Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting Ready

Ironman training starts on Feb 2.  The training plan has been laid out in a spreadsheet for months.  A 2 week warmup, 22 week base plan, 12 week build phase, and 2 week taper.  It gets a little long in the build phase.  And it all kicks off in 17 days.  I don't want to go into the training plan cold so I've been working out once a day to get ready.  (ironman training is basically 2 workouts a day 6 days a week for about 8 months) Nothing hard, nothing fast.  Just something swim/bike/run six days a week at base building stamina so the body doesn't completely revolt when the 2 a days start.

I am pretty amazed at how fast I lost some conditioning.  Tuesday I ran 4 miles at about a 9:00 pace and my quads were screaming at me by the end. The conversation went something like this:

Me: running?  yes, I vaguely remember something about that.  It's only been about 6 weeks.
My feet:  screw you.  What are you trying to do to me?  this is horrible.
My quads:  Apparently I love lactic acid and will try to hold onto it for as long as possible.

Swimming is going about as smoothly as running is.  I get in the pool and start out slow with poor form and then it all starts to break down.  My RAM team swims are usually 2000 - 3100 yards per practice.  It takes me 14 or 15 strokes to get across the 25 yard pool. and if you don't swim regularly, that's the most accurate measure of improvement in the pool; count your strokes per length of the pool and that number will drop as your form (efficiency) improves.  I haven't really swam since the OBX half ironman in September. 

The first time back in the pool I crapped out after only 1200 yards.  That's typically a warmup before a RAM practice.  I took 19 strokes per length average when I counted.  So my swim stroke was in bad shape by comparison.  I was sore for about 3 days after that swim.  The next time in the water I put a mile in, doing 200's for as long as I could.  Form was still bad, 18 strokes per length.  But I felt like I used to have endurance and could get it again.  I mean, the spark was there.

The one thing that has been going pretty consistently well has been biking.  It took a few rides to get back into the groove, feel my pedal stroke going in complete circles and feel like I knew what I was doing on there.  And I'm still slower than last year. But it feels familiar.  and comfortable.

Wednesday night, finally, I had a perfect swim.  At least as perfect as I could hope for.  We had a good choir practice at the church, and I hit the pool at the gym afterwards with no expectations.  I thought I would do 200's again and just try to relax.  I started knocking down laps and it felt great.  My form felt good, breathing wasn't labored, and I felt strong in the water.  200 came and went and I just kept knocking down laps.  In the end, I knocked out a solid mile without any breaks. No more than normal muscle fatigue, my form never broke down, and my breathing technique never broke down.  I was still around 17 or 18 strokes per length so it was slower than last year, but that's ok.  It just felt good, free, calm, relaxed.

And since something that perfect has to be followed by extreme pain, I slammed my head on the car door when attempting to leave the gym.  Near about ripped off my ear.  Ouch!  that's how perfect the swim was.  It could only be balanced out by losing an ear.

Mentally and emotionally I'm ready for the rigors of Ironman training.  I can't wait to shave my legs again, sick of paying for haircuts when I could be shaving my head.  Ready for the good sleep that comes from complete exhaustion and the badass status that comes after a 4 hour bike ride.  Physically?  Well let's just say I'm glad I have a couple more weeks to get there.


Diana said...

Can't wait to read and follow along for a second time!
Remember Philippians 4:13! That got me through my marathon!

I'm doing a 1/2IM next year! Plan to hopefully volunteer for it this year and get a good bird's eye view of how it goes-excited and scared, but it's time!!

Viper said...

Good luck building that base. Enjoy the ride (and the swim and the run). Cheers!

Tea said...

That gets the good ole "HEREWEGO!"

I've got my popcorn ready, feet up, I'm ready to watch you train!

Anonymous said...

Good plan trying to work yourself back in to it! my legs are experiencing the same screaming lactic acid feelings this week...

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Good luck buddy! You are going to do great! I feel like there are definitely some parallels between ironman training and my study schedule for the CFA as it's a long, hard road, but so worth it in the end. I am sure you will have a great race. Heck, maybe I will come cheer you on! :)

hebba said...

Isn't it crazy how quickly your body loses that "peak conditioning?" take comfort in the fact that you have been building that base for years and getting back to peak comes more quickly!

healthy ashley said...

I'm jealous :)

Caratunk Girl said...

Ahhhh base building. I think I like that the best because it gives me an excuse to NOT use my (non-existent) fast twitch muscles.

Good luck with your season!!

Colleen said...

Ahhhh... it comes back fast. There's something kind of magical about the pure exhaustion that comes with ironman training. I miss it. Kind of. :)