Ironman Louisville Training: Week 4

This week I really started to feel the cumulative fatigue of training. Even though it was a stepback week, I still had 9.5 hours worth of workouts and it definitely wasn't easy. I also traveled home for the weekend, which is always nice, and got in a lot of training there, but it was a busy weekend that left me completely worn out.

I was a little frustrated this week that I just don't seem to be acclimating to summer running. I feel like I'm at least somewhat there mentally, meaning I haven't been spending my entire run cursing at the sun like I usually do during the summer, but my body just can't hang. Usually it's my brain that I have to convince to run through the heat, but this year my body is the thing that won't get on board, which is frustrating. 

Maybe This Time

I had a lot of anxiety in the week or so leading up to officially starting my training for Ironman Louisville, and it surprised me. Maybe it shouldn't have, since anxious is pretty much my natural state, but it did. This wasn't a new experience, going off into uncharted territory; I've done this song and dance before - maybe not the full race, but the full training cycle. And then I realized that it was those two simple facts causing my heart rate to spike in the middle of the day just thinking about giving this another shot, since my Ironman experience thus far can be boiled down to these two points:
  • I have completed a full Ironman training cycle before, which should be confidence-boosting, was the hardest thing I have ever done. Ironman training moved me to tears and brought me to my knees like no other experience - training or otherwise - ever has. I have tried to find the words to explain why or how it was the hardest thing I have ever done, but all I can come up with is it was. the hardest thing. I have EVER. done. It was so physically and mentally draining that by the end of it I didn't even know who I was anymore or what I was doing or why. I have never had a training cycle rock me to my core like that. And was it worth it? Well...
  • I didn't get to do the full race. I trained, I shirked nearly all responsibilities that weren't absolutely essential, I sweat, I bled, I cried on way too many occasions, and when it came down to race day, I only got to complete 84.6 of the 140.6 miles I had sacrificed so much for. I am absolutely terrified that that's going to happen again. I try not to think about it, but deep down I know it's a possibility, because I've lived it, and I just don't know if or how I can handle that happening again.  

Ironman Louisville Training: Week 3

This week in my training plan was labeled, "Hard," and it was made even harder by some non-training stuff I had going on. Work has been really busy, we had a company outing one night, and Ben/Ironmate extraordinaire, who picks up essentially all the household chores when I'm in training mode, was out of town this week.

Another reason it was hard is that, because I started this training cycle with a much stronger base than last time, I'm doing more in these early weeks than I did before. It was a tough week but I just had to press on however I could - that's what Ironman is all about!

This week wasn't perfect, but I had more good days than bad days. And for most of it I felt strong, like for the first time I felt like I really had done an Ironman before (or at least trained for one), and like all of my hard work this spring was finally paying off. I know I'm not yet as strong as I'll be at the end of training, but I remembered that strength I felt in the month before race day and felt it starting to come back. I know it's going to take a lot of hard work over the next few months, but I'm ready and excited to be stronger than ever.

Ironman Louisville Training: Week 2

I knew the excitement of the first week of training wouldn't last, but it was still disappointing when it died down this week! One thing I am really trying to focus on this training cycle is managing my time and making my workouts as time-efficient as possible, so this week I tried my hand at run and bike commuting home from work! Both went really well and I'm excited to have opened this new door of training.

I had a decent week this week, but my weekend workouts were a struggle. There was a chance I was going to be able to go home and train again this weekend, and I was kind of hoping and betting on that, and when it didn't happen I was pretty bummed. There's just nothing like training at home with my tri family. Summer also abruptly arrived in DC this week, which made my long run and ride that much harder. I was in a bit of a funk over all of that this weekend, but I finished out the week feeling better and more confident. I'm already way ahead of where I was at this point of training last year - I just need to keep working over the next 4 months.

Mountains of Misery Challenge Century Recap

I went to sleep the night before this ride absolutely terrified. For the first time I truly felt like I was in over my head and had no idea what I was in for. I've never felt so unprepared or out of my league before a race. Technically this is a ride, not a race (although it is timed), and my friend Tracy (yes we have the same name and yes it's confusing) and I definitely treated it as the former and not the latter. We started with a group of 8 or 9 others and quickly got separated from them in the first mile. We were able to catch back up and ride in a group of 4 or 5 for a while, but Tracy and I eventually got separated from them too. Although we inadvertently joined a few different groups of people throughout the ride, Tracy and I stuck together the entire time (meaning he hung back for me, which I most definitely appreciated).

Ironman Louisville Training: Week 1

Ironman Louisville training time is finally here! I registered in November and after Shamrock, Kinetic, and Mountains of Misery this spring, it's finally the focus of my calendar and my training. Given how things went last year, over the past few weeks I've been having a lot of feelings about doing this again. And when I say that, I don't even know if I mean the training, which was hard and flipped my world upside down in a way I never saw coming but was also one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had, or the devastation of the race being shortened after all those months of intense preparation and sacrifice, not only mine but that if everyone around me who, at least in some small way, had to accommodate this huge presence that suddenly barged into my life. I tend to emotionally scar very easily and the idea that this could all be for naught, AGAIN, is a little much for me to handle.

Despite those worries, now that it's started, I feel the weight lifting a little bit. I had a pretty great first week of training and I feel a little lighter and a little clearer, a little more excited and a little more hopeful. It feels different this time - good different. I feel way ahead of the curve compared to last year, for a lot of reasons, I think, and overall just...better. I did miss one bike ride, but I did get in an extra swim, plus I'm so giddy about how the week went overall that I don't even care. I'm back, baby!