Monday, August 10, 2009

Know your limits. And drink a cold beer.

I am through the longest weekend that I'll do leading up to Canada. I have to say, the volume is not terribly impressive and definitely not ideal, but it is all that I a) have time for and b) feel that I can physically do in these conditions in Austin. I consider myself fairly good at handling the heat, but when you are out in it for about 9 hours in 2 days, that is just plain tough. I kicked things off on Friday with a 5000 meter swim. That is the longest swim of the summer for me! :) I swim on my own and usually do about 4000-4500 3x/week. On Friday, I went to a local 50-meter pool and did my typical 1000 'warmup and think about what kind of set I'll do today' easy. After 900, I figured I should just swim a straight 3000-3800; that being, at least 3000 and if I am feeling particularly ambitious, 3800 just to simulate the 'real' distance of race day. So, I chatted with my friend Peg (owner of Farm to Market grocery here in South Austin, a regular at any south Austin pool between 9 and 11 am) and then said, "Alright Peg, I am not coming up for air for at least 45 more minutes." She looked at me like I was crazy. Then I told her what I was doing. She made an interesting comment. She said, "You know, I think the reason that I have never wanted to race anything (triathlons, running, etc) is because I don't want to win, but I don't want to lose either." Think about it... I think this is something we can all relate to on some level.

Anyhoo, away I went, for 53:15 and 3800 meters! Not spectacular but on tired legs, I was pleased with myself. That kicked off my weekend. Ya-hoo! Saturday was an early one, as I met a friend for a 100 mile ride to Johnson City. Again; this was my 3rd ride of 100 miles and while I was considering 110, I just could not do it. It was the hardest one (in terms of power) that I have done, and of course it was another 100+ degree day in Austin. I also had NOT yet run off of a ride of over 90 miles. So, today was the day. Shockingly, Derick threw his running shoes on and headed out with me. We were off, 4 miles around our house, and Derick told me something I needed to hear: I go out too fast! We finished this in about 6:42 pace, though at the end, I was a bit shaky and my legs were cramping. No doubt I was highly lacking in sodium, but I finished it and have to say, the feeling kind of freaked me out. Limits? I knew there was no way that at 1:00 in the afternoon, I could possibly run more than this in this weather. I could have maybe gone to a treadmill, but I really just wanted to get this workout in the bag.

We relaxed Saturday afternoon, watched TV and polished off some P Terrys cheeseburgers, fries ($5.50 for a double cheeseburger and fries!) and a nice cold beer for an early evening. Seriously; after water, gels, and coke, the beer was MUCH needed and as I say, everything in moderation.

Sunday was an early morning, up for toast and coffee and out the door by 7:15 for what was meant to be 20-22 miles of running. I did 45 minutes on my own, and then met up with Derick, James and James-Brad at Jack and Adams for their 14 miles. I NEVER run with others, but today I figured it may be a good way to knock out ~2.5 hours more quickly than solo-ing it. First 30 minutes with them, I could tell I felt very mediocre. I took a gel at about 1 hr 15 min into the run; which I thought made me feel better, but then we hit some hills and I fell back a bit. By 1 hr 50 minutes, we hit another much larger hill and I was walking. I took my second gel and then realized again that whole LIMITS thing again, damnit. I was just toast. We made many frequent stops for water, but Derick and James went ahead while myself and Brad finished up the last 30 minutes or so together, at a very very modest pace. I did end up doing 2.5 hours, though I have no idea how many miles it was which is likely a good thing... thus officially ended my biggest trainign weekend ever, at about 8.5 hours.

Again, probably not ideal. I am sure that ideally heading into an Ironman, I would have liked to have done a ride of 115+ miles and a run the next day of 24+ miles, but it just was not in the cards. I was completely wiped out on Sunday, got a great meal in me and took a much needed nap. But I think that between Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I did all that I could do and I also walked that fine line of 'enough but not too much'. In these conditions in Austin, you have to be VERY cautious of this line.

And on that note, onward! Time to bring it all down a notch and get rested up. Especially if you are dealing with extreme conditions training, know your limits and don't be afraid to back it off. Finishing is a good thing. This is what I am going to be telling myself going forward, too!