Ironman Arizona Week 10: What Recovery Week?

Recovery week is a misnomer. A better name would be “suck it up” week or testing week. Not only do I dislike tests in general (think SATs, school, etc.), but swim, bike and run tests are plain awful both physically and mentally. Last recovery week I sprained my ankle, and so I skipped the bike and run tests which I was very sorry to do (not).

I woke up Monday to do my swim test where I had to choose an interval for 100 meters I felt I could repeat with a 5 second rest. I then had to do as many repetitions as possible until I couldn’t keep the interval anymore. I got to the pool and saw this:

Pool Closed

Bummer. No, not really. I smiled, and walked right passed the chlorine and to the beach where now a days I feel much more at home. I did a nice open water swim instead. However, there was no escaping Tuesday’s run test where you run a 5k for time.

The only positive thing I can say is that it got done. I could’ve found ways to talk myself out of that test as well if it weren’t for my son.  He came into my room as I played snooze with the alarm, and I told him I didn’t want to run.  He said “it’s Ironman training Mami, you should go.”  I got up and ran, I needed to show him you do things you don’t want to do.  I am hoping I can use the same logic on him when it comes to homework.

I felt I was going fast,  yet when I looked at my watch I realized I wasn’t going fast at all. I only managed a 30:00 minute 5k which is at least three minutes slower than last year when I was running. Given the speed of my long runs lately, it makes sense. But it was hard not to be disappointed.

This guy is good at getting me going ...

This guy is good at getting me going …

Then Wednesday came the big kahouna. It was my bike Functional Threshold. This isn’t the maximum power you can ever put out, it’s the maximum power you can sustain for at least ten miles. I did it with Andreas, my bike coach, at the Ultrabikex Computrainer Studio. First you ride for five minutes at an in-between pace, something that you are pushing but not dying. Thankfully Andreas gave me a number to focus on, 170 watts, and I stayed on target.

Then after a 10 minute cooldown, the real test began. He told me to maintain around 170 for the first four miles or so, and then increase at least one watt per mile to finish between 175-180.

That sounded a bit more difficult, and though I was anxious, it wasn’t to the levels I had been in the past. I huffed and puffed through the test, while Andreas stood behind me saying things like “your heart rate is still too low, push harder. Get another watt in this half mile.” He did ask me how I felt at one point, and all I could muster was to give him a finger: a gesture I rarely use.

FTP Torture at Ultrabikex

FTP Torture at Ultrabikex

Amazingly I finished. I am not sure if I held back and didn’t leave every thing I had on the bike, or if my test was a reflection of this new more balanced version of myself. But it didn’t seem as bad as times past; I managed to hold on to 178.

My teammates are all bike goddesses and 178 is more like the power they put out when they sleep. I was tempted to believe that wasn’t good enough. Yet it was ten points higher than last time I went through this torture so I am on track.

It’s Saturday and though my pool is open, I have no intention of getting in it. Since I signed up for Swim For Alligator Lighthouse with Kerry, I am more focused on swim strength than speed. The moment for my swim test has come and gone. There is always tomorrow, but then again there is always the next “recovery week.”

I've been ditching the pool for a while now....

I’ve been ditching the pool for a while now….

Training this week:

Monday: SWIM – open water 1.5 miles

Tuesday: RUN – 5k test

Wednesday: BIKE – FTP test

Thursday: REST! And it was an official rest day too.

Friday: SWIM – open water 2 miles

Saturday: BIKE/RUN – 40 mile bike followed by 4 mile run

Sunday – planned an open water swim, but you never know. It says rest day on my Training Peaks and that sounds nice too!

How about you? Is your training on track?

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