Is the Cost of Ironman Worth It?

Bikes at IM Frankfurt. That's a lot of money right there. Rupert Ganzer/Flickr
Bikes at IM Frankfurt. That’s a lot of money right there. Rupert Ganzer/Flickr

$650 is a lot of money. It’s particularly a lot of money to sign up for one race. But, that’s how much an Ironman costs. Even the non-Ironman brand Iron-distance races cost $400-500. And, since races are filling up and private equity companies are getting into the business, clearly people are willing to pay. So, is it worth it?

There is plenty on the internet written breaking down by line item how much doing an Ironman costs — “x” amount for a bike, “y” for a wetsuit — but if you already do triathlon and don’t plan on Ironman being a one-off thing then those calculations are a little wasted. They also can get silly when people start adding gym memberships and food to their budgets. You possibly might go to the gym and eat even if you weren’t doing an Ironman.

Obviously there’s no question that you spend tons of time and money training, traveling, and competing in an Ironman. A fascinating story in the local Whistler paper about the business of IM Canada said that the average competitor spends between $7,300 and $26,500 doing the race. (Those numbers seem high to me, or else I must have done something wrong in my training/prep/race. But still.)

For all that it’d be easy to rag on Ironman for being so expensive and raking in the profit, the thing is it’s not cheap to put on these events. IM Canada took over Whistler ski village for a week with the finish area/expo/registration/awards. They shut down 50 miles of the highway for us to bike on, closed off the paths and side roads for the run, and blocked off the beach at the lake so we could swim. That costs money. It all came with police and officers to make sure you didn’t get hit by cars either. There was a large transition area at the beach and one in the village by the finish. The shuttle took people back and forth from those places. There were aid stations every 20 kilometers on the bike, including one where you could pick up your special needs bags sorted by number. There were medical crews out there and technical support. On the run, the infrastructure was even more intense. Every mile there was a fully stocked aid station, usually a few hundred meters long. All of this was staffed, even if the majority of it was unpaid staff. Think about the logistics and manpower there. Thousands of people making sure you have whatever you need to do an Ironman. And, of course there were crazy crowds cheering and yelling your name, urged and supported by a whole other set of Ironman staff. The race director for Western States once told me that if runners really paid the cost of what it takes to put on that particular point-to-point run the price would be closer to $800, not the $370 it is. People vastly underestimate the real price of these kinds of massive long-distance events. And, no one would put them on in a meaningful fashion if they couldn’t make money too.

For all that I don’t love Ironman or the World Triathlon Corporation, they know how to put on one of these. Yes, there were problems in the past with some of their franchised races. And, yes, my experience at the Ironman distance is limited to Canada, which is one of their oldest and premier events, even if it’s had a lot of changes recently. But, you pay Ironman more because you know that they won’t send you off course, they won’t run out of water or food, they’ll have enough staff to control cars and traffic, there’ll be medical doctors when you need them. You pay because it will run smoothly. That can’t always be said of every small race organizers.

You also pay for perks. Ironman knows that their races cost a lot of money, so they want you to feel like you get your money’s worth. At Canada, we got a fancy backpack with goodies: a poster, race program, t-shirt, coupons for a free meal at one of the local restaurants. There were samples and drinks and food to load up on. During the race, the live stream was projected on a huge monitor in the village so people could watch or track their athletes. There was a beer garden and food after you finished and got your medal — if you could swallow any of it. The morning after, they played a video montage of the race on that huge projector (which some poor intern must have stayed up overnight finishing) and served everyone breakfast sandwiches and coffee. And, of course, you could buy more stuff!

Ironman swag
Ironman swag

So, is the $650 worth it? Yes. If you want to do an Ironman, then you 100% get what you pay for. (And they’re even making some changes so you might not lose all your money if you sign up and then can’t do the race later.) But, would I pay Ironman again? Probably not. Because if your dollars are the method by which you make your opinion heard, then there are plenty of other things to consider besides getting your money’s worth. I have a hard time supporting some of the decisions the company is making and the direction they’re heading in. Unless I really want to take a shot at Kona — which is a whole other thing your money pays Ironman for: the dream of Kona — and I get at least 45 minutes faster, I’d probably give my money to Rev3 or Challenge instead. It’d be worth it.

Workouts After Ironman

Here’s what I have done in the last two weeks:

– two 40′ easy swims — both of which felt exhausting
– commuted on bike four times 30-40′ in regular clothes
– ran just under 5 miles not super slow, but not hard

My understanding is that’s how post-Ironman workouts are supposed to be: minimal, easy, and stress-free. This has been exacerbated by the fact that I’m in my all-day intensive class nine hours every day with outside projects and homework too, so it hasn’t been hard not to work. It has, however, been hard to sleep enough for real recovery.

The only thing that’s throwing me is trying to start doing easy swims and runs has felt Terrible, just awful. Since I just decided to do Big Kahuna half in five weeks, I’m hoping the legs and arms slowly come around. They will, right?

Race Report: Ironman Canada

I know no one cares about me doing Ironman Canada anymore. It was six whole days ago! I’ve moved to LA since then! I started a Masters fellowship program!

But, it was a big race for me and before Ironman I always wondered what people thought during Ironman. Well, it turns out mostly you think: ‘keep on keeping on’ and ‘this sucks, this is the worst.’ So, here’s how it went down.

The short version is here.

Long version:

The days before were wrapped up in questions and logistics and dropping things off and eating and laying out bags and errands and logistics. I asked pretty much everyone I saw questions: How choppy is the water usually? What kind of swim start is it? Do you stop to get your Special Needs bag on the bike? How do I run through this transition – what’s the layout? But, once it was race day, it was just a race day like any other.

I think they changed the swim start, because it wasn’t how anyone said it would be. It was an in-water start, which is The Worst and I was freaking out about how much that’d suck, but it was actually fine. You could start anywhere between the shore and the first buoy, so everyone was all stretched out across an invisible line in the water. I had a great spot, but then people started crowding in and inching forward past the invisible line and suddenly the cannon went off. (Even though they’d been announcing a countdown every few minutes, they stopped with about four minutes to go, so the start was a surprise.) The swim was rough and stressful for 100m or so, but that’s not bad.

After about 15′ of normal swimming I started dry-heaving underwater, which I thought only happened in saltwater but seems to happen in lakes now too. When that happens it usually makes for a rough day, so I was worried the whole day was going to be shot 15′ in. I slowed down a bit, burped underwater some to sort out my stomach, rolled a bit more onto my side to get bigger breaths (since it appeared I was swallowing a decent amount of water and having a hard time catching my breath), and it sort of settled.

The swim was great. I just kept swimming along, thinking about my arm position, and hit the first lap in just under 30′. I was so ecstatic. Everything is going great, right on goal! Keeping up the steady strong pace, I started to catch some people on the second lap. I’d swim next to someone for a bit, then drop them and move up. Towards the end, I felt slow and awful and shitty, but I was still moving along and knew I was going to have a great swim time, so Ironman Lesson #1: Even if you feel awful, you may be doing great.

I came out of the water in 1:01– after definitely NOT picking it up in the last 100-200m from the start buoy to the shore, when everyone else dropped me. This was about five minutes faster than I thought I’d swim and I was pretty confident it was a good sign for the whole day. You could not have convinced me at that point that I wasn’t going to go 10:40 for the race, based solely on my swim.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 4.08.34 PM

 

A note on transitions: I have no idea how people spend seven or eight minutes in transition. I felt like I took my fucking time. I stopped in the sunscreen station to get them to put sunscreen on my shoulders. I stuffed food in my pockets. I took my own wetsuit off (because wetsuit strippers confuse me). And it all only took 2:40. I don’t know that I’m ever going to lose my Olympic-distance-style transitions.

Once I was on the bike, I almost immediately started getting passed. I had, somehow, decided I was going to hold 140 Watts on the bike — based on my zones and what I’d thought it’d take to go 5:50 or so on this insanely hilly course. But, that plan meant keeping it under control at the beginning and then trying to hold the hell on at the end.

While I was keeping  it “under control,” I got passed by hundreds of people, maybe thousands. The bike started out rolling and then, after 45′ or so, we turned straight up a ski resort. The climb was steady and I let my watts rise a bit but not too high. I ate and ate and drank and drank. But, I didn’t feel great and it was getting discouraging getting passed by the entire field. After descending — which would have been fast and fun without other people on the road, but was sketchy with so many athletes riding poorly in their aerobars — we headed back the way we’d come. I stopped to pee about two hours in and kept telling myself I was totally on pace, doing fine, and I was not allow to worry about any other athlete until the second half of the run. (NOT THAT THAT ENDED UP BEING A PROBLEM.)

My stomach was still not feeling great and I was burping and having a hard time catching my breath, especially at the top of the ski resort. Maybe the elevation was worse than I thought. Maybe the fact that my stomach was bothering me last week was just unfortunate timing. Around halfway, I threw up a little on the top of my bike — which was a nice surprise for the volunteer who grabbed my bike at the end. After that, I had to switch to just gels and whatever I could keep down. I threw up, but really just water, one more time later and stopped to pee one more time.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 4.08.20 PM

Here’s what I ate. I actually think it was a good amount of calories and drink and everything, so no, I don’t know why my stomach sucked:

– Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Clif Bar
– Two Chocolate Chip Z-Bars
– A pack-and-a-half of margarita cliff shot blocks
– Four vanilla Clif gels
– One-and-a-half cookies (I modified my chocolate-chip cookies to include some protein and slightly more salt and less butter, so it was basically a tasty bar, but it was a little dry)
– Three bottles of Gu2O, one-and-a-half bottles of Perform from the aid stations
– Two-and-a-half bottles of water

(It got a bit hard to count bottles because you were grabbing and tossing and dumping, but I think that’s about right. My only real guess about everything, particularly since I got SO thirsty later, is that I require more water. I’ve noticed this in the past when I drink a lot of mix and less water.)

I just kept trudging along until the turnaround on the long flat out-and-back section. The turnaround came 15′ earlier than I expected and that was the most exciting event of the day. I did the math and was positive I was on pace for a 5:48. Yes!!! I, then, had one good hour. For one hour, I killed it. I passed people. I held my 140 Watts easily. All that was left was the last 40 kilometers back to town. This was going to be great! It would be no thing to do it in 10:45!

Then, I hit a bad spell. The worst and longest bad spell of the day.

After I stopped to pee the second time in Pemberton, all that was left was a bit of rolling and some gradual uphill back to Whistler. Or, at least, I thought it was a gradual uphill. Somehow when we went out to Pembertion on the highway, I missed the fact that we had gone down some long, steep hills. It was impossible to miss that we had to go up on the way back.

I was so thirsty, dying of thirst, but I couldn’t keep much down. It was hot and I was dripping and I could barely get my legs over the top of the pedals. How is this hill so steep? It has to end at the top, right? But, it just kept going. I thought it’d be fine to hold 140 Watts going back uphill, since going up tends to be easier on power numbers, but it was impossible. I was struggling so much. With 20 kilometers left, (which is about 100 miles in) I knew I wasn’t going to break six hours, even though that was the fastest 100 miles I’ve ever done. I got so discouraged. I went far, far into a hole. My legs were so dead. This was so long to be on your bike. I suck at biking, biking sucks, my legs suck. As it got more rolling and less steep, I tried to just stay tucked and aero, since my legs were giving out. All I wanted was to get off my bike, but all I didn’t want to do was to try to start running.

We had to go around and around at the end before finally pulling into T2 and I tried to pump myself up. Even though I was discouraged about riding a 6:08, I tried to remind myself that I knew there was a chance it’d take me six hours. It was 6,000 feet of elevation! This was a hard course. I could still go sub-11 hours if I ran a 3:45. The only problem was that now sounded impossible.

Again transition took me no time, even though I felt like I was moving so slow. My bone spur on my left toe was throbbing when I ran across the grass, so it’s good I took the time to put on regular running shoes — not triathlon shoes. But, as I headed out, I wanted to cry. I was overcome with the desire to start crying. The last thing I wanted to do now was run.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 4.06.27 PM

A few things kept me moving at the beginning:

– I was in 5th in my age group I thought (4th pretty soon after I passed someone towards the beginning). You don’t quit when you’re on the podium.
– I wasn’t running as slow as I felt like I was.
– Maybe things would come around.
– You never know what can happen.

The whole run was marked in kilometers — a sign every 5K. That allowed me to completely disassociate from the distance. I didn’t think about it. I only looked at how fast I ran each 5K. The first one wasn’t great, but wasn’t awful. The second was faster. The third was slower, but still not bad. Then, things got a bit blurry for awhile.

I was so thirsty. All I wanted to do was sit down in the shade and chug a gallon of ice water. That, however, was not a great idea for continuing to run. So, every aid station (and there were a lot of aid stations) I grabbed cups of water and Gatorade. I thought it’d pass, but it didn’t. Instead, I got cramps too. And, I was still thirsty. About an hour in, I started walking most of the aid stations, but made myself promise that meant I’d run between them. I felt slow and terrible, but I was moving, so even though I thought it’d be unlikely I’d meet my time goals, I just kept hoping I’d come around.

I hit the 20K — a marathon is 42K — on pace for a 3:52 or so. That’s fine, I thought. It’s not what I wanted, but it’s ok. Even if I slow down, and I will slow down, I’ll be right around 11 hours. That’s fine. It’s all fine. Just keep moving.

I had one good 5K and then things went dark for awhile. I never noticed everything going bad. I thought I was slowing down a little, but I was actually slowing down a lot. I walked twice outside the aid stations and made deals with myself. Otherwise, I kept shuffling. I figured that eventually I’d finish. (In reality, at the lowest point, I think I was running 9:30 pace when I was running and mostly I was running 8:50s or so, but if you walk every aid station every 2K then it adds some time.) The problem was that somewhere around 13K to go, I stopped caring. I didn’t consciously stop caring, but another girl passed me with a few miles to go — one of the people on the side yelled that I was struggling and she could catch me and I wanted to be like ‘no, no, I always look this awful’ — and I just thought: ugh, she’s running so fast. Ironman Lesson #27 or whatever we’re on: You can not lose focus; you have to keep consciously choosing to go as fast as you can at that point.

I think the fact that I simply couldn’t run more during training hurt me on those last nine miles. My body just wasn’t holding up to it. My legs hurt so, so much. The problems I have — my left foot (which may or may not need surgery eventually) and my left knee — hurt but they weren’t debilitating. Mostly, my body just fucking hurt. I trained a good amount. And, if I had tried to run more on my torn foot muscle or when my left knee and bone spur were acting up, then I would have been hurt before the race even started. So, I trained what I could, but I don’t think it was enough running.

Right up until the last mile, I genuinely thought I was going to run a 4:05 or so and come in around 11:15-20. Instead, I ran a 4:18. Oops.

And, then I was done. And, even though I had had almost no reaction to all the hundreds of people cheering the whole course — I was just too focused on moving forward — the end made me almost start to cry. I high-rived small children. I raised my arms over my head. And, then my head rolled back and I fell forward. You can’t quite see it, but this is basically as my knees buckled:

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 4.06.58 PM

So, yes. I biked about 15′ slower than I wanted and ran like 35′ slower. But, I also didn’t know if I’d be able to do it at all well or if my body would hold up with all the injuries and problems. This kind of thing is not my thing. Going hard for an hour is my thing.

I’m tempted now to try again. Just sign up for a race in a month and cash in all the fitness. Of course, that sounds awful, though. But I don’t know if my body could stand training harder and more for another one.

 

Ways Not to Recover from an Ironman

– Move to LA 16 hours after you get home from your race
– Start a graduate fellowship program immediately after moving (like without enough time to unpack your clothes)
– Have that program begin with an intensive, 9 hours/day, three week bootcamp
– Stop sleeping
– Become a coffee drinker

In case you were wondering, this is a recipe for feeling fantastic.

Ironman Canada: 11:32

kelly - im finish

In case you missed my twitter and my facebook and my general calling everyone I know: I did finish Ironman Canada at 6:32 p.m. on Sunday. But, man, that shit was long and hilly and rough.

Since I’m unpacking my bags, after getting home at midnight, and packing them back up to move to LA this evening to start my program at USC, this will be brief (for now).

My goal was sub-11 hours. My big goal was 10:45, which I thought would get me top two in my age group. (At least I was right about that.) I still fundamentally believe I can do that, but I also knew I had no idea what would happen after six hours. And I was right about that too. Sure, part of me is upset I was off my goal and I’m pretty annoyed with myself for switching out of race mode and into just-fucking-finish-the-damn-thing mode around 15 kilometers left in the run — since it was in Canada, I only think in kilometers now — but I went for it and I did really well for a long time and when it went badly I still kept it together enough (just enough). So, I guess it wasn’t too bad for my first one ever. But, no, I don’t know that there’ll be a second one.

Getting to the Ironman Start Line: A Series of Unfortunate Events

In case you want to know how most people would advise NOT to go into your first-ever Ironman, here are some tips:

First, you should definitely move to LA and start a fellowship program the day after you get back from doing the international race — and you should make it as logistically complicated as possible, so that you have to get everything done in the weeks before your Ironman. That will make prep easy and stress-free.

Then, you should work A LOT so that you have money once you move to LA. The extra work will help ensure that you don’t get overly rested and relaxed. You don’t want that.

About two weeks before your Ironman, when you decide to do a get-the-legs-moving race, it would be ideal if your car could break down on the way just to add some personal obstacles to overcome.

Then, once you pay $750 to have the alternator fixed in the car (even though the car has a limited lifespan since you crashed it back in January), it would help if you could have it fail smog check. Ideally, not because it actually has any emissions, but because the state changed the list of approved catalytic converters and your’s is no longer approved for this model of this car. While you’re arguing with the used car dealer you bought it from, you should drive it to a wedding just so on your way home the back tire can blow out on the freeway and start smoking. Nothing like learning to deal with adversity to get ready for triathlon.

You should also get pretty sick at the wedding, just to make sure you don’t overtrain. Call it a taper.

When you go to fix all those things in the car, try to make sure that the steel wire sticking out of the blown tire punctures your hand and you get a weird blood bruise across your palm. Get some oil in it while you’re trying to wipe up the the quart that spilled in the trunk during this. That’ll take your mind off the fact that your left knee has been hurting since the one long run you managed to do two weeks earlier.

If the car stalls while you’re driving to the airport it’ll just give you a chance to practice your powerful positive thinking and not crying. Think at the car ‘you can make it to the airport, come on, just do this’ over and over until you get there.

Once you’re at the airport for your flight to Seattle, try to wait until the last possible second to remember that you need a passport to drive from Seattle to Canada, since you didn’t need a passport the last three times you went to Canada. Have a small panic attack while trying to Google whether or not you’d be able to talk your way across the border. Walk around Seattle for a day, refreshing the FedEx tracking page to see when the passports will arrive and checking the Ironman schedule over and over as you worry if you’ll make it before check-in closes.

Once you finally arrive at your race, you’ll be so on edge and tired and relieved to have made it that you won’t even worry anymore about the bears, even when Steve runs right by one on the trail.

But, at least you’re there and ready to go.

I’m trying to remember that even though we arrived in Whistler 38 hours later than planned, it’s still the earliest I’ve ever showed up for a race. And, maybe I’ve gotten at least some of the shit going wrong out of my system. And, when more things go wrong (because they will), maybe I’ll be able to deal with it because I certainly know how to deal with things. Except for my left knee hurting still. That could be a problem.

I’m trying to just get the (GIANT) list of things done that need to be done before the start and rest the rest of the time and remember that I’m ready to go.

Because it is time to go. IM Canada starts at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning. I am #427. You can track me online or I’ll probably tweet and facebook when I’m done. Which will hopefully be sometime before midnight. I have some time goals, but they’re sort of general and I’m not really sure what’s going to happen. I actually don’t know what’s going to happen at all. One guy today tried to tell me that KFC chicken in my bike special needs bag is the secret. (Also smoking pot on the run?? He was full of advice.) Let’s hope he was not 100% right, because I think this is going to be hard enough without KFC and pot.

The two things I’m telling myself over and over are:

– You don’t have to move fast. You just have to keep moving.

AND

– Everyone else feels like shit too. (Unless they’re smoking pot, probably. But then they may not be following piece of advice #1 – keep moving.)

So, I will keep moving and it will feel awful and then I will be done. Ideally. And, none of this other stuff that happened before and sucked will matter. Because it doesn’t matter how you get to the start line as long as you get to the finish line too.

Bears in Whistler

Bears in Whistler
Bears in Whistler

In case you missed the memo, there are bears in Whistler. In fact, you can take bear sighting tours. (Which definitely sounds like something I will be skipping.) Sometimes they even come out during IM Canada. And, we all know how much I love bears and am not scared at all of pretty much everything in nature.

So, that’ll be fun.

Hopefully, I won’t have to use my mad bear skills.

That would be me on the bike, except screaming.
That would be me on the bike, except screaming.
Bears, they're just like us. They hate golf too.
Bears, they’re just like us. They hate golf too.

Ironman Training Week 30: July 14 – 20

Week 30 is really the last week of training (since this week is RACE WEEK!?!!). That makes just about seven-and-a-half months of training. It’d be hard to screw it all up in a week after more than seven months, but I’m definitely worried that’s what I’m doing. This past week was not ideal. Now I feel sluggish and antsy and tired and slow and fat and ready to be done with this already.

That’s pretty much how you should be feeling, but it’s a hard line to walk.

Monday

Rode about 12 miles to an appointment and back, since our car was still broken. Shit did not feel good. My knee’s been bothering me biking, so I tried to change my cleats, but that evidently just made everything worse.

Swam about 1,000 yards open water at the clinics I teach Monday night. By the time I got home, my left knee was really painful and swollen.

Tuesday

Like what the fuck is wrong with my knee. Couldn’t do anything.

Wednesday

Swam 2,800 yards at Masters. Then, some light yoga and rolling. Still resting my knee some.

Thursday

Rode 37 miles around the reservoir to test out the bike and the hydration system and fuel box. Since changing the cleats on my bike shoes was not productive, I put them back the way they were before. It mostly worked. My knee still hurt really bad a few times, but better. I felt pretty fast and strong, but my watts were insanely low in the end. So, who knows.

Friday

Swam 3,000 yards with a few hard 50s and then a whole lot of tempo 100s. I am not swimming amazing these days. But, I’m telling myself that it’s because I’ve lost speed and gained endurance. That’s what I’m telling myself.

Saturday

Ran something a bit under 5 miles on trails with some of the guys at the wedding.

Sunday

Trying to move from the bed to the car was enough of a workout.

TOTAL: 6:25

Not really as much training as I had intended or hoped to do. Hopefully, still enough.

Ironman Training Week 29: July 7 – 13

Ugh. UGH. UGHHHHHH!!!!!

I know how to taper. I’m actually quite good at it. It’s one of the few reasons I’m able to perform better than my training would suggest. But, this taper is killing me. It isn’t even really a taper. It’s been more like: exhausted, rest, rest, try to jump start and still get some training in because it’s not like the race is this weekend, feel a little hurt, rest more, worry, worry, worry.

I finally realized that the problem (or at least some of the problem) is that I can’t do my usual winging it with an Ironman. I have to actually have a plan and think things through in advance. There are a lot of small things that can go wrong in an Ironman — basically all the things — and there’s a pretty good chance some of them will. So, you have to try and minimize those things, because fuck, it is going to suck if something small turns into something big after 10 hours and ruins all this work. That means I’ve mostly been stressing about things I usually wouldn’t bother to think about.

Not racing Sunday also means I didn’t burn any matches or whatever your metaphor of choice is. I’m wired now and edgy and ready to go, but also feeling fat and stupid. Oh, and my left knee swelled up last night. It hurts to bend right now, so I’m back to putting all my faith in ice and Flector patches. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday

Biked 12.5 miles on the TT with one set of 1′ at 190W, 3′ at 170W, 5′ at 140W, short rest, then some hard one minute efforts to try it open up the legs.

Light core work, PT, and yoga when I got home.

Tuesday

Ran 2:40 (which I think was around 19 miles on trails). Yes, this was my longest run and I actually intended it to be longer, but I covered the ground faster than I thought? Maybe. Or, I did bad math. My long runs do not feel good. I last about 1:30 and then my left leg starts to hurt. My left leg is going to be my un-doing. The terrible bone spur that got irritated almost over a year ago has just gotten bigger. Sometimes it hurts; sometimes it doesn’t. But, I’m subconsciously running on the outside egde of that foot to ease the issues. And, I’ve always had problems with my left hamstring/IT band/ankle. So, will my left leg make it through a marathon? Who knows.

Wednesday

Swam 2,800 yards, including a 1,000 yards for time — which was 42 seconds slower than last time, but I may have done an extra 50 yards. Who knows.

Thursday

Fuck, I was tired. My sister left around noon, after visiting for three days, and I took a nap.

Friday

Biked 43 miles on the TT around Pt. Reyes with 3 x 10′ at Ironman pace. It felt ok, but my left knee was hurting a lot by the end, so I decided to change the wedges under that shoe. This may have been a mistake.

Ran 3.5 miles with 2 x mile at 7:08 or so. I meant to run more. I meant to do a lot of stuff this week, but I was tired and worn out.

Yoga and rolling out the legs.

Saturday

Swam 1,800 yards shittily.

Sunday

Did not race Tri for Real.

After making it home and taking a nap, I couldn’t figure out how to replace the race. Ultimately, I rode about 16.5 miles on the TT with 10′ at threshold/Olympic distance race pace (which was quite hard, since I haven’t done that in two months), then did a full-out effort up Lucas Valley hill just because, and a slightly faster than tempo effort back through the valley. It all felt pretty hard.

Swam 1,000 yards with some HARD 25s, or rather 22 yards since that’s how long our complex pool is, and some short race tempo.

Light core and PT, with the hope that maybe that will help fix some of the imbalances and problems I’m having this week now. Tried to roll and yoga too.

TOTAL: 10:15

AGHHHHHHH!!

Ironman Training Week 28: June 30 – July 6

Last night, I ended up pouring over all my training logs and race reports from this spring as some sort of way to remind myself that I’ve put in the work and can go fast when the mood strikes. Of course, it also reminded me that I was a mess three months ago and it’s a little amazing this trainwreck ever got back on the track.

So, that was productive.

After reading all the training I’ve done, I then spent all night trying to decide what I should do for my last hard race, shakeout thing before IM Canada. I’d been planning on Tri for Real, but that was sounding shitty. Then, I thought about doing the 5K in San Rafael, but that sounded a different kind of shitty. Then, I concocted different schemes to do my own time trials to test my bike set up and my legs and why my arms feel so heavy. All at 1 a.m. last night.

Unsurprisingly, I had another crap workout this morning. I’m pretty sure I was swimming with those stupid leg weights tied onto my legs and arms. Invisible ones. Reading last night also reminded me there were two brief weeks in mid-March when I was swimming stunningly fast, faster than I’ve ever swum. That was nice.

This somehow inspired me to go home and sign up for Tri for Real. Logically.

That makes this officially a taper. Last week was a rest and recovery from the last big training block. This week was supposed to be the start of my two week taper. That taper’s so far included my longest run to date (which the rereading my training logs reminded me I hadn’t done) and me feeling like shit. Hopefully, tomorrow snaps me out of that.

Monday

Swam 800 yards easy and some yoga after the super hard all-day workout.

Tuesday

REST

Wednesday

Biked 18 miles in the morning before biking over to the fair and working all day — where yes I did eat crappy fair food and it was disappointing. The bike was not really anything, just a moderate ride on the TT.

Swam 1,000 yards easy in the evening.

Thursday

TRX class after the fair, followed by:

Swimming 1,400 yards moderately. I don’t know what your YMCA is like, but mine is like this. I am used to being the fastest person in the pool at the Y. So, I jumped in and started sharing a lane with a nice-looking 13-year-old girl. When I flipped turned I realized she was passing me — dolphin-kicking on her back. She then proceeded to lap me, repeatedly. It was alarming.

Friday

Accidental rest day, more working at the fair.

Saturday

Biked 25 miles up in the mountains. Like up, up. It was a long climb and then a long descent and then some wondering where I was exactly. Oh, and also some wheezing. As if there was less air. I had to take a nap afterwards.

Swam 1,700 yards or something tangentially across the lake. Steve swam with me, or near me until I dropped him. It was a nice, clear lake, but I forgot there are motor boats on the lake. So that was fun.

Sunday

Steve decided to take the previous day out on me during our run around the lake. Or else he didn’t quite believe me when I said I can’t breathe in the mountains when running. Oh, and also, my stupid left toe bone spur has been making trails hard and my ankle has been weak since falling during the Dipsea. All in all, it meant that I was having to pay close attention to my footing and working hard to not fall and also struggling to breathe, which made it harder to pay attention and not fall. It was an exhausting 5.5 mile run.

Swam another 1,000 yards easy in the lake.

TOTAL: 7:10

Alright, no freaking out tonight. Maybe.