I am barely clinging onto consciousness right now, so I am going to keep this short. I can honestly say that this has been pretty much the busiest week of my career. And no, I wasn’t in jail. This is good news in a business sense, but painful in a living life sense. Work early, work late, work at home: this has been the rhythm of life lately.
While the grind has been endless, the busy schedule has helped me stay on track with training…for the most part. This is a phenomenon I experienced during grad school: a lack of respite can sometimes create normality out of typical tests of endurance. I’ll take what I can get.
Training is going full steam ahead. It’s week 2 of the half-ironman prep and things seem easier than last week. For runs, I got my usual mix of VO2, threshold, tempo, and long runs in. VO2 came in easier Monday. Thresholds were pretty miserable on Wed, but I blame fatigue on that. Highlight of the week was my long run. I started off on the treadmill with 6 miles at about 8:25. Then I moved on to pace alterations up to 8:00. Finally, I finished off the last four miles on the track with pace down to 7:40 ish. It felt great.
Swim is also picking up. Form is a lot different: finally kicking routinely and I’m getting a better hip rotation in. Put in about 7000y for the week. 1000y TTs are down some to about 15:40. It is fun to once again to smell like the pool; a sure sign that I am a crazy triathlete.
As for riding, my legs are feeling great. And by great, I mean I am hurting good with the jump in the volume. Unfortunately, things are much simpler for my groin: my ride today felt like a three hour vasectomy. I might need to invest in some more comfortable shorts, you know…like something with a memory foam pillow built in.
Once again, I missed the recovery ride this week. I am pretty okay with that. However, I also missed one of my long rides this weekend. Normally, I would find this as devastating as waking up in the morning with my face sewn to the carpet. But not this time.
All winter long I have spent my Saturdays shuttling kids around for their ski lessons. Typically, this is an all-day adventure in frustration and personal sacrifice with moments of utter joy peppered in. However, with such a winter schedule for the last four years, I have never had the energy or opportunity to actually ski with my two oldest children. Thanks to some puppy dog eyes, I was determined to finally ready to end my routine and take the kids out for a day to remember.
As you can see, we have plenty of snow and winter left here in Montana. Chasing my kids down the slopes, I learned three very important things. First, my kids will be way better skiers than I ever was. Second, my feet and rental ski boots are about as compatible as oil and water. OUCH. Third, my kids need me more than ever in their lives. Despite the pain in my feet and wallet, watching my kids ski (and intermittently perform some epic falls) was some of the most fun I have had in ages. I had planned to get my long ride in after skiing, but the fun of the morning quickly led me to trading my bike and gels for a movie seat and popcorn. Skiing and then Lego movie: now that is a great brick workout.
My time on Saturday was another drop in a steadily rising bucket of realization about my triathlon life. The endurance world has taught me a lot and given me a great outlook on work and life. At the same time, the racing experience has become more and more pain and rather than pleasure. That has been a tough pill to swallow for a something I do as I hobby and not as a job. I am considering taking some time away from racing next year, especially as go back to school again. I am going to just play this year out and see how things go. Rest assured, I am never going to stop training. I just may give the racing bib collecting a break for a year.
Sunday was a different day entirely. With a relatively rest day in the bank, I decided to try a new brick workout for me. Starting at 0430 am, I hit the road running, guided only by my headlamp and the stars peeking through the clouds. My plan was to warm up with three miles. By warm up I mean go faster and faster. Here is how the day started:
Right after this, I jumped on the bike for a 2:45 ride. The dips in the ride are stretching periods and moments where it felt like I was being kicked in the groin by a velociraptor.
To finish off, it was right back to running, again as fast as I could without hitting interval speed. After three miles of that, I finished off with a two mile walk/run with the wife.
Despite doing most of a half ironman, I felt great for the rest of the day. I was even able to start and finish a new raised garden box for my family, all while consuming low amounts of caffeine. Of course, I am still passing in and out of consciousness while typing this on the couch.
Despite the pain, this was a very rewarding week. If the trend continues, next week will be only more rewarding.