need to be the past several weeks, but something has felt off and I want to regain control of my training this week. I only have a couple weeks left of pushing hard before race day, and I really want to make the most out of these next two weeks. This week I am committed to actually getting in the pool for a second swim during the week (which I haven't managed to do yet this training cycle and I'm running out of time), and finding the time to take an easy run for myself. I have no idea what my bike situation is going to be this weekend and when or where I'm going to ride, but I'm trying not to stress about it - worst case scenario I'll be riding some virtual mountains on Zwift in my living room!

Linking up with Courtney at Eat, Pray, Run DC!


  1. Congrats on your 5K PR! I set a 5K PR the same way one time... went out too fast, ended up having to walk a bit a few times, and was just way off. It's funny how that happens. I love that you got a picture of you at the finish line making sure to stop your watch! :)

  2. Congrats again on the PR! They run a similar 5K in July called the Crystal City Twighlight 5K, but I stick to spectating. It is hot haha. I also prefer solo running, I get exhausted when I'm with a group (even if I am just listening :)

  3. Ugh, sorry to hear about your bike. My husband stresses bike maintenance and I"m all like "it's fine". Oops!

  4. Girl. I hear you on the 5k train of death. The struggle is SO real! But you did PR, so there's that :) 5ks are so so hard to pace and once you blow it out on the first mile, it's really hard to fix. Hope you are having a great week!

  5. Well, congrats on your 5K PR, even if it wasn't perhaps the race you hoped it would be in terms of how you felt. I absolutely loathe short races for that reason. I always try too hard and usually feel like death when I finish. I much prefer longer races where I (generally) can pace myself somewhat well and not think I'm going to collapse at the end!