Two weeks before an Ironman is when athletes usually begin to taper … that is, they rest to be ready for the big day. For me, it’s a time of crankiness because after months of endless training, all of a sudden you feel like you have nothing to do. The only way I know to survive the tapering is by repeating to myself “trust in your training, trust in your training.”
The caveat is that for this to work sixteen weeks down the line, I have to actually be doing the training. And there wasn’t much of that going on recently.
I first attended Hispanicize, a fabulous SXSW-like conference centered around Latinos here in Miami. That put pressure on my training as I described previously and well, the swim went by the wayside.
Last week was the kids’ spring break and we went on a road trip (more soon.) Though I did bring my bike, I really didn’t do much. Before freaking out, I reached out to my Coach who sent me this message:
Ah yes. That is the new me. The balanced one who shrugs her shoulders and is content with doing the best she can. So instead of training, I went to Zumba twice with my niece (in black shorts below):
I went for a short run with the boys as they train for a race in mid April:
and for a ride around beautiful Dunedin Beach with a friend from Hispanicize:
But once I got back home. I had to focus and had a heck of a weekend starting with a ten mile run. I’ve been running 4:1 intervals (run for four, walk for one) and I realize that will make it hard for me to find running partners and have resigned myself to run alone and in my own time. That has mysteriously made the run more tolerable and I knocked off the ten miler … not quickly … but painlessly.
Sunday followed with the Everglades Bicycle Club Snowbird Century Ride. My first century (100 miles) was at an EBC ride, and I participate in these as often as I can. I rode with my friend Amy, also a blogger training for Lake Placid, who had travelled for seventeen hours the day before. Most of my friends were riding the 62 so I stuck to her group and they were fast.
The wind was blowing hard especially at the twenty to forty mile mark turning this ride into a draft or die. That is, if you ride behind someone who is blocking the wind, you use a lot less energy. If you don’t … well, you suffer a whole lot. I made the choice to push myself and tuck in behind some of the big guys who were pulling. It was a struggle to keep up. That group turned right to finish at 65 where Amy and I turned left to go for 100. At a slower pace I felt much better but by mile 80 when the wind picked up again, I began to pay for pushing myself too much at the beginning. We found some other big guys to draft but by mile 85 my legs couldn’t turn fast enough. I tried and tried but couldn’t keep up.
Whatever distance you ride, it’s how the last ten miles go that define how your ride went. And my last ten miles were difficult.
I didn’t bonk (which is when you literally have no energy to move.) I know what to do if that happens, and have come back from the dead with some salt pills and food. I had energy, motivation, enthusiasm and such … I just didn’t have legs. It seemed like any leg strength I had previously acquired suddenly vanished and I fell behind. I could see my group about a quarter mile ahead, but as much as I tried I couldn’t reach them.
One of the things I’ve heard about Lake Placid is that the two 56-mile loop is unforgiving. Everyone tells you not to push too hard on the first loop because the toughest climbs are at the end. At 100 miles, a climb with dead legs would be no fun. Perhaps now that I had this experience, I will be smarter on the Lake Placid course.
What about the goal of reaching out to my feminine side during this journey? Well, I was camping so it was a little hard to feel girly covered in grime but I made an effort. Though this is not so much to feel girly, but to take care of myself. I made sure to lather on the sunblock in the sun, and I now put conditioner on my hair BEFORE every workout. But I am searching for both hair and skin routines that will help my cause and my wrinkles. Any suggestions are welcomed.
I’m now back home, kids are back in school, and I am ready to refocus on my Ironman Lake Placid journey. I feel I’ve been warming up so that come taper time, I will indeed be able to trust my training.
How is your training going? Any tips on skin and hair care to share with me?