After taking 1 week completely off of training to recover from Rev3 Cedar Point in Ohio I got back into the swing of things last week. It was a decent first week back. Last year I took 2 weeks off after Ironman Wisconsin before resuming. This year I knew I didn't need 2 weeks off since the 8 weeks leading into Rev3 were not a lot of training. I felt like I was getting in better shape each week leading into Ohio where last year I felt like I was just barely hanging on by the time I got to IM Wisconsin. The 2 week break was needed last year but not so much this year. I felt pretty decent. Early in the week I could tell I still had some lingering tightness in my hamstrings. For the week I ran 40 miles, biked 190 miles, and swam only 5,500 yards. I also got back to the little things I think make a big difference in my training like weight lifting, lunges, plyometrics, core work, pull-ups (I added this one because Jen got a pull-up bar for the basement and has been doing these regularly and I don't want my wife to be able to do more pull-ups than I can do), speed drills, strides, and push-ups. Where I was most disappointed was with my swimming and my eating. I planned to begin eating clean because I know I need to get leaner than my current state if I want to break 9 hours in Arizona. In my week off I gained 9 lbs. and weighed in at 171. I lost 5 lbs. in the first few days probably mostly water weight but ended the week at 164 which was still higher than what I was for Rev3 by 2 lbs. I need to get more focused with what I'm eating. I also know I need to make myself get to the pool. I've been angry about my swimming since Racine and I've avoided the pool too often. I need to put that behind me and get back to swimming more. I realize that the swim is the shortest portion but the field in Arizona will no doubt be huge for the pro race and it could make my race if I can exit the water with a good rider or 2. This is a bike course I went 4 hrs. 45 minutes on last year and I believe I can go under 4:40...maybe faster if I have the right riders around me.
My toughest workout of the week was on Sunday when I ran the Quad Cities 1/2 Marathon with my wife Jen. Jen had picked this race as her peak race of the year. Last year she ran 1:21:58. This year she was hoping to go under 1 hr. 20 minutes. I knew she was capable of this after running a 10 mile race in 60:30 a few weeks back when she finished 1st overall ahead of all the guys in the race in Orion, IL. I didn't know how my body would handle a LONG tempo run only 2 weeks post Ironman. We began at a comfortable pace and went through the mile in 6:10. We then started cutting the pace down and she went through the 10k mark at a 6:03 average. We were running the miles after that in the 5:50 range. My hamstrings were not feeling very good...they were extremely tight and I could tell I was still not at 100%. On paper the field in the women's race for the 1/2 was loaded. The QC Marathon does a tremendous job taking care of elites. They even paid for flights of some of the 1/2 marathon runners despite that not being the marquee race of the event. One gal from Kenya had a 1/2 marathon PR of 1 hr. 10 minutes. Another listed was from Uganda as well as a few domestic elites. Jen was just hoping to run fast and not worry about the place. At the 10 mile mark she was in 2nd place with a chance to crush her PR. She began to fade a little in the final 2 miles but held on a for a tremendous time of 1 hr. 19 minutes, 15 seconds. She finished 2nd and earned 300.00 for that place and a bonus 100.00 for finishing as the top local. I never expected it but I also was the top local guy which means Jen beat all the local guys so I also got 100.00. We donated all 500.00 to her younger sister's wedding fund which is coming up in May. She finished with an average pace of 6:03/mile so actually held solid the second half of the race.
I know the importance of sleep in performance. There are countless studies out about the value of sleep and I believe all of them. Despite this getting adequate sleep is still my toughest challenge. It's extremely difficult for me to average even 7.5 hours of sleep/night when I'm working full-time, fathering 2 children, and trying to train 20-25 hours a week. Almost all of my bike miles this time of year come on the trainer after the kids are in bed. That means I often don't get on the bike until 9:00 at night. I may ride until 10:30 and by the time I'm done stretching, showering, doing core...etc. it's often 11:30 by the time I get to sleep. I am up at 6:00 and if I ride 30 minutes in the AM before school I'm up at 5:25. Doing the math this is not good. I don't know why but last year in the lead in to Arizona I was training like crazy and sleeping about 6 hours a night. It never seemed to phase me. I should have been tired but my motivation trumped my lack of sleep and it never seemed to affect my training or performance like it should have. This year has been more difficult. I can tell when I'm tired that I make poor decisions in terms of nutrition and my motivation to train is much less. My swimming is absolutely terrible when I'm tired...not sure why it seems to affect my swimming more than my running and biking. On Monday night I went to bed when the kids did and skipped my evening ride. I slept from 7:30 to 6:10 the next morning and I felt incredible on Tuesday in all my workouts. The sacrifice however was only 1 hour of training on Monday compared to my usual 3. I also ate healthy and didn't have the cravings for junk food that I have when I'm tired. I need to get this problem nailed down so I can have more days like Tuesday without sacrificing training but this is the toughest challenge I face in terms of balancing all of this. I'm excited to keep building for the next 6.5 weeks before I rest up for the last 10 days prior to IMAZ in hopes of breaking 9 hours. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!