I hung out with friends...
But, it didn't come easy...
Yesterday, marked 3 weeks until my big race. My first Half Ironman is September 9th and this past week marked my biggest week of training of the summer. I hired a coach to make sure I made it to the starting line in the best possible position that I could bring this summer. And after this weekend, I am right where I want to be.
This is what my training looked like last week:
A total of 166 biking, running, and swimming miles. And I am still standing today. I will write a RNR Providence Half Marathon recap later this week, but I wanted to tell you about my training day on Saturday.
I get my training plan for the week about a week in advance. Saturday's workout was scaring me all week. I had a 4 hour bike ride scheduled followed by a one hour run with the last 20 minutes strong. Five hours of training in one day? I have only approached a five hour workout twice and those were my two slowest marathons. So needless to say, I was freaking out the whole week.
Not only was Saturday's workout on my mind, but so was my upcoming weekend. I was signed up for the RNR Providence Half Marathon through my Brook's ID team and I really wanted to represent the team. I knew racing was not an option because it was the day after my workout, so I told a friend from work I would run with her and hope to pace her to a sub-1:50 half. A 1:50 half is not an easy pace so I was scared I would let her down and not be able to run with her. I worry about everything! :)
Friday, I headed down to the expo with my girls to pick up my packet as I had no time the rest of the weekend. I know, I am supposed to be in the picture in front the RNR sign, but seriously, they are so much cuter.
I got to the expo within an hour of it opening so it was easy to pick up the packet and walk around for a few minutes. I let the girls pick out a Sweaty Band for school and Bridget picked out a triathlon headband. I wasn't going to complain as I love how proud she is of her Mama! :)
My weekend was also crazy with working, so I ran home and headed off to work for the evening. When I left work that night, we opened the door to rain. It never even crossed my mind to check the weather for Saturday morning until that moment. I ran to my car and had my husband check the forecast and sure enough it was supposed to rain all day Saturday. And my worrying continued. I can run in rain, no problem. I am new to biking and knew I had to hit some higher speeds. I was not totally comfortable with the idea of riding four long hours on wet roads.
I got to bed immediately and woke up early to a cloudy, but not rainy morning. I got ready as quickly as possible as I figured even one hour in dry weather was better than none. And so it began, my longest workout to date.
Within five miles the rain started. I had just made it to my trail so I was a little relaxed knowing that I wouldn't be on the road with crazy drivers. The beginning of my ride was to be 90 minutes of Z2 riding. This for me means I need to concentrate on keeping my legs going in order to keep my heart rate above that level. Those 90 minutes flew by and I was even succeeding on taking in nutrition. My coach has been very insistent on not forgetting my nutrition and to start it early.
An hour in I turned around in order to refuel back home and practice handing off water bottles while still riding. 90 minutes in, I started my workout which was to be 3x20 minutes in Z3. UGH. Zone 3 running is easy for me. Mid-Zone 2 riding and above is hard work for me. I really have to concentrate to keep those paces up. The first 20 minutes were pretty good and I made it home within my rest interval and switched out bottles and to take a quick bathroom break.
And then it was back to the road, and the rain had stopped! I knew I had two hours to go and two harder intervals left. I knew going back to my fairly easy trail would not help me hit the higher heart rates so I stayed on the road and headed toward New Hampshire. Let me tell you, I live in the best part of Massachusetts for Ironman training. If you google where to do long bike rides in the area, people drive to just past us and park and ride. I can leave my house and hit the roads and am climbing crazy hills within 5 miles.
And climbing is what I did. Those higher heart rates were so much easier to hit after the hills hit. This was also 2 1/2 hours into my ride and I was starting to fatigue. I wasn't exhausted but this was the point where the mental game really kicked in. I was still maintaining a great cadence and my heart rate was right on but I really had to stay positive to get me through some points. As you can see from my RunKeeper workout at around mile 50, I had five miles of uphill. This was nearly three hours in and I was already at my Half Ironman distance, and I still had to go another hour.
This was probably one of my harder parts of the ride. I was proud that I had gone that far, but I started questioning why I was going so much further. I knew I hired my coach for a reason. She is an amazing Ironman athlete so I put my negative thoughts out of my head and kept pushing. She had confidence in me so I needed to have confidence in myself. On Martha's Vineyard, I bonked at three hours so I took in more nutrition and sport drink at that point to make sure I would make it until the end. From 3:00-3:45, I felt pretty good. My legs and butt were sore but I was happy. I was in new mileage territory and I knew my pace was faster than it had been ever for a long ride. I was really going to do this.
3:45 hit and whoa, I was tired. I was so close to home and so ready to rest my butt. Surprisingly, instead of slowing down, I was able to maintain an OK pace. I think I just wanted to get home. I did stand up quite a few times on the pedals to try and loosen my hip flexor as it was tight and I knew I had to run very shortly. I made it back home after 76.13 miles at 19mph. I was all smiles when I saw the final distance. 76 miles in one ride, all by myself! Amazing.
I was gross and dirty, but quickly put on my running shoes, grabbed my iPod and ran out the door. At this point, I mentally made myself forget that I was now on hour 5 of my day. I got to the road and told myself, fast feet, get them moving. Mile 1 was around an 8:45 and I thought, not bad, but I was used to 20 minutes off the bike. One hour was a whole new thing. I concentrated on running strong but not too hard and my pace was dropping and those first 40 minutes were around an 8:35 pace. With 20 minutes to go, I pushed. I was tired but my legs were OK with pushing and the last 20 minutes were around an 8:05 pace. At the end of a 5 hour workout and I was running an 8:05 pace. Thank you body for performing.
I finished just over 7 miles in that hour and got in my house and wanted to cry. Not because I hurt, but because I did it. Triathlon training is a new experience for me and it is tough. But I am succeeding at it and completed a workout that has given me the confidence to reach for my goals on September 9th. Yes, I am not riding 76 miles at my race, but I now know what my legs can do at the end of a very long day of training. I guess coaches really do know what they are doing even though in the middle of a workout we tend to get frustrated and all our minds want to do is quit.