Wednesday, June 3, 2009

157 Days Until Ironman Florida

No good words to really explain my last week. My grandpa died on Saturday afternoon. He was 91 and lived a full life, sharing a lifelong love with my grandma, but it doesn't make his passing any easier. This Sunday would be their 70th anniversary, and we'll be celebrating his life and their love this weekend in Phoenix. It'll be nice to see the whole family - 5 generations. We put in our vacation requests at work in January, so I'd already asked for the first two weeks of June off to be in AZ for the anniversary party. I'm glad because I think I need the break and the family time. 

My worrying about my grandpa getting moved to hospice on Friday led to increased emotional energy which I spent entirely on the bike commute both ways. Near record time on the morning commute (31:14) and record time on the way home (26:30). I am pretty sure I'd only ridden sub-30 once before so the ride home amazed me. I'm sure there must have been some wind to help, but mostly I was thinking about my grandparents. 

Friday night I drove up to Chico, as Saturday morning Dave's academy class was putting on a 5k race. The race went well and I was the second female finisher (not out of two! out of three!) and I was only a few seconds behind #1. But by my shoe pod calculations, it was only 2.95 miles, not 3.1. Had it been 3.1, I would've PRed as my time was 25:00, so I was running an 8:28 min mile pace. I felt like I could've kept it up for another 0.2 miles which would've meant a 26:16 finish. I think my 5k PR is in the 31-32 minute range, and I know I've never finished sub-30. So I'm in the market for a real 5k race to do. There's one Sunday morning here in AZ that I'm considering, but given how hot it is here they start at 6:30am on the other side of town, so still just considering. After the "5k" race (which Dave won, but that's another story), Dave and I ran up the "officer down" hill a few times and then we volunteered to walk the course again to pick up all the course markers. Then I recalibrated my shoe pod on the track by running another mile. (The shoe pod had actually indicated the race was 2.90 but after recalibrating it we determined the course was 2.95 miles.)  By the time we got home, I decided I didn't really feel like riding my bike even though I was desperately falling behind Rose in our contest. My legs were really, really tired though, and I knew I wasn't going to feel like biking 150 miles over Saturday + Sunday to win, so why bother trying at all when I probably needed to give my legs a break. They'd been really sore and tired for a few days. The rest of Saturday was sad. We drank some beers for grandpa. thank goodness for gluten-free beer. Due to various kitchen mishaps (shoe polish in 350 degree oven = very bad (and long story)), we had a very late dinner out and minimal sleep was had by all.

On Sunday I didn't feel like doing anything. At some point I put on all my cycling gear, got my food and drink ready for a short one hour ride. I thought it'd be good exercise and probably be good to get outside and get some fresh air and stretch my legs a bit. Then I took the dog out for a potty break before my ride. We came back inside and I put my helmet on. Then I realized how exhausted I was. Mentally, emotionally, physically. So instead of a ride, I took a shower and a nap. Monday was pretty much the same, but I spent more time walking the dog. Bidwell Park in Chico is a really nice place for a run or a walk, and probably for a short bike ride. Then I headed back to Sac to work on my To Do list before leaving town.

Yesterday morning I rode on my bike trainer for 45 minutes, did some abs, and that was it. I'd dreamed of swimming but I just had too many other things to do. And swimming is not hard to do in AZ!

This morning I did my long run. I ran 11 miles, avg 11:35 min miles. I employed the run/walk method. I am trying to be careful with my mileage increase, but since I figured my long run last week was actually more than the 9.68 miles my shoe pod had indicated, I opted for 11. I'd read some of my ironman training book (Going Long, by Friel) on the plane, and learned that while increasing mileage at 10% per week is usually recommended, it's okay to do 15% if the run/walk ratio is closer to 6:1. (i.e. run 6 minutes, walk 1.) My total weekly mileage increase was probably about 12%, therefore I decided to run 8 and walk 1. Fairly similar to last week's pace where I'd used more of a 10:1 ratio. I started my run way too late in the morning, it was after 7:30. It was almost 90 degrees when I finished, and it felt a lot hotter. Yay for the swimming pool in the backyard to use for a cool down. 

In sum, I've had an exhausting week. Tomorrow will be a swim day, if I go to bed early enough to get to the public pool during lap swimming house. No way am I swimming long in a 15 yd pool. Saturday there's an open water swim race nearby, but I need to either buy or rent a wetsuit, or get tough.

Final total for Bike Month contest:
Rose: 744
Kendra: 607

Rose is a cycling machine! I'm so glad bike month is over! I'm also incredibly proud of Rose for starting a bike commute for the first time and sticking with it for the rest of the month. Totally worth buying her a dinner for winning the contest! And to think our initial goals for the month were 300 and 301. I definitely learned that cycling should be the focus for my training. If I can ride 112 miles and have my legs still be fresh enough to run a marathon, I'll be in great shape for the ironman. I rode two centuries this month and if it hadn't been for the contest I would've only done one, or I might have pushed it off another month thinking I wasn't ready. Instead, I rode 1/3 of my month's miles in two days. I love it when I impress myself.

Five months to go. It seems incredibly soon when I think about my running. But then I read all these books saying I shouldn't run for more than 3 hours straight, and I'm at 2:07 right now, so... maybe it is doable. It's certainly an adventure. I'm sad I won't be able to call grandpa on November 8 and tell him all about the Ironman race. When I saw him last week I told him about my 100 mile bike ride and I know he had no doubt that I'll finish the Ironman on November 7. He's got faith in me, so I do, too. I just need to hold on to that faith when things aren't looking so good. I know there will be a time during the race, just as there are times during the training, where I question myself and my commitment and my desire. But in the end, I just need to keep going. One stroke, one pedal, and one step at a time. 

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