Ironman Arizona Week 9: Slow But Strong

There is definitely a difference the second time around. For my first Ironman, in Florida last year, I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t know what to expect and had legitimate doubts about completing the distance. This year, I am training for Ironman Arizona and I know I can do it. I initially had a time goal, but that is slowly going to the wayside as my life gets more complicated, and my run gets slower by the mile.

I can’t blame it on my ankle injury. I sprained it some time ago and had to take three weeks off. But I have been running for three weeks now, and I am still as slow as I’ve ever been. Because that is what my mind tells me I am …slow.

And I am not quite willing to do the work to get faster. It implies not only getting out of my comfort zone, but going somewhere I don’t like. Even if some might read this as “giving up,” I don’t see it that way. I see it as working with what I have going right now. I don’t want the added of pressure of shaving fifteen minutes off my run.

This time around, Ironman isn’t taking over my life. I am making space for it without sacrificing the things I love the most, mainly my family. At least not yet … I am not sure what will happen as the mileage peaks closer to the race. So far I can keep a balance but it might mean doing my long rides on a Friday, or my long run on a Wednesday. Translation: I train alone … a lot. Given a choice, I would much rather train with a group, but I am no longer afraid of doing it all alone.IMG_4761

At times it’s boring, but it’s also taking me to a different level of awareness. I watch my thoughts, talk to myself, laugh and cry. I battle my demons who tell me to cut it short, and I am getting stronger at facing myself. I’ve become more confident, less needy, and certainly independent.

I now understand, that one of the things I enjoy of Ironman training is the forced training time: there are no shortcuts, you must do the work. If you are going to swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112, and finally run 26.2 you must prepare. Having Ironman Arizona looming in the horizon forces me to go out, sweat, and do what I love to do; because as much as I complain I am happy out there, in the beating sun, testing my limits. Ironman gives me a legitimate reason to take time to myself, and I am enjoying this more balanced view of the world.

I have a feeling that this Ironman will be bigger, more meaningful. I am working on a fundraising cause that I can’t wait to announce. My family will be joining me in Arizona, and we will take a week off and travel around the desert after the race. And although I have never run slower, I’ve never felt stronger.

One thing still remains from last time: my absentmindedness.  Locked out of the house.

One thing still remains from last time: my absentmindedness. Locked out of the house.

I have reached this conclusion: though my first long brick of 70 miles on the bike and a 7 mile run seemed hard, slow and tiring I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to question: ”if I felt 77 miles was hard, will I make it to 140.6?” I will, I know I will. And chances are I will even do it faster than last time around.

This week:

Monday: SWIM: Open water – 2 miles

Tuesday: BIKE: 30 miles strength training at the Ultrabikex Computrainer Studio followed by a 3 mile run with Carol.

Wednesday: RUN: 6 miles, hill/bridge repeats

Thursday: SWIM: Open water – 2.5 miles

Friday: RUN: Long run, 10 miles

Saturday: REST – Joe was out of town and I didn’t have a babysitter.

Sunday: BIKE/RUN – 70 miles followed by 7

How about you? How was your training week? Do you train mostly alone or in a group?

2 thoughts on “Ironman Arizona Week 9: Slow But Strong

  1. I’m always impressed by triathletes. If I were doing multisport I’d DEFINITELY need a group. Right now I’m mostly running with a group and that extra accountability is really important for me.

    1. oh! if I had a choice I would always train with a group. For accountability, boredom, but also because they make you faster and push you a bit more. But when it’s not possible, and you are on your own, then you really come face to face with the real you, and that has it’s benefits.

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