I knew this time would come - and it has. That stage where you are just ticking over your workouts, not feeling like there's any improvement, wallowing in a big sandpit of blah. It happens every year and it happens to everyone. Which is why it's so important to take time off after ironman - to refresh, replenish, refocus and repay (...your family for all the support they've given you!).
Before ironman, though, is not the time to be taking your foot off the pedal. And so when I emailed Coach Dave last week and warned him that I needed a change he took notice. I knew I was just going through a low spot and so my way of getting through it was to map out the final six weeks of training. Just one more four week block, I told myself, and then a two week taper.
You can do this.
Coach Dave understood immediately and set to work mapping out my next four weeks, starting out with a solid three day training weekend designed to reacquaint myself with some long, solid stuff. Friday, a 3.5km swim, Saturday a 120km bike and Sunday a 25km run.
You can do this...(eek!)
No, you CAN do this! One day at a time, tick each one off and don't think about what's ahead.
So, Friday night. End of the working week, and I'm down at the pool. The sun has long gone and so have most of the crowds. It's a great evening to be doing laps - great water temperature, the bridge and Luna Park shining down on us and I'm feeling strong and strangely fresh. Lots of pull buoy drills and pull buoy/paddle drills and my shoulders are feeling the burn by the time I haul myself out of the water at 8.30pm.
|North Sydney Olympic Pool - Perfect night for a swim|
But it feels great and I have time for a quick dinner and brief chill out on the couch before heading to bed early. Swim - nailed!
Early Saturday morning (and I mean early!) - the alarm goes off at 4.00am and I'm up, getting some breakfast down, and by 5.00am I'm riding across the bridge to Town Hall Station to pick up the train down to Caringbah. Ahead of me is 120km of steady riding at Kurnell. Focus on 90+ rpm cadence and getting nutrition right. It's a bit chilly, although still not cold enough for arm warmers, shoe covers or gloves (read that and weep, Christchurch!).
Out at Kurnell I have plenty of company in the form of other triathletes - last weekend and this weekend it's been noticeably busier with tri bikes out in force, and fully kitted up with aero/deep dish and disk wheels. Given Ironman Australia is now only a week away it seems everyone is out testing their race gear and Kurnell is the destination of choice when you want a decent stretch of time trial riding.
Watching the bike porn, however, didn't end up being the highlight of the day. No, that came in the form of a scooter pacing two cyclists who obviously weren't out for an early morning cruise. I first saw them heading in the opposite direction and then a little while later they flew past me like I was standing still. One of the guys was in Specialized gear and on a Specialized bike and I figured that, with the motor pacing, it was obviously a pro - Macca or Crowie maybe? I toyed with the idea of getting the phone out to try and get a photo, but they were going so fast I decided it would be a futile exercise.
|Post-ride reward - a latte and slice of banana loaf for the train ride home|
A quick website search when I got home, though, confirmed it was most likely Macca (triathlon and ironman legend, Chris McCormack). He had tweeted about his training ride, and being motor paced for 70km at 55kmph with Paul Ambrose. He also commented "#empty", which I thought was hilarious ... come on, he's a pro and getting to draft off a scooter - should have been a doddle! Me, in comparison, did 120km solo - none of this wimpy drafting nonsense!!!
The ride went really well - great pace with an average of 29kmph which I was really happy with - with the race wheels on I am hopefully on target to achieve an ironman average of 30kmph and nail that 6 hour target I dream of.
And so dawned this morning. A 25km run. You can do it...
St Pete and I were up at 5.00am and in good spirits, ready to do a good steady run, focusing on finding my IM pace. We had sorted out a good route, starting on the harbour bridge and heading across to the CBD, up to Hyde Park, up Oxford St to Anzac Parade. Into Centennial Park for a lap before continuing back south along Anzac Parade to the University of New South Wales where we would head up the road to the top of campus and then come back down the middle back to Anzac Parade. We would then retrace our route back home, excluding the loop around Centennial Park!
It was a great morning for a run. We started just after 6.30am and by the time we got to Oxford St I had found my "pace" - slow and steady and hopefully a pace that I could hold for ironman. Heart rate was good, around 145-155 - again, ideal for race day. It wasn't all easy-going, though. By the time we hit the 20km mark everything from the waist down was starting to hurt and so it was a bit of a grovel for the last 5km back over the bridge to the finish.
Grovelling is good practice, though. Working through, and learning to ignore, the discomfort is part of the "fun"of ironman ... did I say fun? Man, I'm sure going to curse those words at around 5.00pm Cairns time on June the 3rd!
In any case, as I lay on the floor with legs up on a chair, feeling ever so slightly shattered, I knew I had nailed the run. And yesterday's bike. And Friday's swim.
And that felt good.
No, it felt fantastic.
35 days to go and feeling iron-tough.
|Dead Irongirl after 25km|