We are officially in the single digit weeks counting down to Ironman Florida. 9 weeks! That means 6 weeks until the taper. Some days that sounds like no time at all and other days it feels like it might as well be years away!
I had a great week of training, although my long brick on Saturday did test my mental fortitude. I did 5 hours on the bike, which was just over 90 miles, followed by a 45 minute, 5 mile run.
I have discovered that after about 85 miles on the bike I start to get uncomfortable. I shift around more, my feet start to hurt and I start to get the itch to get off the bike. I am sure it is because I have been consistently riding 75ish miles so my body has adapted to that distance. I have no issues at all running off the bike after a 75 mile ride, but Saturday after 90 miles, my legs (calves especially) felt heavy and tight. I noticed the same thing after the Katy Flatlands Century.
What I am trying to determine now is:
1. Am I pushing too hard on the bike for these longer rides (18 mph avg)? My 75 mile rides are at the same pace and I do not have the tightness in my calves on my runs.
2. Will my body adjust over the next 6 weeks as I ride 90 - 112 miles each week, followed by a run? Is it a matter of gradual adaptation?
3. My bricks are usually done at my stand alone marathon pace, not my anticipated IM marathon pace. Would running slower feel better? It didn't seem like it would ...
The good news was that even though the run was tough, I was able to mentally get myself through it. I did a 2.5 mile out and back and I broke the run up by section and reminded myself that the tightness would pass, and it sort of started to. When doubts started to creep in my mind (like how in the heck am I going to run 26 miles feeling like this???), I pushed them out and tried to focus on positive thoughts. I also reminded myself that this workout came at the end of a big training week. My body was not rested, properly pre-ride hydrated or tapered. My training partner reminds me all of the time that these workouts are supposed to be hard and the race itself is dessert!
I am riding the Tour De Pink Century (raises money for breast cancer) next weekend, followed by the Redman Full Aquabike the following weekend. I really want to use Redman to practice pacing and nutrition, trying to nail down the right pacing combination to ensure my legs feel good enough to run the marathon. I will have 4 weeks after Redman to dial in my race pace.
Mileage for Week Ending 9/6/09
Swim: 8450 yards in 3:00 [2 workouts]
Bike: 145.6 miles in 8:15 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Run: 39.9 miles in 6:01 [5 workouts, 2 bricks]
Total Time: 17:16