I apologize in advance for the randomness and fragmented nature of this post, but since registering for Ironman AZ back in November, that is exactly what has been happening in my mind. All day, every day, a continuation of fragmented thoughts ranging from “OMG I’m so PUMPED. Cecily Fuller YOU ARE (ALMOST) AN IRONMAN!” to “OMG I want to cry, where do I go next?”
The thought of Ironman is always there. That M-Dot symbol is there when you wake up in the morning; you chase it during each training session; it’s the seasoning on your breakfast, lunch and dinner; and it’s that bitter flavor you taste with each sip of an IPA. Friends of mine who have completed an Ironman of their own warned me that once you take the plunge and officially register, it’s all you will think about for the following year. The reality of this hits me as I sit here with a pile of anatomy flashcards to study and it’s all I can do not to break into the stack of Ironman/tri training books I just borrowed from a friend. The inner turmoil continues. So, instead, I will do neither and I will sit here and pour my feelings into my Ironman blog. I call this a happy medium.
It’s been a great week of training for me. I finally dove in to the “Triathlon swimming made easy” book that Adam recently recommended and have officially stopped wasting time in the pool. It’s amazing what a difference the Total Immersion approach to swimming makes. For the first time since I started training for my first race back in 2011, I not only feel comfortable in the pool, but I enjoy and even look forward to my swim workouts. I’ll chalk that up to a victory. Here’s how the week went:
Monday – Rest day. I never thought I’d like having my rest day on a Monday, but recharging at the beginning of the week is really working for me.
Tuesday – Morning swim: 1200 yard swim. This was rough, physically and emotionally. I just couldn’t get in the right groove and I felt as though I was fighting the water the entire time. This was the motivation I needed to sit down and finally crack open “Triathlon swimming made easy” and start dedicating time towards learning good technique.
Wednesday – After Tuesday, I felt really motivated to jump back in the pool to redeem myself, so I pushed back my usual spin class and went for round 2 of swimming. The difference was night and day. Focus, progress and comfort made the hour workout fly by. I still wanted to get my bike in so I hit up a spin class that evening.
Thursday – Went for a nice rainy day 10k run with my mom, which I completed in 59:06 – about 3 1/2 minutes faster than my Thanksgiving Day 10k! Another little victory. I am also making a big effort to dedicate 15-20 minutes before every run towards warming up. I’ve started feeling my hip, achilles and tendons to my heel tighten up during long runs so a proper warm-up is something I can’t ignore anymore. Just a nice light 5-10 minute jog followed by a few good stretches did the trick and I noticed a marked difference during this run.
Friday – I was excited to wake up and swim today! Kept focusing on drills followed by about 20 minutes of continuous swimming. Just call me Nemo.
Saturday – It was literally raining cats and dogs. Just kidding, not literally. Obviously, though, this couldn’t be a bike day and even though I wanted to use it as an excuse to take it easy and have an extra rest day, I talked myself out of it. Plus, there was no Law & Order on T.V.! I can’t remember the last time that happened, especially on a rainy day. So, I put on the brightest running clothes I could find and went out to splash around in the puddles for a few miles. I initially set out to do an easy 5k, but once I got out there and saw that I was the only person out running I bumped it up to 4 miles. I felt like the biggest bad-ass ever. I suddenly turned into the female version of Rocky and I just know every car that drove by me was saying “Wow! Look at her go – she must be a (future) Ironman!” I’m surprised I didn’t have any news crews following me. In all seriousness though, it was a really fun run and reminded me that weather shouldn’t be an excuse for a rest day (unless we’re talking hurricane/tornado/torrential downpour). I need to keep this in the back of my mind once I get out to Denver and experience Winter in the real, non-Phoenix world.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! – Still raining, so no biking again. Instead, I headed back to the pool and kept drilling away. Today was the best day yet in the pool. I’ve been taking the drills step-by-step, mastering each one before I move on to the next. I’ll move on to the next step this week. I also met up for coffee this afternoon with a friend of mine who has done a few Ironman races to pick her brain. She gave me a few books to bury myself in plus a lot of good pointers that you can’t really get unless you talk to someone who has actually been there. If you know anyone who has completed an Ironman (or know someone who knows someone who knows someone), I highly encourage you to get an hour or 2 of their time to sit down and just pick their brain about everything from training to nutrition to what kinds of socks they wear. I promise you you’ll learn a lot. Try to do this early on so you can start applying any advice they give you into your training to see if it will work for you.
So that’s it. That was my week in a not-so-small nutshell. As a sequel to my post about making a plan, I decided to hire a friend/coach to do my training programming. After taking a step back to look at exactly what my goals are for this race, I have opted to put CrossFit on the back burner and focus strictly on building miles and comfort in the pool, on the bike and in my running shoes. Knowing that this is the approach I will be most comfortable taking, I’ve decided that it is also important for me to hire someone I trust to take the guess-work out of the process and coach me through training. So, my “official” training will begin this week on February 1. Couldn’t be more excited!
Over & Out.