It's hard for me to believe I'm now only 20 days until my last race of 2013. This was the 5th week of a designed 6 week intense block of training before I will back off and taper for the final 12 days. During this block I took an extreme risk by breaking every rule in the book of increasing run mileage. For the week I ran 66 miles, biked 255 miles, and swam 10,000 yards. In addition I attended class at Barre563 twice for my strength training and did core work, plyometrics, jump rope, push-ups, pull-ups, and lunges. The typical rule of increasing mileage is never to increase more than 10% in a given week. Well, after missing the greater part of 5 weeks in the middle of the summer with a back injury I had a few weeks of around 30 miles before I began this 6 week block of Ironman training. Through the first 5 weeks I am averaging over 62 miles/week running. I have run more over the past 5 weeks than I did in the previous 17 weeks combined! It was a big risk but one that I luckily have survived not only feeling healthy but feeling stronger than ever. I do think a big reason I have stayed away from injury is due to how much strength I have gained attending classes at Barre563. I am going on 3 months now and this workout has been something my training dearly missed and it is something I'm very thankful I found. It made me realize that my best racing is ahead of me...not behind as I once thought. This year has been less total volume than any of the last three. For the most part, all year I stayed away from the high volume until the last 5 weeks. Life has gotten more busy as the kids get older and get involved in more activities and I stopped planning weekends around training until the recent block began. It's hard to take shortcuts to do well in an Ironman, however I believe the most important training is not until the last 2 months. So many people worry about missing workouts during Ironman training even 6 months before the race. Although building a base is important and missing workouts consistently wouldn't be good I have learned that getting to the last 2 months healthy and with a decent base is all you need before really putting in the time necessary to do the best you can. After Ironman Arizona last November I didn't run, swim, or bike for over 10 weeks. Getting out of shape, gaining weight, and taking a mental break is what I believe has helped put me in the position I am now just 20 days from my only Ironman distance race of the year. All of last year and the end of 2011 I dealt with a piriformus (butt/hamstring area) injury that hindered my training and racing. It never caused me to miss a race but after a hard workout or a race of any distance I had difficulty straightening my leg out. I always had to see Dr. Kaminski ASAP to get it functioning properly again. This year I have had no issue and I believe it was due to the 10 weeks off following last season. I only took 4 weeks off between the 2011 and 2012 season and that was not enough time to properly heal it completely.
I opted not to do a long bike ride this week. The past 3 weekends I've had a day over 100 miles. I knew the forecast was not good Saturday so I chose to ride 38 miles up to Clinton to watch a high school cross country meet and later added 93 minutes on the trainer. On Thursday I went to Lake G and swam 5,400 yards straight in my Xterra Vendetta sleeveless suit. I felt great. That was my longest open water swim in time and distance ever. I never even had to stop to clean my goggles as I think I found the formula for keeping them free of fog. Until Sunday I had not gone to the pool in almost 4 weeks. Every swim I've done has been at the local lake they call Lake G. The water has been great with temperatures at about 70 degrees. While I was swimming on Thursday I made my way through fresh crisp leaves that had fallen off the trees into the lake. I'm guessing with the big drop in temperatures today the lake will be cooler. I'm still planning to stay out there until the lake is under 60 degrees. I love swimming in cold water and getting into the 86 degree pool at the Fitness Center today reminded me how awesome the lake is. I will switch to my full suit if the water is under 60 degrees and I may have to go double caps on my head but I will stay in the lake as late as I can leading to this race.
Sunday morning was my last really long run before Beach 2 Battleship. It was absolutely perfect out with temperatures in the mid-40's and very little wind. I ran the first 4 miles alone and then the next 9 with Corey Towle before continuing on the rest of the way through 20 miles. I started off really slow running about 7:15 pace but the pace began to drop when I met up with Corey and by the time I was done my average pace was down to 6:38 and it never felt hard. I really gained a lot of confidence knowing I was ready to run about a 2:52:00 marathon in a training run had I continued on for 6.2 miles. I recovered very quickly which I said last week may be one of my greatest talents. Later in the day I ran 4 miles while Owen rode his bike and my legs didn't feel like I had even run this morning let alone 20 miles at a 6:38 pace. I also swam right after the morning 20 miler and later in the evening rode the bike for 2 hours to complete a big training day. My total workout time was just over 26 hours and I did that in 6 days of training. Tuesday was a complete day off. This was my first day off in the 6 week training block. I could tell all day at school I was really tired and my motivation to train was lacking. When I'm tired like that I also crave bad foods. I went to bed at 7:00 with the kids and didn't wake up for 11 hours. It left me energized and ready to go the rest of the week. I weighed in this weekend at 153 which was 2 more lbs. down from last week. I weighed 170 when Jen and I came back from Jamaica in mid-July and I began working out at Barre563. I'm going to get my body fat % tested before I begin my taper. One of my goals for this race was to have my body fat % at or below 8%. I was 15% the last time I tested which was all the way back in April. My bike mileage through the first 5 weeks of this Ironman block is an average of 246 miles. Things are going better than I ever could have dreamed of for this race. God has answered my prayers by keeping me healthy, motivated, and strong. If there are no mechanical problems on the bike and no tropical storms on the east coast that would cause this race to get cancelled I'm going to break 9 hours. I can't wait! Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!