Ironman Training 3 Week Recap – Weeks 19, 20 & 21

Week 19 was a fun week, primarily because I got to attend the Cleveland Triathlon Club tri camp. I only went one day (oppose to camping and going three full days), but the overall experience and knowledge gained was awesome. Plus I LOVED being able to train with other people! (Most times I am a lone wolf when it comes to training.)

Week 19
Total Mileage: 110 Miles
Total Time: 11:15 Hours

Camp was a blast and I felt really good about how I handled the hills of Mochican State Park. I know that I am good at climbing and can remain steady. To me it’s about getting it over with. Hills make long rides go faster. If I am dreading a hill at mile 24 — then mile 24 is going to appear a lot more quickly! (It’s all mental really.) Most riders just suffered up the hill ever so slowly and I felt like I was going to topple over if I slowed down like that.

The weather was fair. Decently chilly, but not totally miserable and the rain held off for Saturday at least! I also attended a swim clinic at camp and found out what has been causing my knee pain during my long swims — I tend to swim pigeon toed! (I know — seriously?!) I was given some drills to try to correct it and some pointers to think about. (Swimming is hard you guys. I don’t have the muscle memory of a good stroke. It’s constantly thinking about your motion the ENTIRE swim.)

I went to tri camp on that Saturday and then the following morning on Sunday I ran a 5K in my hometown with one of my girlfriends. I knew my fitness had increased and I am in great shape — so I figured I was going to PR this race. Although I think I’ve gotten the same time before (25 minutes). I was happy to see that I also got 3rd female overall in the 5K. This is probably because there were only 71 participants in the 5K, but STILL! (Although I was laughing to see that the 2nd overall female was in the 10-14 age group,  LOL!)

Week 20
Total Mileage: 169 Miles
Total Time: 16:39 Hours

Week 20 was my first 100-mile ride. I knew I needed to just get it over and done with. It took me just over 7 hours to complete. It left me feeling exhausted and a little worried about the 8:10 cutoff for 112 miles during the actual race. Mentally though, it was even tougher. The fact that I was out there solo didn’t help. At one point I was playing “scattergories” in my head with myself. Also I rode on a bike trail that crossed over a lot of busy roads, so I know I won’t have to stop and start like that during the actual race, which will shave down on time. I also realized I need to get better at eating on the bike. I would stop for 10 minutes at a time. During the actual race I plan to stop twice to pee and that’s it. (None of this “peeing on the bike” nonsense I have heard about!)

I was so happy to see this.

I was so happy to see this.

It was cloudy and overcast during my 100-miler and I didn’t think twice about sunscreen until it was too late.

I read online — 14 X 8 = 112. So I just need to focus on going about 14 miles per hour on the bike. In theory when I read this I was like “WOW. 14 miles per hour?! That’s nothing!!” But the bike course in Lake Placid is like no other. Hills upon hills. I’m wondering if I can maintain even 14. Luckily I live in a hilly area and have ample time to climb and practice still. I am still nervous though. Sometimes it really shakes my confidence to look down at my speed while climbing and see 12 miles per hour. My strategy will be to hold 14 during the majority of the race and allow myself to recover under 14 for 1-2 minutes after each climb. Then I will need to power the downhills. Last week I reached 41 miles per hour on a downhill. I’ve heard you can get upwards of 50 down the hills at Lake Placid!

Week 21
Total Mileage: 177 Miles
Total Time: 17:20 Hours

I’ve read a lot about average training volume and time during Ironman training. I know I can’t compare myself to other people’s training, but I did read one guy’s theory that he aimed to average about an Ironman distance (140.6 miles) a week. I read that and figured it sounded pretty reasonable and it would be a good gauge for me. Obviously I am still following the Be Iron Fit guide, but this also gives me a good base to aim for. Also I followed the Intermediate Program for the first 20 weeks of training and just recently switched to the Competitive Program last week because I felt like I had more to give.

I feel like recently I have climbed over a plateau in my training. Although I am still nervous and questioning myself most days, I have honestly felt myself get stronger over the last 2-3 weeks. It’s hard to explain. On Sunday I rode 57 miles in 3:45. At first I felt defeated because I completed the Half Ironman bike in 3:10. Then after I thought about it I realized that it was a great time. My race goal is to be at 56-60 miles by 4 hours. I was 15 minutes early and I climbed A TON of hills on that ride. For the first time in weeks I felt a wave of relief wash over me…I would make it. If that ride was the first half of the race then I would have probably made the 8:10 cutoff. Having that feeling was a huge confidence boost. Also I plan to take the first lap of the bike very easy, then start hammering out the second loop, so hopefully my second loop time will be faster.

There’s so much to think about!! The constant stress hanging over your head. Can I do this? What if I fail? The breakthrough moments where you believe you can. Trying out nutrition plans. The threat of GI issues in the back of your head. What if I bonk? What if I can’t remember to eat on time? What if I stop too long and miss the cut off? The anxiety to pack everything. The nerves of a flat tire. If I’m already stressed about the cut off time — what if I flat and have to take 20 minutes to change it? So many concerns, thoughts, worries…

Then add in a little thing called buying a house and BAM

And yes that is what’s happening. We close on our new house TWO WEEKS before the Ironman. We close July 6. Ironman Lake Placid is July 23 and we are staying the following week. My only defense is that I will be tapering, but the thought and craziness of moving and things being out of place is beyond me. My husband has assured me it’s going to be alright, but I know myself and my nerves and I know I will be a basket case. I’m not sure how this is all going to work. Training is a part time job right now. Throw in the other things and I’m not sure what will happen…

The only thing left to do is to keep plugging along I guess. I am thrilled about our new house. I’m also over the moon about the fact that I will have a home gym in the basement. It’s our first house and that is SO special, but the timing here isn’t so great. We’ve been house hunting for almost 10 months and for it to line up this way!? It’s a double edge sword. At this point I’m just laughing… laughing because I’m nervous, excited and to keep from losing my mind!

Here’s to Week 22 — CHEERS!

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