And so it begins... I've been looking forward to this stretch of summer for what feels like forever... mostly because of the string of Ironmans coming up... starting today! I think I've maybe mentioned this once or twice before on this blog, but, um, I love Ironman. ;)
So today Ramona finished IMNYC. It was her first one (I'm guessing there will be more for her though) and coaching her through it was as new an experience for me as training for it was for her. I've never actually coached someone who had legitimate concerns about cut-off times before... there might be other coaches who are more suited for that type of thing. I took the Tough Love route with Ramona though and it worked! Ramona is now an Ironman! I am proud of her. Of course I was watching on and off all day and when I saw her mile 10 marathon split come up I did some math in my head and knew at that point she was going to make it. She wanted it enough to gut it out and make it happen, and that's exactly what she did. Relentless forward progress all day = Ironman finish.
So that was just the beginning... next week Brian and Mike take on IM Mount Tremblanc and then the week after that Patrick and Armando and Mary will race in Louisville while Nalani and Gene and Krista and Shane and I take on Canada. With 7 athletes racing 2 Ironmans on the same day, I'm almost glad I'm racing too because sitting in front of the computer all day watching helplessly would probably cause me a heart attack. Two weeks later Shevaun will race in Wisconsin then two weeks after that Kate races Redman 140.6. It's like Ironman Palooza around here! The coolest thing about the 11 athletes coming up is that they are all experienced and they have all trained incredibly consistently for months and are consequently in the shape of their lives! I think we'll see some very solid performances out of each of them. (I am fully expecting 11 PR performances in the next 6 weeks. No pressure! Lol...)
Make that 12 PRs... I will count myself in there as well. :) It's funny- these last couple of taper weeks going into Ironman... I find myself struggling a bit trying to figure out how to get to the start line in Canada feeling my best. The taper thing is an ART and it changes from year to year for everyone based on life stress/circumstances and race schedule and how the training has gone and just generally how an athlete responds to rest. For me I'm finding that I can't do it the same way I've done it in the past b/c I raced the 3rd and 4th weekends out when normally folks are putting in their biggest weeks... I anticipated this of course which is why I drilled myself for about 5 solid weeks prior to that 2 week race block where I ended up resting a ton... so the rest was needed and it worked out b/c I raced well but then I've got 3 weeks to recover from the travel/racing but keep it rolling so I don't feel flat and fat starting Canada. I don't have it all figured out and am flying by the seat of my pants a little bit with this one. Lucho has helped of course and he's suggested I do 4 key workouts between Boulder and Canada with easy days in between those... Our conversation was funny of course because the whole time we were talking it through I was negotiating for more and he was trying to convince me I don't need it. Ha! So while I was running today I was trying to be honest with myself and coming up with some 'truths' when it comes to me and how/when I tend to feel good and nail my training...
~My ability to hit solid power on the bike is inversely proportional to total run mileage and intensity. I ran very little in the 2 weeks I was on the mainland. Consequently I was biking the best I've biked in a long time.
~Running infrequently makes me feel like a flat footed elephant when I actually do run. I tend to run best when I'm running a lot- not necessarily huge miles, but frequent workouts. This is pretty much in direct conflict with my point above so clearly I need to find a decent balance because unfortunately for me, triathlon does not end in T2. ;)
~I need to swim minimum 3x/week in order to feel decent in the water. This is a great article that talks about keeping it rolling and how poor swimmers don't need to taper their swim off too much prior to racing. I would add that even stronger swimmers should do the same. Swimming doesn't tend to hurt my cycling or running much (if at all?) so I don't have many concerns about that.
So knowing these three things about myself, I am thinking that I'll probably just maintain my swim as normal, do 2 more key bike sessions and then some easy recovery type spinning, and get my run frequency back up. I ran twice today and that was a super way to get some decent volume in without feeling like I actually did a long run. I don't know that I'll do any more double run days between now and Canada but I do think I'll throw in some easy 30' jogs to the schedule because those will allow me to feel better when I do my key sessions.
So there you go! Bring on the Ironmans.... :)))