Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Almost Race Time

Alright.  Let’s talk.


Ironman Los Cabos 70.3 is a whopping 11 days away!  What the heck, how did THAT happen?


Quick recap: I was feeling awesome a few weeks ago (well, now I guess it was a couple months ago).  I’ve had some really solid long rides.  I’ve had some less solid long rides, but that’s ok, too.  I’ve had some really strong interval work on the bike.  I’ve hit workouts focused, and I’ve felt myself getting stronger—on the bike side, at least.  Running has been a bit of a struggle, mostly because I keep chasing my old times and old rhythm but I just don’t feel I’ve really had a super solid, strong long run since way before IMCDA.  But, such is life.  I always race faster so as long as I race my little heart out (and you KNOW I will), then all I can do is see what happens at this point.


A little over a month ago, I started getting sick.  Took a day or so off.  Got mostly better.  Got sick a few days later.  Got mostly better.  For the last 4-5 weeks, workouts have been spotty.  Yes, I managed to be well enough for a few good, solid, what I call “real” workouts during that time, but it just didn’t feel consistent.  Then 2 weeks ago I got all-the-way sick.  Like, hold up, lay in bed, don’t do anything.  Suffered through a couple super scaled-down workouts, but that hardly counted.  Went to the doctor, who concluded it was likely just a cold and I needed to wait it out.  A week ago I realized I wasn’t getting any better, despite everything I was trying (and I was trying!  It is so hard for me to bail on workouts, but I was sitting on the couch like a champ!), so I called my doctor back and he called in antibiotics for me.  Thankfully, this worked!  I immediately started feeling better, and although I can feel a couple lingering symptoms, I consider myself all the way better.  I could push myself to go hard.


But Cabo is now only 11 days away.


My coach has been in Kona, so he had just a few workouts (through Thursday) posted for me this week… day off, swim, day off, swim… not exactly the high intensity I want in order to make myself feel like an athlete again!  (I very much do NOT feel like an athlete after essentially lazing around and eating for a month—at least that’s what it feels like)  So I texted him and we talked and he still stressed I needed to just follow the schedule.  And he’s right.  There’s nothing I can gain in the next 10 days.  I’ve done enough miles.  I will be very rested and ready to fly in Cabo!  He assured me I’ll have some harder stuff this weekend again to work it all out, and emphasized it’s more important to make sure I don’t relapse.  I suppose that he’s right.  I think my bike legs are there, and they’re still there.  I should be about as strong as I can be (this time) on the bike.  The run is concerning to me, since I haven’t even done a real run in over 3 weeks (some sick, 30 minute “test” runs don’t count).  And even then, running was still not feeling the best.  I used to be the most confident in my run, and now I’m really worried!  But, I will grit it out.  If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I can suffer the best on a run and put up with it and fight through it.


But of course, there’s always more: last week, when I was still coughing my lungs up, I felt a pop in my ribs.  It was more a minor discomfort while coughing for the next couple days, but then this weekend (as the coughing subsided) it started hurting.  More.  All the time.  Bending over hurts.  Stairs hurt.  Basically anything that uses any muscles around the area hurts.  I’m not sure if it’s actually my rib, or just a pulled muscle in the area, but something around there hurts.  I tried running on Monday, since I was feeling better.  I didn't have much time, but wanted a really solid, fast run to make me feel better.  For 30 minutes, I should be able to easily average a sub 8/mi pace, right?!  Wrong.  EVERYTHING felt wrong.  I do believe part of it was a combination of not sleeping the last few days (3am alarm clocks and traveling and race Sherpa-ing will do that), being dehydrated (the water in Long Beach is gross, and apparently I refused to get bottled water), etc etc etc…but it was all off.  And more importantly, I just couldn’t breathe!  Taking a deep breath HURT my ribs, so I was stuck trying to take shallow breaths, which caused me to hyperventilate and of course I couldn’t pick up my pace or elongate my stride at all.  It was pretty awful.  I stopped about a million times in 30 minutes.  And it was slow.  I can take necessary precautions in Cabo to make sure I get rest, am relaxed, and am HYDRATED…but I need my rib to be better.


Fingers crossed it’s just popped out and can be fixed!  If it’s actually cracked or broken… I’m out of luck.  I sure as heck will push through a painful 13.1 miles with a broken rib, but I know it will slow me down even if I try not to let it, and it also doesn’t sound fun.  I’d rather have it not hurt, but still suffer the same amount because I’m pushing to go faster.  ;)


Anyway, I can finally think about times.  Kind of sad:


I am a slow swimmer.  Honestly, a 40 minute swim would be great for me.  Yes, I want it to be faster, I desperately hope I can push it on the swim..but I can’t seem to push it in open water.  I’m getting faster in the pool and I know it, but open water is just different.  There will be a couple practice swim times in Cabo so we will for sure try to go and check it out.  It also may not be wetsuit legal!  Rumor is that the water was in the 80s this weekend…. So Heather leant Mac and I a couple of Orca swim skins, just in case.  The thought of a non-wetsuit swim is kind of terrifying, but on the other hand, I’m swimming better in the pool without a wetsuit soooo maybe it wouldn’t be so bad?!  Salt water would help with a bit of buoyancy and supposedly it’s relatively calm water in the little bay.  Not sure.  But 0:40 seems like a pretty reasonable “ok fine” time, and I will just really, really try to beat that.  0:35 would be way more ideal.  But I’m not holding my breath (hah, hah, get it?!)


I know I can bike.  But, of course, there’s always a catch—and this time, the catch is that we still don’t really know what the bike course is!  There is so much conflicting information, even on the official website.  All I can really be sure of is the part out along the coast, which is “rolling hills” but let’s be honest—what does THAT mean?!  Rolling hills can mean so many different things.  Again, it will be good to get there and see what the terrain is really like.  Either way, I know I’m kind of intimidated.  I keep harping on it, but after that less-than stellar CDA bike time, I’m worried.  I  know I can bike strong, but still!  Need redemption.  Even in training I don’t think I really hit 56 miles in under 3 hours…so we’ll see.  3:00 is a guess but obviously I want to be closer to 2:45.  Will really depend on the day, and the course, and the weather (winds?!) and so much more.  But one thing I do know—I am RACING this thing. The full ironman was about conserving energy on the bike.  I am going to risk it and take chances in Cabo.  I think I can eke it out.  I will push that bike and ride as fast as I can.  This is a race, not just survival.  If I blow up on the run because of it, well, at least I want a good bike split out of it :P


Ah, the run.  I want a 1:40 half marathon.  That really shouldn’t be too hard.  But let’s be honest, that kind of is hard for me these days :P much less at the end of a 70.3.  But, I will run it as best I can.  If I’m running faster at the beginning, so be it!  That’s how I always manage to PR in half marathons, anyway—get as much time in the bank at the beginning as possible, then hang on until the finish.  Still, 7:38 average, so more like running 7:30s to be safe.  Now that I type that out, I really hadn’t been running that fast lately.  UGH.  Well, I’ll shoot for it. 1 :45 would be 8:00/mi which I think is way within reason so I can fall back on that.  Luckily I don’t think the run course is that hard, since it’s in the city, so fingers crossed.  Thankfully, I never stop at aid stations or really eat or drink anything on half marathons (wait, “thankfully”??) so in theory I’ll be more “used” to it, and as long as I do eat and drink on the bike, and maybe grab a gu from my bag in T2, I should be able to get through it without dealing with all that..and just run.


When I add that all up, it’s not fast enough.  Like 5:25ish.  That’s annoying.  I need to get faster.  I WAS feeling faster.


One thing is for sure though—I will be rested.  I’m finally feeling some pent up energy (I was too sick before to care).  I know I will be losing precious minutes on the swim, and I know the run may be more difficult than I’m expecting.  So guess what, bike?!  It’s up to you.  Did I mention I’m gonna race my little heart out?  Because that’s what I’m gonna do.  Get ready, little Argon…

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sick sick sick zzzzzzzzzzz

Being sick is rough.


Ok, ok..I’m a big baby.  But seriously.  After an annoying on-again/off-again cold that made me hold back and not push myself on workouts for a couple weeks, I got full-out sick and barreled over and basically did nothing for a week.  I managed a couple things – an easy 2 hour ride, for example, then suffered on an hour run that I really should not have done – but all things considered it felt like a totally lost week.


This week I’m feeling better.  Definitely not totally better, I’m still coughing (sometimes uncontrollably) and have a red nose from blowing my nose so much…but, better.  For the most part, I can breathe, and I think I should be able to hit my workouts.  Will still scale back, but at least I can do them!


Swam this morning.  Probably good it was so many 25s (16x25, 12x25, 8x25, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz) because I got to catch my breath briefly (and cough) and not drown.  And man, oh man: as much as I hate swimming, and as awkward as I felt in the water after a week off, it felt SO GOOD to swim and get my heart rate up a little bit.  It just felt so right.  Those are the moments I really know I’m an athlete, deep down—even while sick, I just feel more myself when the blood is moving and my breathing is harder and I’m working and pushing and going!


Anyway, we’ll see.  Supposed to do some race pace intervals on the bike tonight but I might have to scale that back a bit.  As much as I want to be training and make up for lost time—I’m not all the way better yet.  And I do NOT want to get more sick again.  I just want to be healthy!!!  So, I’ll scale it back if I have to.


Ironically, the biggest things that ironman (and ironman training) taught me have been: how to be patient, and how to go with the flow.  Yeah yeah, don’t laugh.  I’m still working on it ;) but really, it used to be SO hard for me to cut back and listen to my body and know what it needed to do and be patient and wait and let things happen.  But I trust myself now (Sunday was not a good example of this), and for the most part, I’m ok with taking the time to get things right.  Deal with things as they happen.  Go with it.  Do the right thing even if you don’t want to.


That being said, after talking to my coach, it sounds like I may not run the half marathon this weekend.  This is a bummer.  We are all going down to Long Beach this weekend (me, Allen, Mac, Katie, Nico, Mel, Eric) and Allen, Mac and I are registed for the half marathon, and Katie, Mel and Eric are doing the full.  It’s Allen’s first, which is cool, and I obviously want to run it but…it’s not a big deal to me. After a brief shock as my coach mentioned the possibility of not running, I realized—I’m actually ok with that.  I’m not super attached to it, it’s not like it’s been a focus for me… so, I’m surprisingly ok with it.  I’m annoyed to pay to be registered and not do it but…whatever.


The hands-down #1 priority for me right now is getting to Cabo and having the best race I can have down there.  If I were 100% healthy and totally on top of my training etc etc etc, then yeah, I could do a half marathon and call it my long run and that would be that.  But, that’s not the case.  Even if I’m not sick at all by the time this weekend rolls around (and I’m not even convinced that will happen), it might be too soon.  Too soon to push and stress my body to do it.  I hate that 13.1 miles is “pushing myself” because it shouldn’t be, but…let’s be honest.  I’m not running that great right now and after being sick, yes, it would be a push.  Maybe just a push to my immune system, but a push nonetheless.


So, we will see.  If I don’t run, I’ll get to cheer and chase the runners and take pictures, which truthfully sounds like a lot of fun too, soooooo it’s not too bad.  There is also a “bike tour” where they let you bike (20 miles of) the course before the race in the morning.  We have another friend who lives in Long Beach who is doing that, and she said she has a bike I can borrow and we can do that.  So that’s an option.  Biking seems to be better for my lungs these days.  We’ll see.


In any case, Cabo is now in 18 days!  That’s like just 2.5 weeks!  This weekend will be in Long Beach, then one weekend at home, then CABO and RACING and AHHH!  Focus, Rosanne!!