Week 16 Ironman Louisville Training: It All Goes Up From Here

11 weeks left in my training plan. It was a good week, even though I was short two hours. I was short because one evening, I was coming down with some flu-like symptoms and canned my workout. The other was because of my bike shorts seams digging into me. The two hour ditch was meant to save the other 16.5 hours that I managed to wrangle out of my week, and for all intents and purposes it was successful. I got in three open water swims this week — count them! THREE! — where I finally moved forward from my inner freak-outs. It was a good week overall.

I’m really excited that my next tri is next Saturday. There’s going to be a lot of hustle over this next week. 1 mile in open water?! I did a half mile yesterday and maybe a little more the day before. What about 26 miles on the bike on an actual road? Or the 10K run? Since the race is close enough I will be driving in and checking in the morning of the race — something I generally avoid. I like checking in early and resting in my hotel, but in an effort to save money (can’t forget to do that too!) I will be driving in the morning of. Hopefully all goes as planned. I don’t care about my time and I don’t care if I finish last. I just want to finish my first Olympic distance tri!

After looking at my training calendar, I think it is only going to get crazier from here. I see a 4 hour bike ride at the end of my week…a 5 hour ride (or 85 mile…which ever comes first). The weeks get intense and in two weeks, the hours drop a bit…I scheduled my wisdom teeth surgery for that week and I am terrified of the downtime. I’ll most likely be completely off my feet for about a week. The dentist said two days but I kind of don’t believe her on that one. Call me a cynic but my last wisdom teeth surgery put me on a liquid diet for three weeks and off training for about two. Do I really have enough in my fitness bank to make that work? My dentist thinks so (she also doesn’t know me) and Shant thinks so, along with some other friends. I’m terrified. T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D as to what this will mean for my race. I have the plane tickets booked, about to put some cash monies down for my place to stay during that week…They say that it is better to be undercooked than overcooked on race day. How much of that do you think is true?

Week 16 Ironman Louisville Training: 16.6 hours; Swim: 5183.2 yards; Bike: 107.52 miles; Run: 21.38 miles.

Monday, June 3: Rest day from traveling

Tuesday, June 4: 45 minute strength session / 1 hour run

Wednesday, June 5: 1.5 hour ride / 1 hour run / open water swim session in the evening

My other open water swim group. Why do I always look like a schmuck with a swim cap?

Thursday, June 6: 50 minute swim. Wasn’t feeling well so I cut out early. Headachey, chills…even in the hot tub.

Friday, June 7: 45 minute strength session / 1.25 hour run

Saturday, June 8: Stacked day! Open water swim session in the deep end in the morning, followed by a 2.5 hour ride, then a 1 hour run, and then a 1.5 hour ride. Yes, my first time in the deep end. It was really really hard. Lois, my new (additional) swim coach was in her kayak, gently luring me out into the deep end. I took a few breaks on my way out into the deep end and remembered how to tread water (thank goodness!). I was really freaking out (inside) when swimming and peering into the infinite abyss that is open water —

Yeah, this is what it looks like.

So the infinite green was a bit scary. I kept imaging myself in the third person swimming — which is a weird thing to do, especially considering that I was in the motion of swimming. This is how I thought I was swimming —

Doggy paddling in the water. This is how I think I look when I swim in open water!

So, thinking back to some blogs and stuff I read earlier, I figured that I should just keep my eyes closed whenever I am face down in the green, green water. Worked like a charm! After that I only opened my eyes to sight forward, and when I came up for air. I finished the swim and celebrated my victory with a bike-run-bike brick afterwards. And yes I ended up signing an additional coach for my swimming and overall IM goals.

Run around Lake Union in the summertime

Sunday, June 9: Open water swim session in the deep end, followed by a 30 minute run, followed by a nap and then an almost 2 hour ride. Cut out a bit early because the seams in my bike shorts were REALLY digging in and I didn’t want to hurt myself like last time (when I couldn’t get back on the bike for days). The group was fairly small and for the swim, we tagged along with another small group of friends. There is a small little black buoy that we spotted too off in the weeeeee distance. I ended up spotting to my coach. On my swim out I was the last one to the buoy…had to take a lot of quick breather breaks and keep my eyes closed. As a rest interval the group was treading water and chit chatting around the buoy, but I noticed that I was getting more tired treading water than I was swimming (must be doing something wrong) so I told my teammate that I was swimming out early since I was slow anyways. On my swim back I saw some people ahead of me and couldn’t tell if anyone was behind me. Thoughts of doubt and defeat started creeping in. There was a girl in the group that hasn’t been in open water for a year and she was swimming along just fine. Why do I always finish last even though I put in the time training? Where was everyone else? I was spotting to the shoreline but I didn’t see anyone else. Did they all pass me? I saw some people peeling off their suits and chilling on the beach already and I was still halfway out. Swim. Breathe. Relax. Pull. Push. Spot. Repeat. I was getting annoyed. This was only a half mile swim. I have to do FIVE TIMES this distance in the Ironman. I could barely pull off a half mile with a wetsuit. How am I going to do this without a wetsuit in 11 weeks time? Maybe the Olympic distance was the farthest I could go. Maybe a half at the end of the year would be ambitious. I tried to quiet the thoughts but they kept coming, up until the time I made it on to shore and realized that I was one of the first out of the group to finish the swim. I wasn’t fast or anything, but I had left much earlier than everyone else. The other people on shore I saw were from a different swimming group. I looked out and saw that my coach and teammate were still heading out to to shore so I stopped to pause and think about all of those negative thoughts that crept into my head. They were totally unnecessary and I really need to work on some more positive self-talk out there in the water.

Team swim and run at Green Lake

We have agreed to meet every Sunday for an open water swim. Out and back from the black buoy is half a mile. I will need to gradually work myself up to doing two, three, four, and five sets with breaks in between just to get used to the feeling of swimming that far in open water. The lake is only a few miles from me so I think it will be doable if I am diligent and actually put together a plan towards that.

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